Ko­larov has de­ci­sive say in Ser­bia’s vic­tory

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - WORLD CUP -

ALEK­SAN­DAR KO­LAROV struck a su­perb free-kick as Ser­bia opened their World Cup cam­paign with vic­tory over Costa Rica in Sa­mara.

The for­mer Manch­ester City de­fender fired home in trade­mark fash­ion as Ser­bia were re­warded for their dom­i­nance of the Group E fix­ture 11 min­utes into the sec­ond half.

Costa Rica, who reached the quar­ter-fi­nals in Brazil four years ago, paid the price for fail­ing to make the most of some good chances in the first half.

Their frus­tra­tions spilled over in stop­page-time as some mem­bers of their coach­ing staff be­came in­volved in heated ex­changes with Ser­bia’s Ne­manja Matic over a throw-in on the touch­line.

Their early op­por­tu­ni­ties had come de­spite Ser­bia, be­ing driven for­ward by the im­pres­sive Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, con­trol­ling for large spells.

Costa Rica’s best open­ing came when Gian­carlo Gon­za­lez was picked out un­marked at the far post by David Guz­man fol­low­ing a short cor­ner rou­tine, but he headed well over.

Marco Urena had ear­lier shot at Vladimir Sto­jkovic af­ter be­ing played through by Bryan Ruiz and he spurned an­other chance when he fired over from a Celso Borges ball.

Francisco Calvo also went close late in the first half, but dragged his at­tempt wide.

Milinkovic-Savic un­der­lined his abil­ity when he con­nected with an over­head kick just be­fore the break, but it proved a com­fort­able save for Key­lor Navas.

Ser­bia took con­fi­dence from that and threat­ened much more af­ter the in­ter­val.

New­cas­tle’s Alek­san­dar Mitro­vic failed to make the most of two op­por­tu­ni­ties. But in the 56th minute Mitro­vic was fouled by Guz­man around 30 yards from goal and Ko­larov curled a pow­er­ful ef­fort over the wall and in­side Navas’s left-hand post.

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