They did it the hard way however Scotland They kept their nerve in the penalty shootout, as they reached their first men’s final since the 1998 World Cup in France.
Derby goalkeeper David Marshall proved to be the champion, saving the penalty spot by Alexander Mitrovic to send Steve Clark’s side to the postponed Euro 2020 finals next summer.
Scotland dominated original time, leading the wonderful goal of Ryan Christie before conceding the equalizer in the 90th minute, when Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic scored 50 million pounds in the equalizer that his team did not deserve.
With torrential rains falling on Belgrade, Scotland immediately looked at the house, initially seizing control of the possession to such an extent that Serbia had reason to rest, and its nearly 50,000-capacity stadium was empty.
Reactive and not proactive at a distance, the hosts seemed slow and out of speed. However, although pushing his stray arm in John McGinn’s face did not help his case, gaining Nikola Milinkovi a reservation and making sure that the left-side element of Serbia’s defense needed to monitor his move, Alexander Mitrovic seemed able to elicit confirmations of the visit.
The aerial prowess of the Fulham striker was already causing problems when Mitrovic held the ball nicely before calling up Sasa Lukic for his low shot that flew off David Marshall’s left post.
It quickly became apparent that Motherwell’s Declan Gallagher, deployed in the heart of Clark’s Three Defense, was destined to prove a major character in one of the night’s main sub-plots, a duel with Mitrovich. Clark couldn’t be too cheerful when, with half-time spent and Gallagher standing impressively assertive, the defender scooped up the weakest alarms.
Another potentially fixing area of the match was the left side of Serbia’s defense as Philippe Kostek appeared so dedicated to the attackers in the counterattack, with Lyndon Dykes and Kristi given plenty of very attractive spaces to explore.
Clark’s only disappointment was, as much as they succeeded with McGinn in spoiling their watchers, they had limited success in properly exploiting the resulting defensive vulnerabilities. In fact, Predrag Rajkovic rarely went too hard, comfortably saving the home goalkeeper when Christie fired a potentially dangerous free kick away near him, and then again, when McGinn shot a straight shot into his throat. How Scotland could have done with the injured Newcastle United winger, Ryan Fraser, in those three fronts.
Most importantly, they were at least keeping the unfamiliar calm of Serbia’s usual danger man, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic. Lazio creator struggled to spray his usual star dust on actions while drifting, often aimlessly, between the lines.
Clark should have reassured that, alongside Gallagher, Manchester United’s Scott Maktominay and Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney, he gave his team great defensive stability because being influenced by Serbia’s creative move might explain why they won only one of their last six matches at home.
This impression was reinforced early in the second half as Dykes brilliantly grabbed the ball for Liverpool’s Andy Robertson to run from left-back and miss the evening’s best chance.
Robertson seemed ready to score, but somehow he missed terribly, sending the ball inflating over the bar.
Did not matter; Kristi quickly set the record straight for Clark thanks to a great finish. His goal began with Calum McGregor seizing a Serbian ceding possession and feeding Christie.
All that remains is for the Celtic striker to turn nicely and bluff to complete one-two but instead shots through a heavily crowded penalty area. With his teammates selflessly distracting the defenders, the ball flew toward the goal, shattering the inner post on its journey across the line.
Now Serbia needs to raise the tone for the homeland – not to mention the strange rhythm of its strength.
However, trying as hard as they could, the Clark players kept throwing obstacles in their way. Milinkovic-Savic, who had been given by Milenkovic-Savic, fired a header that came too close to the goal to rest, but Gallagher helped save Mitrovic with an important header, which he might save.
Between these concerns – and Serbia was starting to win some corners – even a tired Scotland threatened to extend their advance. McTominay had a head inch wide after corner, and McGregor came close at 25 yards, and the hardworking and influential McGinn created a decent editorial that Christie couldn’t capitalize on. When Jovi likewise proved unable to block Mladenovic’s clever pass late at home, it felt as if Scotland were fair to end 23 years of mischief. But Jovi wasn’t completely finished, and in the 90th minute, the substitute was associated with another impressive delivery from the same creator, and this time, he dodged McTominay before sending a classic header down that slipped out of Marshall’s grip and condemned Scotland fans with the pain of extra time.
Suddenly the Clark players became worryingly tall and took him seriously. Mitrovic saw a shot that veered off target and only a superb save from Marshall prevented Nemanja Godelli from advancing to Serbia. The Derby keeper performed acrobatic marvels to push that high speed off the post but it turns out he was simply preparing for the main event – saving Mitrovic’s penalty kick.
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