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Stark salvages point for Germany against Serbia

Germany 2-2 Serbia
An added-time goal from captain Niklas Stark rescued a Group B point for Germany after Luka Jović had seemingly won it for the holders.

Stark salvages point for Germany against Serbia
Stark salvages point for Germany against Serbia ©UEFA.com

Captain Niklas Stark scored an added-time equaliser to earn Germany a point that had seemed beyond them against UEFA European Under-19 Championship holders Serbia.

Maksimović (32) and Jović (41) on target for Serbia
Selke (39) levels before Stark (90+1) earns draw
Maksimović (90+5) shown a straight red card 
Germany v Ukraine on Friday; Serbia play Bulgaria

After a first half-hour Germany largely controlled without unduly threatening, a well-organised Serbia team took an unexpected lead through captain Nemanja Maksimović's header. Although Davie Selke swiftly levelled, Luka Jović restored Serbia's lead before half-time and it seemed that would prove enough, but Stark had other ideas.

Buoyed by their opening 3-0 win against Bulgaria, Germany had the majority of the ball early on, and carved out the first real chance when Hany Mukhtar set Selke in on goal; keeper Predrag Rajković blocked with his outstretched right foot. Having been under pressure for much of the opening half-hour, Serbia struck against the run of play with 32 minutes played, Andrija Živković delivering a cross that Maksimović stooped to head in.

The advantage proved short-lived as Selke – who, like Maksimović, also scored on matchday one – capitalised after Rajković failed to gather Jeremy Dudziak's right-wing corner. Within two minutes, however, Serbia were back in front and again Živković caused the problems. Germany failed to deal with his low cross from the right and Jović was able to take a touch before firing low past Oliver Schnitzler.

Jović might have had another following a goalmouth scramble early in the second half but his prodded effort was cleared. Danilo Pantić then shot wide having exposed Germany's defence again, while Jović twice found himself clean through and failed to convert. That proved costly in the 91st minute when Stark finally rewarded Germany's mounting pressure, and Serbia lost captain Maksimović to a red card for a foul on Marc Stendera in the final seconds.

Marcus Sorg, Germany coach
We're very happy that we collected a point in the end. Our opponents sat very deep and were very good on the counterattack. We made a lot of very silly mistakes, which didn't lead to anything good, so we're very happy that we managed to save a point. My team, from the first minute to the last, put in a lot of effort and gave everything. We were quite lucky we didn't concede a third goal but I'm quite happy that we showed our mentality. That's what makes us strong.

Veljko Paunović, Serbia coach
It was a good game and a great display from both teams. I'm proud of my players' performance, they made a great effort and played well. We had good opportunities to score even more goals but most of all I'm proud of their attitude. We were talking about respecting our plan, and we did it almost perfectly for the whole game. On the other hand, we should have scored from all our opportunities – that would have changed everything. We had two or three one-on-ones with the Germany goalkeeper and we're disappointed with that.