Sunday 22 July 2018

Matic insists serbia won't 'shirk responsibility'

Manchester United's Nemanja Matic cannot contemplate another slip-up. on the international stage
Manchester United's Nemanja Matic cannot contemplate another slip-up. on the international stage

John Fallon

After striking a speedbump in Vienna, Serbia are determined not to allow their wobble persist tonight to the benefit of Wales or Ireland.

A home defeat to Georgia in Belgrade will allow a victor from the other crucial Group D game in Cardiff snaffle the one guaranteed place at the World Cup - anything less than a win would allow Wales to leapfrog the current leaders with a victory.

Serbia's defensive deficiencies caught up with them on Friday as Austria won 3-2 but Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic, sent-off against Ireland last month, returns and attacker Filip Kostic is available after a mix-up with his club Hamburg prevented him from starting in Vienna.

Georgia caused Serbia plenty of problems in the reverse fixture, taking the lead and wasting a chance to bag a second before the visitors fought back to win 3-1, and they'll seize on any nervousness seeping into the ranks of the table-toppers.

Back at their preferred Red Star Stadium following work on the pitch, Serbia will have 50,000 fans willing them on to their first major tournament since 2000.

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic cannot contemplate another slip-up.

"People must remember that we are top of the table for a reason," said their talisman. "Years of work have been put into this bid to reach the World Cup and we're not about to shirk our responsibility to the country.

Georgia boss Vladimir Weiss insists they can spoil Serbia's party. "Serbia are the best footballing team in the group but I will set the team up tactically to win," he said.

Irish Independent

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