TALLINN, March 29 (Reuters) - Serbia were held to a 1-1 draw
in Estonia in their Euro 2012 Group C qualifier on Tuesday
after missing two sitters and then gifting the hosts their late
equaliser after a blunder by goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic.
The strength-sapping match on a snowy pitch had a dramatic
finale as Serbia thought they had won the it with the last kick
when the ball trickled over the Estonian goal-line, only for the
referee to disallow the goal for offside.
An opportunist first-half goal by striker Marko Pantelic on
a barely playable surface had given Serbia the lead before
Konstantin Vassiljev equalised in the 84th minute with a low
free-kick which squeezed under Brkic's body into the net.
Having dominated the opening half in heavy snow, Serbia were
on the back foot after the interval and were punished after
missing two good chances.
Estonia keeper Sergei Pareiko denied Milan Jovanovic and
Zoran Tosic before Vassiljev's free-kick from 30 metres somehow
found its way past the wall and under Brkic.
Serbia had two goals disallowed for offside, the first in
the opening minute and crucially in the dying moments, when the
referee at first appeared to let it stand and then changed his
decision after consulting his linesman.
It was a disappointing end for the 32-year-old Pantelic, who
made the most of his second chance with the national team after
he was dropped following a poor 2010 World Cup.
Having been recalled because of mounting injuries up front,
Pantelic netted the equaliser in Friday's 2-1 home win over
Northern Ireland on his return and was a handful for the
Estonian back four.
Serbia's defence looked stronger with Nemanja Vidic back
after missing the Northern Ireland game with a calf injury, but
with the midfield running out of steam in the second half, the
visitors paid the price for sitting back on their lead.
The result leaves the Serbs locked together on eight points
wth Slovenia, who drew 0-0 in Northern Ireland. Italy, with a
game in hand on both, lead the way on 13 points while Estonia
(seven) and Northern Ireland (six) are still in the hunt for
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