| BELGRADE, Sept 5
BELGRADE, Sept 5 A spirited Ireland held Serbia to a 2-2 draw in a pulsating World Cup Group D qualifier after taking an early lead and coming from behind on a slick surface on Monday.
Substitute Daryl Murphy salvaged a point for the Irish with an 80th-minute header after Serbia wingers Filip Kostic and Dusan Tadic had cancelled out Jeff Hendrick's early opener.
Hendrick stunned the home fans in the third minute when he beat keeper Predrag Rajkovic with a shot from the edge of the penalty area that was deflected in off Serbia captain Branislav Ivanovic.
With competitive debutant Andrija Pavlovic replacing subdued striker Aleksandar Mitrovic on the hour, Serbia found another gear and struck twice in quick succession to turn the match on its head.
Kostic levelled when he swept home a rebound from a goalmouth scramble in the 62nd minute before he won a penalty after he was hauled down by an Irish defender.
Tadic drove the spot-kick down the middle into the roof of the net in the 69th minute and Pavlovic could have netted a third, blasting his shot against the bar after Ireland keeper Darren Randolph spilled a tame Tadic effort.
Ireland had a goal controversially disallowed for offside but kept pressing and got a deserved equaliser when the bearded Murphy rose above his markers to head home a corner.
The battling Irish enjoyed a slice of luck in the closing stages when they cleared the ball off the line as Serbia threw men forward in search of a winner.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)