By Aleksandar Boskovic in Belgrade
Serbia and Montenegro moved to within touching distance of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship after an emphatic 5-1 victory against Norway in Belgrade in the first leg of the play-off for the final tournament.
The result gave the home side a sizeable advantage to defend in the second leg, which will be played in Brammen in Norway on Tuesday 18 November.
Serbia and Montenegro made the perfect start, taking the lead in the second minute as Igor Matic's corner was met by Nemanja Vidic, and the defender opened the scoring from seven metres.
Disljenkovic denies Pedersen
Despite the early setback, Norway were undeterred and largely controlled the next ten minutes, and might have drawn level in the tenth minute. Morten Gamst Pedersen founded himself with only Vladimir Disljenkovic to beat, but the Serbo-Montenegrin goalkeeper produced a brilliant save to keep his side in front.
Four minutes later it was 2-0, as Danko Lazovic's cross found Andrija Delibašic inside the penalty area, and the striker doubled his side's advantage with his head. The second goal visibly deflated the visitors, who struggled to find a way back into the match, with lone striker Azar Karadas frequently isolated up front.
Two for Delibašic
Serbia and Montenegro took a three-goal lead six minutes before the interval, Delibašic converting Milos Krasic's pass with a low shot. The visitors might have scored a potentially crucial away goal on the stroke of half-time, but Disljenkovic was well-placed to save Pal Steffen Andersen's header.
Krasic on target
It was 4-0 two minutes after the restart as defender Dragan Stancic burst forward before finding Krasic, and the midfield player scored from the edge of the penalty area. Norway did reduce the deficit five minutes before the hour, Trond Ludvigsen finding himself with time and space inside the penalty area to convert André Hanssen's pass.
However, the home side remained largely in control, and might have restored their four-goal cushion through Delibašic, but Norwegian goalkeeper Per Morten Kristiansen denied the FK Partizan striker his hat-trick. The home side were not to be denied, however, and scored a fifth with nine minutes left as Marjan Markovic found Delibašic, who unselfishly crossed for Radomir Dalovic to head in from close range and put Serbia and Montenegro firmly in control of the tie.