A last-gasp goal from Boško Janković earned victory against the Czech Republic and sent Serbia into the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship as the winners of Group B.
The sign welcoming visitors to Nijmegen bills it as "City of health", and having beaten Italy here on Monday, Serbia's prospects of reaching the last four of this tournament for the third finals running certainly appeared rosy. The Czechs shared a goalless draw with England in their opening fixture and looked to have held on for another point here, but three minutes into added time, Antonio Rukavina set Milan Smiljanić free down the right and Janković got ahead of Michal Kadlec to head his side through. The result, coupled with England's 2-2 draw against Italy in tonight's late game, ensures Miroslav Djukić's side will finish first in the section and play the Group A runners-up in Arnhem next Wednesday in the last four.
Djukić had promised his team would go for the win and Smiljanić duly threatened within the first two minutes, although at the other end two right-wing corners from Tomáš Jirsák might have led to a Czech Republic goal as first Michal Papadopulos and then Milan Kopic sent headers narrowly off target. In a lively opening 45 minutes, Dejan Milovanović's whipped free-kick from the left caused problems for Zdeněk Zlámal, before the Czech goalkeeper raced off his line to deny Dragan Mrdja after Stefan Babović's pass had split the defence.
Kahriman called upon
With the Czech Republic midfield deprived of Daniel Kolář and Luboš Hušek due to an ankle injury and sickness respectively, Zlámal's opposite number Damir Kahriman had been largely a spectator but he was in the thick of the action as the half drew to a close, foiling Martin Fillo and Jirsák. The Serbia keeper then carefully gathered Jirsák's free-kick from the corner of the box, although he was rooted to the spot as Jiří Kladrubský's shot deflected just over in added time.
Mrdja made way for Djordje Rakić at half-time and Serbia began to look more dangerous, Rukavina bursting forward and laying a clever ball back to Smiljanić, who blazed over. Janković also tried his luck from distance but the best chance came in the opposite area. Again Jirsák was the architect, finding Kladrubský inside the box and he worked space with a clever turn before unleashing an effort that Kahriman palmed away with an outstretched hand.
Papadopulos volleyed Josef Kaufman's header too high before Serbia substitute Dušan Basta narrowly failed to find the target with an angled volley. Janković and Rakić both tested Zlámal, who seemed to have earned his side a point only for Janković to beat him in the final seconds. Serbia will win the group with victory in their final fixture against England on Sunday, when the Czechs, who can still progress, take on Italy, although Fillo will be suspended for that game having picked up an early yellow card here.