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The Serbian U-20 national team won Hungarians and qualified for the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand
The Serbian national U-20 team qualified for the quarter-finals of the 20th U-20 World Cup in New Zealand after winning the Hungarian team after extra time by 2:1. In the regular time the match ended in a tie 1:1 (0:0).
On 14th June, Serbia will compete with USA national team in Auckland to qualify for the semi-finals.
The USA national team won Colombia by 1:0.
At the Otago stadium in Dunedine, at chilly weather before about 9500 spectators, Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain) officiated the match; the scorers were Šaponjić in 90’ and Talaber in 118’ (own goal in favor of Serbia), and Mervo in 57’ in favor of Hungary.
Yellow cards:Gajić, Zdjelar (Serbia), Salai, Kečkeš, Lencer, Osvat (Hungary), red card: Gajić (Serbia) in 90’.
In its group Serbia lost the match with Uruguay by 1:0, and won Mali and Mexico by 2:0 each.
Serbia: Rajković - Gajić, Veljković, Babić, Antonov - Zdjelar, Grujić (from 78’ Gaćinović), Maksimović - Živković, F. Janković(from 58’ Šaponjić) - Mandić (from 90’ Stevanović), Captain: Predrag Rajković, Head-coach: Veljko Paunović
Hungary: Sekelj - Osvalt, Kečkeš (from 55’ Talaber), Lencer, Tamaš (from 73’ D. Nađ) - Vida, A. Nađ - Zoter, Kalmar - Salai (from 59’ Forgaš) - Mervo.
Head-Coach: Bernd Storck
In an extraordinarily exciting game, Serbia has secured placement among the top eight nations in the world. It was a match that will be remembered for its large and unusual twists and its conclusion. Our team was able to gain the extra time in the last minute e of the regular playing time, when the scorer was John Šaponjić. Only a minute later Milan Gajic received his second yellow card, so Serbia was left with 10 players. At the end of the second extra time, after an unfortunate intervention of Hungarian center half Talabér, Serbia has come to victory and qualified for the next round.
Before that, a young Serbian team had a lot of opportunities to resolve the match in a much calmer finale but it was obvious that our players did not have the energy as in previous matches. Several opportunities were not realized, which lead to an unease which lasted until the very end of the regular playing time, and, after that, until the end of extra times. Eventually all ended well for our team, which in the coming days will have another chance to show what it can do and correct mistakes from the match with Hungary.
The Serbian HC Veljko Paunović was forced to make two changes in relation to the previous match against Mexico. Sergej Milinković had two yellow cards, so Grujic replaced him in the midfield, while Filip Jankovic, who played instead of Gacinovic, was on a position of left wing.
In setting the game Paunovic established a similar strategy, as in the last two games. In the defense there were Gajic, Veljkovic, Babic and Antonov. The creative triangular in the centerfield was composed of Zdjelar, Grujic and Maksimovic, while Zivkovic A. and F. Jankovic were wing attackers. The attack was led by S. Mandic.
The Hungarian National Coach and German Bernd Stock chose a similar tactics. The only difference in comparison with the Serbian players’ disposition on the field of play was the fact that the Hungarians played with one offensive midfielder, because the attacker Merve was assisted by Salai, who pulled himself into a midfield too.
Hungarians may have surprised our team at the beginning of the game, because they had kept the ball in their possession for a long time. They controlled the game in midfield well and thus forestall the attacks of Serbia. As the game went on, our boys were creating their game, and Zdjelar had a very good shot in 27’. In the 45th minute Mandic had an excellent opportunity. Both times, the Hungarian goalkeeper is timely reacted and defended his goal. In the first half Hungarians had only one chance to shoot at our goal.
In the second half the teams had equal chances, but after an excellent opportunity of Serbia, Hungary managed to lead by 1:0 after a quick counterattack. Since then Serbia was fighting to equal the result. This happened after a corner in 90’ when Živković excellently shot at Šaponjić who scored after a head-kick.
24 countries took part in the competition in New Zealand, who in the first phase were seeded in six groups with four teams each.