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Serbian Comeback Denies Olyroos






Australia 1-1 Serbia

Australia and Serbia kicked off their mens Group A Olympic football campaign in front of a near full capacity Shanghai Stadium with an entertaining 1-1 draw that featured two scoring chances denied by the woodwork.

There was to be no repeat of Australia’s 5-1 thumping of Serbia four years ago in Athens. It was a much more even contest this time around with chances few and far between in the first half, and the 1-1 scoreline after two second period goals was perhaps the fairest result.

Derby County’s Ruben Zadkovich sent the Olyroos ahead in the 69th minute but Chelsea’s Slobodan Rajkovic, on loan at Dutch side FC Twente, restored parity 10 minutes later. In between, Serbia had their chances while the Aussies were denied a second goal by the woodwork.

First Half

Aussie coach Graham Arnold started the match with a defensive minded five-man backline with captain Mark Miligan (pic) playing just infront of the two centrebacks. And predictably, it was the Serbians who began the more adventurous side with Zoran Tosic and Lazio’s Aleksandar Kolarov testing Olyroos keeper Adam Federici with a few decent shots on goal early on.

The best chance fell to Tosic in the 37th minute when he sent a rasping shot from 25 yards out crashing against the underside of the bar with Federici rooted to the ground. Still, the ball never really looked like crossing the line.

The boys down under had to wait until the 38th minute before they could show their first real effort at scoring. Matthew Spiranovic danced past two defenders but his finish outside the box was denied by a comfortable save from Vladimir Stojkovic.

Just before the break, it was Federici’s turn at the Aussie goal to pull off a stunning stop to deny Tosic yet again. The first half ended goalless with the Serbs well in control of the contest.

Second Half

The second period had a distinctly familiar look about it as the European side continue to create half chances while the Australians appear content to sit back and wait for an opening.

And that almost arrived in the 52nd minute when Ruben Zadkovich crossed for Nikita Rukavytsya but the Ukranian-born frontman saw his tame shot easily saved by Stojkovic.

The break finally came on 69 minutes and it was the Olyroos who surprised with the opening goal. David Carney whipped in a cross which just eluded Rukavytsya, but Zadkovich was there at the far post to side-foot home from close range.

And they could have severely punished moments after when the Aussie’s almost doubled their lead, but Billy Celeski’s shot came back off the woodwork. It turned out that it was Celeski’s miss that would prove costly for the Olyroos when Serbia equalized in the 79th minute after Rajkovic rose high in the box to head in Zivkovic’s cross.

Reading-based Federici made another series of great stops to deny Dusan Tadic and Gojko Kacar deep in injury time to ensure both teams share the spoils.

The solitary point will be extremely helpful for the Olyroos, who will be going face to face next with the might of defending Olympic champions and red-hot favourites, Argentina on Sunday, 1700 local time, while Serbia will tackle Côte d’Ivoire in the later game.

LINE-UPS:

Australia: Federici – Topor-Stanley, North, Spiranovic, McClenahan – Miligan (Celeski 65’) – Carney, Musialik, Zadkovich – Thompson (Sarkies 75’), Rukavytsya (Bridge 88’)


Serbia: Stojkovic – Jovanovic, Rajkovic, Tomovic, Kolarov – Smiljanic, Tosicz, Tadic, Gulan (Kacar 72’) – Fejsa (Zivkovic 76’), Rakic (Mrdakovic 55’)

GOALS:

1-0: Australia (Zadkovich 69’)

1-1: Serbia (Rajkovic 79’)


A point for both team as Serbia and Australia ended their opening game in a 1-1 draw.












Serbian Comeback Denies Olyroos Reviewed by admin Ucop on 11:12 PM Rating: 5

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