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Serbia start by beating Northern Ireland

Serbia 1-0 Northern Ireland
Luka Milivojević's 17th-minute strike got Serbia's Group 4 campaign off to a winning start as Northern Ireland ended with ten men.

Serbia captain Slobodan Medojević
Serbia captain Slobodan Medojević ©Sportsfile

Serbia made a winning start to their 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign thanks to Luka Milivojević's goal against Northern Ireland.

Having had their run of final tournament appearances ended last time out, Serbia dominated their first Group 4 fixture as they seek to reach Israel in 2013. Milivojević's 17th-minute strike proved decisive although Serbia missed a penalty early in the second half after Connor McLaughlin was sent off.

Northern Ireland were playing their third qualifier having already picked up four points against the Faroe Islands but condeded their first goal of the campaign when Milivojević pounced on a blocked shot 16 metres out and beat keeper Conor Devlin. In the 35th minute Milivojević fired just over, though Northern Ireland were proving determined opponents.

Billy Kee forced home goalkeeper Branimir Aleksić into a close-range save with a header not long past the break, but on 50 minutes McLaughlin was dismissed for fouling Stefan Šćepović, whose resulting penalty was missed. Serbia continued to press, and Slobodan Medojević headed over while in the 81st minute Luka Milunović let fly from 22 metres only for Devlin to pull off a fingertip save. On Tuesday Serbia welcome the Faroe Islands to Uzice while Northern Ireland meet 2011 finals hosts Denmark, who are beginning their campaign.