Serbia became the first side to qualify for the UEFA European Under-19 Championship as Nenad Lukić's hat-trick secured a decisive victory against Norway on the final day of Group 6.
Mini-tournament hosts Norway needed just a point to book their place in this summer's finals in Romania having won both their first two games. Yet they fell behind just before the half-hour when Lukić worked space on the edge of the penalty area and fired into the net.
Norway might have levelled nine minutes later, Fredrik Haugen finding Mushaga Bakenga inside the Serbia box, but his shot came back off the post and three minutes later Dejan Govedarica's team doubled their advantage. Lukić made no mistake from the penalty spot after Hugues Wembangomo had mistimed a challenge in the area.
With Norway needing to push forward to get back into the match, space began to open up on the counterattack for Serbia, who might have had a third when a weak clearance fell for Andrej Mrkela. His shot was turned behind by Eirik Holmen Johansen, but the goalkeeper was helpless eight minutes from time, right-back Marko Petković advancing to set up Lukić for another clinical finish.
Serbia therefore finished level on six points with Norway and Wales, but pipped both to a finals berth by virtue of their results against the other two – Wales took second place. Govedarica's charges go into the draw in Bucharest on 8 June, which will also feature hosts Romania and six other qualifiers.
"I'm very happy with the goals I scored today, but I couldn't have done it without the ten guys I play with," said Lukić. "This side have quality for the future, there's definitely a team spirit and we can go far in this competition."
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