Serbia took an important step towards qualification for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship on Saturday with a 1-0 victory in the away leg of their play-off with Denmark.
The Scandinavians had their chances to take control of the game but failed to make them count, much to the disappointment of the 4,551 fans in Aalborg. Instead, the visitors look favourites to progress to the final tournament in Sweden next summer after Filip Djordjević struck seven minutes from time to give them a 1-0 lead to protect in Belgrade on Wednesday.
Denmark dominated the first half and forward Nicklas Pedersen might have decided the match all by himself, missing no fewer than four excellent opportunities – two of them with his head. He was not the only source of danger either, with Jesper Lange having a shot blocked close to goal after 31 minutes. At the other end, Djordjević proved to be Serbia's sole threat, conjuring up a fine effort with his left foot and a couple of dangerous headers, one of which was saved by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
The nature of the contest changed after the restart as Serbia began to push forward with greater intent, and with less than 60 seconds gone Milan Perić forced Schmeichel into a magnificent save. The visitors were now on top and aside from a Lasse Schøne strike that fizzed narrowly over the crossbar, the Danes failed to create the same level of menace they had managed before the break.
That allowed Serbia to take full advantage of their superiority and they did just that when a rare lapse by the Denmark defence left Djordjević one-on-one with Schmeichel. The FC Nantes Atlantique striker finished with ease and, despite desperate pressure from the hosts as time ticked down, Serbia held on to give themselves a great chance of gracing next year's tournament.