18.11.1998 at 20:00 Marakana (Red Star) Stadium, Belgrade
1 - 0
Republic of Ireland
Referee: Karl Erik Nielsen (Sweden)
European Cup Qualifier / Prog-match
Pedrag Mijatovic 64 mins;
Ivica Kralj (FC Porto),
Dejan Stankovic (Lazio),
Goran Djorovic (Celta Vigo), Slavisa Jokanovic (Tenerife), Miroslav Djukic (Valencia), Jovan Stankovic (Mallorca), Vladimir Jugovic (Atletico Madrid),
Predrag Mijatevic (Real Madrid),
Savo Milosevic (Real Zaragoza),
Dragan Stojkovic (FC Nagoya), Sinisa Mihaljovic (Lazio);
Alan Mc Loughlin
Jason Mc Ateer
Djukic 44 mins,
Jokanovic 48 mins,
Wednesday, November 18th, 1998
European Championship qualifier
Yugoslavia 1 (Mijatevic)
A night of freezing temperatures in the frenzied atmosphere of an expectant Red Star Stadium, Belgrade was distinguished by a mature and professional performance as Ireland went close to denying
Yugoslavia in the European Championship.
The single goal that separated the teams owed as much to good fortune as to any particular merit in Yugoslavia's decisive strike as Ireland's emerging team won a new respect and standing in circumstances that were never less than demanding.
Indeed a battling Ireland went close to taking a draw from a contest that was enjoined on a skilful level above all else and their sense of denial was all the more acute given two substantial penalty claims that were waved aside by the Swedish referee.
Certainly Jason McAteer appeared to have worthwhile claims after 53 minutes when the match was scoreless and he was tripped by the goalkeeper and Mark Kinsella was convinced he should have had another when sweeper Mihajlovic knocked the ball away with his hand in the closing minutes.
It was an eventful and encouraging night for Ireland and Yugoslavia found it almost impossible to open up a team that processed a sensible and effective tactical approach with wonderful commitment and understanding.
A measure of Ireland's success was the manner in which they reduced the noisy and fervent fans in an attendance of 50,000 to silence with football that was calm, assured and, above all, constructive within 23 minutes of the start.
The early cheers had been turned to jeers as Ireland succeeded in imposing their will on the contest to such an extent that it was they who dictated the pace of the game.
There were long five minute periods of eerie silence in a stadium that had throbbed with expectation for an hour before kick-off as Yugoslavia found it impossible to lure Ireland out of their disciplined formation and seemed short of ideas.
They were deflected down narrow cul-de-sacs by a midfield that was invested with a sense of organisation and, most of all, authority by the formidable presence of Roy Keane.
Ireland's midfield worked with such tenacity and energy that Yugoslavia's attacking moves had invariably been slowed to walking pace by the time they had advanced to the danger zone and their highly rated attacking duo of Mijatovic of Real Madrid and Milosevic of Real Zaragoza were never given a clear shot.
Their best chance came after 33 minutes when a free for Yugoslavia, 25 yards from goal and on the left wing was struck by Mihaljovic into the path of the sprinting Mijatovic and although he got in front of Cunningham to get his foot to the ball, Given was quick to adjust his feet and save the deflection comfortably.
Yugoslavia's lack of penetration inevitably caused frustration to grow and as the sense of dis-satisfaction and disappointment spread across the freezing stadium, that frustration manifest itself in a callous foul by Djukic on the boyish figure of Damien Duff, a foul that correctly earned for him a yellow card.
The suspicion that Ireland had progressed to the point where they were dominating Yugoslavia hardened into certainty when Jokanovic was also shown the yellow card as he slyly took Duff's feet after the skilful winger had slipped through a tackle with typically clever sleight of foot immediately after half-time.
Indeed the hush that descended upon the stadium was only broken when fans were moved to respond to a spirited offering of 'Athenry' from the hardy band of Irish supporters.
But a golden spell for Ireland passed after Quinn had just failed to reach a through ball from McAteer and the Liverpool winger had justified claims for a penalty ignored after goalkeeper Kralj had dived at his feet and appeared to trip him.
Yugoslavia, given fresh momentum and drive by the introduction of a third front-runner for the second half were finally stirred by a piece of intuitive skill by Milosevic, the former Aston Villa player.
He was offered a diagonal run at Given's goal from the left by an astute ball from Jugovic and his delicate chip floated over the head of the goalkeeper and was headed off the line by Cunningham, who managed to back-head it away while running under his own crossbar.
Mijatovic was encouraged to run at the defence from the right and his left foot shot from 18 yards flew across goal and narrowly wide as Yugoslavia managed to inject a degree of passion and urgency into their play that had been depressed by Ireland's control earlier.
So the weight of pressure they applied for a 15 minute period early in the second half forced the error that yielded the game's golden goal after 64 minutes and the circumstances were a huge source of exasperation for Ireland's marvellous defence.
A cross from Jovan Stankovic on the left carried just high enough to escape Breen's clutches and as the ball fell limply into the penalty area off the crown of his head Mijatovic reacted quicker than Staunton to beat Given with a shot across goal that flew into the far corner.
What irritation for Ireland, to be unhinged by a matter of inches after a performance that was calculated and mature!
What bad luck for Breen and his defiant colleagues would have deserved much more than this but Mijatovic's strike was controlled and powerful and reflected the level of competence in a good side.
Yugoslavia are more effective as an attacking force when they are striking on the rebound and Ireland's tactical approach denied them the opportunity to utilise their speed of foot and their accurate passing.
Ireland could only have survived for so long had they used the ball with maximum efficiency whenever they succeeded in taking hard-won possession and full credit to a calm defence who worked very hard.
