Second half comeback seals the deal for Denmark.
Denmark came back from 1-0 down to beat Serbia 1-3 at an empty stadium in Partizan, which turned out to be a crazy night of football with two Nicklas Bendnter goals and a lot of action at both ends.
It turned out to be a great football match tonight, as Serbia faced Denmark at home in Partizan, in a game which Serbia started great but finished catastrophically.
Even though Denmark lost their last game 1-0 at home to Portugal, Denmark were before the game joint top of the group with Albania, who also have four points.
A win against Serbia would really put Denmark in a good position, as Dick Advocaat’s Serbia were joint bottom with Armenia before the game. However, Serbia did actually have four points, until they received a three-point deduction for the aftermath of the riot at their game against Albania in the last round.
That game was abandoned as fans had infiltrated the pitch and were attacking players, which was also the reason why tonight’s game was played with no fans as a part of the ban.
Denmark were without their main defender and captain Daniel Agger, who had picked up an injury in training and was replaced by Bjelland. However, the Danish lined up with their current star player Christian Eriksen, who despite having a tough start to the Premier League this season with Tottenham, has been prolific with his national side.
One recognisable face in the Danish team was the almost forgotten Nicklas Bendtner, who since his departure with Arsenal has joined Vfl Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga, and has he scored 24 goals in 62 games for Denmark.
Serbia have been lucky with their injuries, and were they happy to know that one of their best players, Nemanja Matic, was fit to play. The Chelsea midfielder has been crucial to José Mourinho’s tactical plans this season, and has he played in almost every game for the Blues so far.
Another player who has been in great form lately, was former Manchester United winger, Zoran Tosic, who since his move to CSKA Moscow in 2010 has scored 26 goals, 11 goals last season.
And it was Tosic who made the early impact in the game, when he in the fourth minute was one on one with the Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, as he received the ball just inside the box from a cheeky Matic step-over, and with an easy finish put the ball in the net.
Daniel Agger was dearly missed in the Danish defence and had the Danes not recovered from the early goal, as Tosic almost scored again in the eighth minute, when he with a great bicycle inside the box forced Schmeichel to make a top reflex save.
Denmark’s first and only real chance on goal in the first half, came in the 28th minute, when Lasse Vibe received the ball just outside the box from a Bendtner flick, and with a great dribble went pass Ivanovic but saw his low shot saved by Stojkovic in goal.
Denmark tried to get back in the match, having 71% of the possession throughout the first half with six shots on goal. However, it was not until the second half that the Danes got back into the game. Christian Eriksen had the chance to get an early equaliser in the 48th minute, when he received the ball from Kvist on the left, but saw his right-footed shot hitting the left post.
Denmark kept on pushing forward, and did they get their equaliser in the 60th minute, when the one and only Nicklas Bendtner smashed the ball in the centre of the box with a left footed hook.
Serbia didn’t even have the chance to react on the first goal, as the second goal came already two minutes later, as Denmark took the lead from a free-kick cross which found an unmarked Simon Kjær who easily could head the ball in goal.
Serbia tried to get back into the game using their attacking force, but were Denmark just as good in front of goal, and did both teams hit the bar in a one-minute gap in the 65th minute.
Denmark saw another attempt missed in the 75th minute; when a Lasse Vibe shot was saved on the line in the centre of the goal. However, Serbia were not any luckier, as Zdravko Kuzmanovic’s right-footed shot from outside the box went just inches wide of the right post.
Despite their efforts, Serbia’s hope of getting an equaliser was destroyed five minutes before time, when an unmarked Bendtner received the ball inside the box from a Krohn-Dehli cross, and could he calmly take the ball down and put it in the net.
The game finished 1-3 to Denmark, and are they now top of their group with seven points, only one point ahead of Portugal who won their match against Armenia. On Tuesday Morten Olsen’s men travel to Romania for an international friendly, and won’t they play again until June where they face Serbia again at home.
This defeat will be a big blow for Serbia as they now lay joint bottom with Armenia with one point, and will they have to beat Portugal away in March to have any realistic chance of qualifying for the European Championships.