Sports

Jovic rescues Serbia draw against Slovenia at Euro 2024


MUNICH, June 20 — Luka Jovic scored with a last-gasp header to snatch an equaliser for Serbia in a 1-1 draw with Slovenia on Thursday, keeping both teams in contention for a place in the last 16 of Euro 2024.

Slovenia looked on course for their first ever win at the tournament after Zan Karnicnik put them ahead in the second half, but Jovic glanced in a corner in the fifth minute of stoppage time to haul Serbia level.

The result leaves Slovenia on two points from two games in Group C going into their clash with England on Tuesday, while Serbia have one point ahead of their final match in the group against Denmark.

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic, who felt his team showed England “too much respect” in their opening 1-0 defeat, recalled captain Dusan Tadic in one of three changes, with Filip Kostic ruled out due to injury.

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Stojkovic incidentally played in Yugoslavia’s 3-3 draw with Slovenia in the group stage at Euro 2000, Slovenia’s only other appearance at the tournament.

But it was Slovenia, coming off a creditable 1-1 draw against Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark in their first game, who created the early chances.

Adam Gnezda Cerin drove straight at Predrag Rajkovic from distance before the Serbia goalkeeper used his legs well to save from Jan Mlakar.

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After mustering a solitary shot on target against England, Serbia’s strike pair Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic both went close.

Vlahovic’s diving header drew an easy save from Jan Oblak, with Mitrovic unable to connect with Tadic’s teasing corner yards out as he grappled with a defender.

Timi Max Elsnik rattled the post after skipping his way into the Serbia area following a favourable bounce off an opponent and Benjamin Sesko scooped over the rebound.

Oblak, who produced a crucial stop to keep Slovenia in the game before they equalised against Denmark, pulled off another similar save just before half-time to deny Mitrovic from inside the six-yard box.

Mitrovic again found his route to goal blocked by Oblak minutes into the second half, with Slovenia defender Jaka Bijol lucky not to slice a cross into his own net.

A header from Mitrovic deflected just over as Serbia started to impose themselves on the game, but Sesko kept Rajkovic busy with a curling attempt.

Karnicnik started and finished the move that led to Slovenia’s goal, winning the ball back deep in his half and igniting the counter-attack that culminated in him stabbing in Elsnik’s cross from the left.

Mitrovic’s luck deserted him as the Al Hilal forward whacked the crossbar, his half-volley from Andrija Zivkovic’s delivery taking a vital touch off Karnicnik.

Lazar Samardzic stroked wide as Serbia desperately pushed for an equaliser, their prayers answered as Jovic turned in a corner with the final act of the match. — AFP



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