Miralem Sulejmani's hat-trick gave Serbia victory against Norway in a game where they had trailed 2-0 and revived their UEFA European Under-21 Championship chances.
Vegard Forren and Tarik Elyounoussi had put Norway in control in Novi Sad but AFC Ajax's Sulejmani scored on 42, 52 and 72 minutes to ensure Serbia bounced back from last month's 3-1 loss in Croatia. Serbia now only trail their neighbours on head-to-head record and are a point adrift of Group 7 leaders Slovakia – with the top two having a game in hand that they will use when they meet in Zlate Moravce on Wednesday.
Norway in front
Norway, now six points adrift of Slovakia with only three fixtures remaining, looked on course to move above Serbia into third place when Forren turned in Harmet Singh's second-minute corner. Serbia goalkeeper Branislav Danilović made a good save from Mads Stokkelien but in the 34th minute was beaten again when Håvard Nordtveit's free-kick was flicked on by Thomas Rogne for Elyounoussi to double the lead.
There was hope for Serbia late in the half when Sulejmani, part of the 2009 finals squad in Sweden, claimed his first and he struck again seven minutes after the interval. The home side were nearly ahead when Danijel Aleksić turned Sulejmani's pass just over but four minutes later it was 3-2. Filip Djuričić found Sulejmani and from 20 metres out his shot sailed in over Andre Hansen in the Norway goal. Both teams have no more qualifiers until 11 August, when Serbia visit Slovakia and Norway are in Croatia.