Serbia gave their new
coach Sinisa Mihajlovic his first taste of success as left-back
Aleksandar Kolarov inspired an impressive 6-1 home rout of Wales
in a World Cup Group A qualifier on Tuesday.
The victory left Serbia on four points from two games after
Saturday's goalless stalemate in Scotland, which came on the
back of three defeats and a draw in friendlies.
Having come under fire for tepid performances which produced
only one goal in five games, Mihajlovic reshuffled his youthful
team and the tactic paid dividends in Vojvodina Novi Sad's
acoustic Karadjordje stadium in front of a capacity 15,000
Kolarov fired the home side ahead when he curled a
delightful free-kick from 18 metres over the wall past
the despairing dive of Wales goalkeeper Boaz Myhill in the 16th
The Manchester City player turned provider eight minutes
later after muscling his way past two defenders to the touchline
and squaring the ball for Serbia captain Zoran Tosic to steer it
home from close range.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gareth Bale, who started on the
right flank but quickly switched to the more familiar left, gave
a colourful band of 500 Welsh fans something to cheer about when
he halved Serbia's lead with a brilliant free-kick.
His stinging and swerving shot from 25 metres left Serbia
keeper Vladimir Stojkovic rooted to his line as it almost ripped
the netting in his top right corner, but Welsh joy was
short-lived as Serbia quickly restored their two-goal advantage.
A pair of 20-year olds carved the visitors open with a slick
move as winger Dusan Tadic released Filip Djuricic with a lovely
through ball and the striker buried his shot into the roof of
the net after rounding Adam Matthews.
Serbia continued to have the upper hand after the break and
their incessant attacks soon bore fruit as Chelsea defender
Branislav Ivanovic raced down the right flank and delivered a
perfect low cross for Tadic who swept the ball past Myhill.
Ivanovic capped his own outstanding performance in the 80th
minute with a rasping low shot from the edge of the box with his
weaker left foot to delight the home fans who sang incessantly
to the beats of a giant drum.
Substitute Miralem Sulejmani, making his first appearance
after recovering from a long-term injury, put the icing on the
cake in the 90th minute with a deflected effort from 20 metres
which caught Myhill stranded.
Serbia's next two games are at home to Belgium on October 12
and away to Macedonia four days later. Wales are at home to
Scotland before they visit Croatia.
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