An injury-time strike from Andy Keogh saved Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni from tasting defeat in his first game in charge.
Ireland captain Robbie Keane was denied by Slobodan Rajkovioc's goal-line clearance on 23 minutes. Marko Pantelic took advantage of a Paul McShane mistake to fire Serbia ahead with 15 minutes left.
But substitute Keogh grabbed a late equaliser when he smashed an eight-yard volley past Vladimir Stocjkovic.
Trapattoni, appointed as Ireland manager in February, will guide the side against Italy next year as the two nations have been drawn together in Group 8 of the FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign for South Africa 2010.
The Azzurri will host the Irish on April 1, 2009 while the return match is scheduled for October 10, 2009.
Source: BBC Sport