Luka Milunović struck twice in six minutes either side of half-time as Serbia claimed a hard-earned three points in a Group 9 meeting with Cyprus both teams ended with ten men.
The FK Crvena zvezda forward broke the deadlock just before the break, curling into the far corner, and when he met Uroš Djurdjević's perfect cross with a powerful header soon after the restart Serbia looked well on course for victory. Andreas Kyriakou caused problems throughout, however, and his header made it 2-1 before Marko Petković was promptly shown a straight red card – there were still 25 minutes left. Cyprus could not fashion an equaliser, their hopes vanishing with Kostas Laifis' second yellow card (78).
A frantic, fractious finale looked unlikely 45 minutes earlier as Serbia were bossing their opening 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier. Between Milunović's goals either side of half-time, Nikola Stoiljković had also rattled the post; but Cyprus were always in this game in Gornji Milanovac. Michael Thalassitis had also hit the woodwork just before Milunović's opener and Kyriakou's goal and Petković's dismissal for illegally halting a threatening Dimitris Froxylias attack revived hopes.
There was no equaliser, though, and after Cyprus too went down to ten men Serbia could have extended their lead but an underpar Miloš Jojić failed to capitalise in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Giorgos Loizou.