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Ivanovic: 'Shane is a great player'

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Branislav Ivanovic.  Picture: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Branislav Ivanovic. Picture: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Branislav Ivanovic. Picture: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

SERBIA defender Branislav Ivanovic gives little away in the course of his day job with Chelsea, but he had to doff his cap in the direction of Tipperary lad Shane Long after the striker pounced on his uncharacteristic mistake at Lansdowne Road last night.

Long has a nice record of scoring goals against Ivanovic at club level and it was more of the same on the international stage last night.

With just eight minutes gone, centre-half Ivanovic played a very slack back pass towards keeper Vladimir Stojkovic and Long got in between the two Serbians to score. "He is a great player, it's very difficult to play against him. I wouldn't like my performances over the season to be like last night and I am disappointed with myself," said Ivanovic.

"We conceded a goal from my mistake and it was a shock for all of our team. We didn't adapt well after that situation and the manager told us at half-time to pass the ball better, to create chances and we scored our goal early in the second half, which was important for us as a team.

"I hope now that we can go on this way in the next qualification campaign.

"We started the game with more respect than we needed and it was a bit of a shock for us early on, we had some confusion, but we kept playing, kept trying to win the game. We took our chances and it was much easier after that to score and win the game."


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