Former Chelsea manager
Avram Grant made a poor debut with Serbian champions Partizan
Belgrade after they were held to a 1-1 draw at struggling first
division newcomers Novi Pazar on Saturday.
Partizan's traditional city rivals Red Star took advantage
to cut their advantage at the top of the 16-team first division
to eight points with a 1-0 home win over Spartak Subotica.
Grant, who steered Chelsea to the 2008 Champions League
final after he took over from Jose Mourinho, saw Partizan fall
behind at lowly Novi Pazar when striker Admir Rascic headed in
an Emir Lotinac cross from the right.
Senegalese striker Lamine Diarra equalised with a clever
backheel shortly after the break but Partizan's tepid overall
performance left Grant unhappy.
"We came here to win and didn't do what we should have
done," the Israeli told a news conference.
"We didn't play well in the first half and we will have to
play a lot faster to break down teams as defensive as today's
opponents, although a poor pitch made it difficult."
Red Star also did not shine in front of 40,000 home fans in
their first match following the December-March winter break but
ground out a barely deserved win thanks to an opportunist
second-half goal from Brazilian midfielder Evandro.
The livewire playmaker headed home a close-range rebound
after a goal-mouth scramble to rekindle Red Star's hopes of
winning their first league title since 2007.
"The fantastic atmosphere and Partizan's slip-up seemed to
have given my players a stage fright but they showed character
and the win is all that matters," Red Star's Croatian coach
Robert Posinecki said.
"We will improve because this team includes many new
signings while some of the senior members were a bit flat after
being on international duty in midweek."
Red Star visit 11th-placed Javor Ivanjica in the next round
while Partizan are at home to fifth-placed Sloboda Sevojno.
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