Thursday 24 October 2019

Jose Mourinho attends Serbia friendly as Manchester United are linked with Lazio midfielder

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho with former Yugoslavia player Predrag Mijatovic
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho with former Yugoslavia player Predrag Mijatovic Sportsdesk

Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, made a surprise trip to watch Serbia's 2-0 win away at Montenegro on Thursday night.

The United manager was pictured in the stands alongside Predrag Mijatovic, the former Real Madrid striker, as a brace for Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic earned Serbia victory over their neighbours.

United have been linked with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the Lazio midfielder. The 23-year-old Serb was introduced as a second-half substitute and had a hand in Mitrovic's second, dummying Andrija Zivkovic's pass.

Nikola Milenkovic, the Fiorentina right-back, has also been linked with Old Trafford after an impressive start to the season in Serie A. United's Nemanja Matic was absent, having pulled out of the Serbia squad earlier this week through injury.

The result left Serbia on seven points from three games in the third-tier Group 4, two ahead of Romania, who won 2-1 at Lithuania. Montenegro have four points and Lithuania none.

The first meeting between Montenegro and Serbia as independent nations since they separated in 2006 was played amid tight security but in a friendly atmosphere with both sets of fans applauding each other's national anthems.

Serbia dominated the game and should have won by a bigger margin but for some poor finishing by playmaker Dusan Tadic, who squandered two sitters after good work by winger Andrija Zivkovic and the tireless Mitrovic.

Those misses came after in-form Fulham striker Mitrovic sent goalkeeper Danijel Petkovic the wrong way with an 18th-minute spot kick, after Montenegro right back Filip Stojkovic fouled his Red Star Belgrade team mate Milan Rodic.

The Montenegrins upped the pace in the closing stages and their striker Fatos Beciraj forced a good save from Serbia keeper Marko Dmitrovic in the 72nd minute with a rasping low shot from 20 metres.

Montenegro's Serbian coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic was sent off by Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi for dissent before Mitrovic sealed the contest with a close-range finish in the 81st minute.

Milinkovic-Savic allowed Zivkovic's pass to run with a clever dummy, leaving Mitrovic with the simple task of beating Petkovic from three metres.

Serbia next visit Romania while Montenegro are at home to Lithuania on Sunday.


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