Joy for Mitrovic as striker sets up winner to take Serbia to finals
It is seven weeks since Aleksandar Mitrovic played for Newcastle United.
However, the striker will be a happy man when he returns to Tyneside.
Banned after the incident with West Ham’s Lanzini in late August, Mitrovic was then left out of the squad when available against Liverpool.
Nothing has changed for his country though, with the 23 year old starting in the 3-2 defeat to Austria last week and then in the team for Monday night’s crucial home match with Georgia.
Serbia needed a win in this final qualifier to be certain of automatic qualification for Russia next summer and the fans in Belgrade were kept waiting.
The 74th minute seeing substitute Aleksandar Prijovic score the only goal of the game, after Aleksandar Mitrovic cut in on the right and delivered an excellent assist (watch below).
The goal setting celebrations in motion, as it confirmed Serbia as group winners. Mitrovic was subbed three minutes after setting up that winner.
There would have been some nerves as the Republic of Ireland had taken the lead in Cardiff after 57 minutes, James McClean scoring against Wales.
This meant Martin O’Neill’s team would win the group, if they kept the lead and Serbia conceded.
However, 1-0 wins for both teams led to joy at both venues, although for the Republic of Ireland it does only mean it has bought a ticket for the all or nothing play-offs in early November.
Ciaran Clark put in an excellent performance to help the Irish to a vital clean sheet, a very good gritty defensive performance.
Rob Elliot was once again an unused sub but will surely join Clark on the plane to Russia if they get through the play-off.
The international break had earlier seen both Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu miss out on qualification, as the two injured Newcastle teammates watched their teammates fail.
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