BELGRADE - Serbia defender Pavle Ninkov
and midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic (pictured) have joined a growing injury
list ahead of the team's Euro 2012 qualifiers at home to
Northern Ireland and away to Estonia.
The two players have joined Manchester United captain
Nemanja Vidic on the sidelines and will miss the match with
Northern Ireland on Friday, but could be fit for the visit to
Estonia on March 29, coach Vladimir Petrovic said.
"It's never a pleasant situation when you have to reshuffle
the team but we have able replacements if they don't recover,"
Pertrovic, whose side desperately need to kick-start their
qualifying campaign, told reporters on Monday.
"We hope that some of the injured or at least the walking
wounded will be fit for the trip to Estonia."
Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic is also doubdtful with a
groin injury, leaving Petrovic with few options up front after
Dragan Mrdja had earlier suffered a season-ending injury while
Danko Lazovic quit international football last week.
The Serbs, who are fifth in Group C with four points from as
many games, entertain Northern Ireland behind closed doors as
they serve a one-match ban for a riot their fans caused during
last October's game in Italy.
Having attacked their own team bus before kickoff, Serbian
ultras forced the match to be abandoned after six minutes when
they threw flares at home fans, players and police and also
clashed with riot police outside the stadium.
Wolves midfielder Nenad Milijas, who played a Belgrade derby
for Red Star against Partizan behind closed doors before he
moved to the Premier League, said the lack of fans in Red Star's
55,000-seat stadium would be a setback for Serbia on Friday.
"Empty terraces are an eery sight, just as it's a scary
feeling to play when we can hear ourselves on the pitch," said
the 27-year old playmaker.
"But Red Star won that game 4-1 and I really wouldn't mind
the empty terraces if we could have the same result against
Italy lead the group with 10 points from four games,
followed by Slovenia on seven and Estonia on six points.
Northern Ireland have five points from three games, while bottom
team Faroe Islands have one from five.
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