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Pantelić seals success for Serbia in Belfast

Northern Ireland 0-1 Serbia
Marko Pantelić capitalised on a Steve Davis mistake to earn Serbia a crucial victory against their Group C rivals in Belfast.

Marko Pantelić celebrates his crucial goal against Northern Ireland
Marko Pantelić celebrates his crucial goal against Northern Ireland ©Getty Images

Marko Pantelić scored the only goal as Serbia defeated Northern Ireland to move level on points with Slovenia in second place in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group C.

Northern Ireland were far from their fluent best and as the game wore on it was Serbia who looked increasingly like breaking the deadlock. They landed the decisive blow when Pantelić latched onto Steve Davis's short back pass before skipping past Lee Camp and slotting into an empty net.

With both sides firmly in the hunt for qualification, it came as no surprise that the early stages were somewhat cagey. Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt stung the palms of Bojan Jorgačević on six minutes but it was the visitors who grew into the match and carried more of an attacking threat.

Zdravko Kuzmanović brought the best out of Camp after 11 minutes while Aleksandar Kolarov's powerful effort also tested the goalkeeper. Zoran Tošić proved a handful for Nigel Worthington's side throughout but the PFC CSKA Moskva midfielder was unable to find a breakthrough before half-time.

After the break, Grant McCann's long-range strike was the closest either side came until Davis' back pass was pounced on by Pantelić, who took the ball round the onrushing Camp before scoring. With just two points covering four teams in the section, Tuesday's fixtures will be crucial. Serbia host the Faroe Islands while Northern Ireland travel to Estonia.