Last night was a massive one for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Serbia.
After a disastrous failed 2014 European Championships qualifying campaign, they desperately needed to bounce back in the group games for Russia 2018, with the Serbian football public far from happy with the standard of football and the in-fighting within the national squad.
Going into Sunday night’s home game with Wales, Serbia had fallen a point behind Republic of Ireland who had drawn 1-1 with Austria earlier in the day (Daryl Murphy coming off the bench in the second-half).
Only the top team in each group automatically goes through, with the best eight runners-up in the nine European groups being drawn in play-offs with four winners of those games also qualifying for Russia next year.
Aaron Ramsey gave Wales a first-half lead with a well taken penalty, only for Mitrovic to deliver for his country yet again, scoring a cracking equaliser (watch it below) in the 73rd minute and had a number of other chances.
Mitrovic having now scored seven goals in his last seven internationals, despite only four goals in the Championship last season.
From The Mag – Sunday 11 June:
You can’t say that wasn’t coming.
Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who equalised in the meeting in Wales, strikes to do the same again.
Ben Davies gambles to try and cut a pass out, misses it, and Aleksandar Prijovic is in on goal, he has the awareness to slide in Mitrovic on the overlap, he skips past Ashley Williams and buries with his left foot.
MASSIVE celebrations. Flares, the works.’
“It’s a wonderful finish but I just wonder if the referee will book Aleksandar Mitrovic – it’s about 90 seconds of celebrating.
“No, the referee is not even interested in booking him.
“He hasn’t had a chance all night and that’s what top players do – one chance and one goal.”
That is a chance! yet another great ball in, Aleksandar Mitrovic is steaming on to the cross, eyes wide shut!
He gets a great leap in, Wayne Hennessey doesn’t know whether to stick or twist, head it…WIDE!
There is a really top-rate target man in there somewhere.’
Group D table now looks like this:
12 Serbia (GD +6)
12 R. of Ireland (+4)
8 Wales (+4)
8 Austria (+1)
3 Georgia (-4)
2 Moldova (-11)
You can go straight to the Mitrovic goal on 1.26 below but he does have a number of other chances before that, as well as in the closing stages Mitro attempts an audacious overhead kick winner.