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Serbia see off Armenia for first win

Serbia 2-0 Armenia
A first-half Levon Hayrapetyan own goal was added to by Adem Ljajić after the break, but neither side can now progress from Group I.

Highlights: Serbia 2-0 Armenia
  • Serbia claim first Group I win at expense of Armenia in Novi Sad
  • Levon Hayrapetyan's own goal puts Serbia in front (22)
  • Adem Ljajić taps in after Aleksandar Kolarov's shot is saved (53)
  • Eliminated Serbia join Armenia on one point, but neither can now qualify
  • Next games: Albania v Serbia, Armenia v Denmark (7 September)

Serbia recorded their first win in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying at the sixth attempt, easing past Armenia in Novi Sad as a goal in each half ended their opponents' faint hopes of progressing from Group I.

Bottom of the section at kick-off, Serbia started positively and barely relented throughout the first period. They might have taken the lead with just eight minutes on the clock, Adem Ljajić – a lively presence down the left – supplying a cross that Filip Kostić turned against the crossbar.

The opening goal, in the 22nd minute, also originated down the left, Kostić delivering a cross to the back post where a combination of Andrija Živković and defender Levon Hayrapetyan pushed the the ball over the line.

It might have been more before half-time, Aleksandar Mitrović firing over having held off a defender and Ljajić twice being denied by Gevorg Kasparov after cutting inside.

An own goal from Levon Hayrapetyan (right) gave Serbia the lead
An own goal from Levon Hayrapetyan (right) gave Serbia the lead©AFP/Getty Images

The cushion was increased eight minutes after the interval, however, despite Kasparov's best efforts; the goalkeeper parried an Aleksandar Kolarov effort after yet another attack down the left, but this time Ljajić was there to snap up the rebound.

In a match played behind closed doors, Serbia were thereafter content to preserve their victory, rarely threatening until the closing stages. Then substitute Zoran Tošić's vicious half-volley struck the upright before Mitrović sliced wide with the goal at his mercy, and two goals would have to suffice.