Indeed Ireland possessed the strength of character and resilience to put their upset behind them and they threatened Yugoslavia's goal several times in the closing quarter; substitute Cascarino almost flicking one over the goalkeeper and Kinsella going close to a touch on Cascarino's headed pass as Yugoslavia showed signs of unease.
But an equaliser was not to be and Ireland were left to reflect upon an inadequate return from a spirited performance that was the product of good team-work, good tactics and total commitment.
The rapid progress of young Duff at this level was a huge encouragement for the future and overall a well-balanced team played to such considerable effect that Yugoslavia will not face their return trip to Dublin with any element of over-confidence.
Keane was an inspiring captain, but the real strength of this performance lay in the uniform level of effort and discipline by a team that showed a marvellous appreciation of what was needed in a stadium where the hostility of the fans is a weighty weapon.
Ireland's two appeals for penalties fall on ref's deaf ears
by Bill George
While the Irish camp was fuming that Jason McAteer was not awarded a penalty when tumbled by the Yugoslav keeper early in the second half, captain Roy Keane felt that there was an even more blatant spot kick turned down in Belgrade last night.
"We had two clear cut appeals," he said. "And I have no doubt the second one was a very definite penalty.
"Mark Kinsella's overhead kick was clearly handled by Mihajaovic and the ball was on target and was clearly on its way into the goal.
Ireland's players and management team were convinced that Ireland should have been awarded at least one of their two penalty claims and commented Mick McCarthy: "I seem to remember a match in which two penalties were given against us that were not as clear cut as our claims tonight - an obvious reference to the 3-2 defeat in Macedonia in the last World Cup campaign.
"We appealed on both occasions and they were definitely worth a shout but it seems we were never going to get anything of that nature in this stadium.
"I'm proud of my players, delighted with what they did but I'm just disappointed that we still lost.
"I didn't see how the goal went in but it was a ball in the box that seemed to be under control and we should have cleared it.
"It was a disappointment to play so well and come away with nothing, but there's a long way to go and we have conceded nothing as yet."
Ireland's captain Roy Keane said that he was positive that one of the two penalty claims at least should not have been denied.
"We worked very hard for each other all through the match and they never looked like scoring.
"We gave away a very bad goal, a sloppy goal and we know we cannot give away such opportunities at this level and not expect to be punished.
"We should have got more from tonight's match but over a competition like this things tend to work themselves out."
One of the successes on the night was the impact of the brilliant 19 year old Damien Duff on the left wing.
Said Duff: "I am very happy with the way I played, it is getting easier for me at international level match by match. But I am very disappointed we didn't get something from it because we worked so hard for each other."
Yugoslav coach Milan Zivadinovic said he was "very pleased with the result against a very powerful Irish team.
"We saw this evening that their victory against Croatia was no surprise." Zivadinovic said the game turned after he introduced Darko Kovacevic for the second half.
"Then, for 35 minutes we played the type of game that I always want my team to play," he said.
Thousands of fans miss big match on TV
Thousands of soccer fans missed out on the television coverage of last night's big game between Ireland and Yugoslavia because TV3 cannot reach a number of regions, including the Suir Valley, parts of Kerry, Mayo, Donegal and the midlands.
The fledgling station holds the live broadcasting rights to all the national team's away games in the Euro 2000 qualifiers. Speaking at a party meeting in Killorglin, Co Kerry, last night, Seán O´ hArgáin said the non-availability of major soccer internationals made a mockery of Minister Síle de Valera's recent Bill aimed at protecting the free broadcast of certain sporting occasions.
"The Minister promised to make these sporting events available to all and not on a pay per view basis, yet the only way to receive TV3 in most of South Kerry is through MMDS transmission."It was also farcical, he added, that much of South Kerry was beyond the reach of Telifís na Gaeilge, two years after it came on air, and ridiculously so in the Iveragh Gaeltacht areas.
TV3 director of operations Peter Ennis said the company was acutely aware there were several blackspots around the country, but he insisted that they were not turning their backs on anyone.
"We are operating twelve transmitters and we anticipate using another twenty or so to reach full potential." The company expect to reach target by next spring.
The station has surpassed its pre-franchise promise to reach 85% in its first year.
Ireland: Shay Given (Newcastle United), Denis Irwin (Manchester United), Steve Staunton (Liverpool), Gary Breen (Coventry City), Ken Cunningham (Wimbledon), Roy Keane (Manchester United) capt, Jason McAteer (Liverpool), Mark Kinsella (Charlton Athletic), Niall Quinn (Sunderland), Alan McLoughlin (Portsmouth), Damien Duff (Blackburn Rovers)
Subs: Tony Cascarino (AS Nancy Lorraine) for Quinn (71), David Connolly (Feyenoord) for McLoughlin (71), Keith O'Neill (Norwich City) for McAteer (82)
Manager: Mick McCarthy
Yugoslavia: Ivica Kralj (FC Porto), Dejan Stankovic (Lazio), Goran Djorovic (Celta Vigo), Slavisa Jokanovic (Tenerife), Miroslav Djukic (Valencia), Jovan Stankovic (Mallorca), Vladimir Jugovic (Atletico Madrid), Predrag Mijatevic (Real Madrid), Savo Milosevic (Real Zaragoza), Dragan Stojkovic (FC Nagoya), Sinisa Mihaljovic (Lazio)
Sub: Darko Kovacevic (Real Sociedad) for Stojkovic 45, Ljubinko Drulovic (FC Porto) for Milosevic 76, Nenad Grozdic (Obilic Belgrade) for Stankovic 84
Booked: Djukic, Jokanovic