Serbia come on strong against Turkey
Saturday, 20 July 2013
Serbia 2-1 Turkey
Andrija Luković's header and an Aleksandar Mitrović volley set up Ljubinko Drulović's side for a Group B victory.
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Serbia enjoyed a winning start to the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, Ljubinko Drulović's side producing a goal in each half to see off Turkey.
Semi-finalists at this level on two occasions in the last four years, Serbia forged ahead in the 17th minute thanks to left-sided attacker Andrija Luković's header. The FK Rad player then turned provider after the break, crossing for Aleksandar Mitrović to volley Serbia's second, though substitute Recep Niyaz's smart finish late on was some reward for 2004 runners-up Turkey.
A heavy shower shortly after kick-off made for tricky conditions in Marijampole, and almost led to the game's opening goal, Turkey goalkeeper Onurcan Piri fumbling before Serbia's Nemanja Maksimović slammed the ball into the side-netting on the quarter hour. Serbia continued to press and were rewarded when Luković met Petar Golubović's pacey cross from the right with a powerful header from close range.
A second nearly arrived after another lapse from Onurcan – the keeper this time firing a misplaced pass straight to Sergej Milinković-Savić who looked on in frustration as his drive struck the inside of the upright.
The Crescent Stars reached the finals with a 100% elite round record and gradually began to display some of that qualifying form as the half progressed. An intricate through pass from the industrious Sinan Bakış found İbrahim Yılmaz whose thumping shot slipped through Predrag Rajković's hands before the keeper smartly clawed out the goalbound effort.
Serbia emerged after the restart in determined mood, though, and Okan Buruk's charges went 2-0 down after 54 minutes. From a position wide on the left, Luković provided an accurate centre for Mitrović to power a volley into the turf and up into the corner of the net. Niyaz's subsequent effort set up a late charge from Turkey but Serbia held on to open with three points.