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Pavlovski puts Serbia through in first place

France 1-1 Serbia
Marko Pavlovski's free-kick cancelled out Adrien Hunou's first-half opener and gave Serbia first place in Group B, with their opponents also progressing.

France's Adrien Rabiot (centre) is crowded out by Nikola Antić and Slobodan Urošević
France's Adrien Rabiot (centre) is crowded out by Nikola Antić and Slobodan Urošević ©Sportsfile

A late goal from captain Marko Pavlovski assured Serbia of first place in UEFA European Under-19 Championship Group B, earning a draw that also took opponents France into Monday's semi-finals.

France kicked off second in the standings but looked the more threatening side from the outset and broke through just past the half-hour thanks to Adrien Hunou's second composed finish in as many games. Serbia, however, showed more of an attacking threat in the second period and drew level when Pavlovski curled in a free-kick with 13 minutes remaining. Both teams therefore progress to the knockout stages, Serbia taking on the Group A runners-up and France playing the winners.

Needing a point or more to make sure of reaching a fourth semi-final in five years, France were first to threaten as Hunou sliced a shot wide from 25 metres after Adrien Rabiot had laid the ball off. Although Uroš Djurdjević and Ognjen Ožegović had glimpses of goal at the other end, Francis Smerecki's side had the initiative and made it count in the 31st minute.

Again Rabiot was at the heart of the move although it was Kevin Rodridgues who supplied the incisive flick for the advancing Hunou to steer into the corner of the Serbian net. Goalkeeper Stefan Čupić – one of six changes made by coach Ljubinko Drulović – was exposed again when he spilled Radiot's long shot but Rodrigues's snap follow-up effort was too high.

France were on course to take top spot at their opponents' expense but Serbia staged a second-half fightback and almost pulled level when Pavlovski played in Djurdjević down the right; the shot was scooped too high.

Milan Vojvodić came even closer, a left-foot effort grazing the crossbar following a one-two with Mijat Gačinović, before the equaliser eventually arrived when Pavlovski beat Quentin Beunardeau at his near post in the 77th minute. France looked to restore their lead, but the draw was enough for both countries to be satisfied.

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