Battling Northern Ireland hold Czech Republic 0-0

  • Battling Northern Ireland hold Czech Republic 0-0

Battling Northern Ireland hold Czech Republic 0-0

Jeff Hendrick gave Ireland the ideal start when he scored after just three minutes with a deflected strike.

Ireland had a goal disallowed for offside but got their reward when the bearded Murphy rose above his markers to score his first worldwide goal.

The Southampton midfielder played the full 90 minutes in the goalless draw in Prague, which otherwise would be seen as a positive result for Michael O'Neill's men. James McClean won a free kick just outside the box.

Serbia came out strongly after the break and were level by the 62nd minute.

"On the other hand, with the ball on the ground, we have to find a way to squeeze behind their defence".

Former Bordeaux, Standard Liege and Red Star Belgrade manager Muslin replaced Radovan Curcic for this campaign and the 63-year-old will be eager to get off to a good start against Ireland with Group D's leadership looking to be firmly up for grabs.

Ireland had a slice of luck at the end when they scrambled the ball off the line as Serbia searched for a victor.

In other news, Robbie Keane's now vacated number ten shirt has been handed to Robbie Brady, who became a goalscoring hero in his own right with the victor against Italy in Ireland's final Euro 2016 group stage match to send them into the last 16. A half chance fell to Tadic but his quickly taken snapshot flew well wide. Ivanovic crossed from the right, Tadic bustled his way around O'Shea to pick out unmarked Kostic who calmly slotted home from a few yards out to make it 1-1.

Jeff Hendrick fired Ireland into a third-minute lead, but Filip Kostic's equaliser and Dusan Tadic's penalty looked to have won the day until Murphy struck, like Hendrick, with the first goal of his senior global career.

In attacking areas, the burden will nearly certainly fall upon Shane Long.

Daryl Murphy, on to replace Hendrick, brought ROI level with his first touch. Randolph did well to block his effort and although the ball rebounded off an Irish defender, Coleman was on the line to clear.

This was Karel Jarolim's first competitive match in charge of the Czech Republic, while a number of retirements, including Petr Cech's, made this a very different team to the one that played at the Euros.