France moved into outright second place in UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group A after a swift equaliser denied hosts Serbia.
Aiming to recover from an opening 3-2 loss to Denmark, Serbia went ahead in the last minute of the first half through Nikola Mandić. Within seconds Soualiho Meite had levelled, and France will go through to the semi-finals if they win on Monday in Novi Sad against Denmark, who clinched top spot by beating England 2-0. Serbia are ahead of England on goal difference and will progress if they beat the holders and France drop points.
The frantic end to the first period was out of keeping with a half which France largely dominated, particularly in midfield. Abdallah Yaisien had the first sighter for Patrick Gonfalone's men on 12 minutes, dribbling in from the left and forcing a save from Serbia keeper Nemanja Latinović, one of five changes compared to the team that started against Denmark; France had also made the same number of alterations, including one in goal.
Serbia had been restricted to counterattacks so it came as a surprise when they struck with their first notable chance. Nikola Ninković found Mandić with a raking pass through the middle which the tournament debutant, under pressure from two defenders, fired low past Lionel Mpasi Nzau.
Seemingly set to take a lead into the break, the hosts were immediately pegged back. Meite picked the ball up in a central position 20 metres from goal and rifled in a low effort which nestled in Latinović's bottom right-hand corner.
Sébastien Haller, France's double goalscorer against England, came close five minutes after the restart following a Raphaël Calvet pass. Yet there were few clear-cut chances thereafter to add to the late flurry in the first half.
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|12||Nemanja Latinović (GK)||16||Lionel Mpasi Nzau (GK)|
|2||Nemanja Jakšić||3||Benjamin Mendy|
|3||Bojan Nastić||4||Raphaël Calvet (C)|
|4||Uroš Radaković (C)||6||Adrien Tameze Aoutsa|
|6||Marko Marinković||8||Soualiho Meite|
|17||Aleksandar Filipović||13||Aymeric Laporte|
|1||Nikola Stošić (GK)||1||Quentin Beunardeau (GK)|
|5||Milan Savić||2||Jordan Ikoko|
|9||Vojno Ješić||7||Adam Nkusu|
|14||Dobrosav Kostić||9||Lenny Nangis|
|Milovan Djorić (SRB)||Patrick Gonfalone (FRA)|
|Stavros Tritsonis (GRE)|
|Vencel Tóth (HUN), Arūnas Šeškus (LTU)|
|Kristo Tohver (EST)|