Serbia captain Branislav Ivanovic admitted to mixed emotions in the wake of the 2-2 draw against Ireland in their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Belgrade. 

Ivanovic deflected Jeff Hendrick’s shot into his own goal in just the third minute and the Chelsea defender acknowledged that the start was far from ideal. 

“I think it was a very difficult game, a very equal game,” he told RTÉ Sport.  

“We started the game very sloppy. 

“When we conceded the goal, we used a lot of energy. 

“We controlled the game in the first half and we had a couple of chances. 

“Then we turned the game for us. 

“We conceded the second goal from a set-piece which is not good. 

“I don’t like that part of the game but Ireland are very strong in the air at set-pieces.

“But it is a very important point for us. 

“We controlled the game but didn’t win and that is something for us to think about."

Ivanovic, like some many other players, cited the state of the pitch as a major factor in the game after a day of torrential downpours in Belgrade.

“It was a difficult game and the pitch was very difficult,” he said.

“After 10 minutes I think, all the focus was on the pitch and how the ball would bounce.”