Thursday 8 December 2016

Tosic strike sinks North

European championship round-up

Published 26/03/2011 | 05:00

Northern Ireland'S qualification hopes took a huge blow last night as they were overhauled by Serbia and went down 2-1 at a near-empty Crvena Zvezda Stadium in Belgrade.

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Serbia were ordered to play the game behind closed doors following the disturbance caused by their fans in Italy last year, and the only supporters in attendance were a 250-strong visiting contingent.

Gareth McAuley gave Northern Ireland the lead five minutes before the interval, with a looping header from Chris Brunt's free-kick.

Kyle Lafferty missed a good chance moments later, and Serbia, invigorated by the half-time introduction of Liverpool's Milan Jovanovic, equalised through Marko Pantelic on 65 minutes.

Lee Camp denied them with a superb save in the 53rd minute but was helpless midway through the half when Pantelic drilled in the equaliser after a flowing move.

The Serbs continued to pile on the pressure and Manchester United reject Zoran Tosic rifled in the 74th-minute winner with a first-time shot from the edge of the area.

Robin van Persie scored one goal and set up another as the Netherlands routed Hungary 4-0 in Budapest. Rafael van der Vaart, Ibrahim Afellay and Dirk Kuyt also netted.

Brazilian-born midfielder Thiago Motta got the only goal of the game as Italy won 1-0 in Slovenia, while France laboured to a 2-0 win in Luxembourg.

Irish Independent

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