Serbia ran out comfortable 6-0 winners against Gibraltar in the UEFA U21 Euro qualifiers this evening.
Photo (C) C Correa Photograpy
A Luka Jovic brace helped Serbia on their way, while Sasa Lukic Milan Gajic, Aleksandar Lutovac and Ivan Saponjic also got on the scoresheet as they maintained their 100% record in the Group and showed their quality on the Victoria Stadium turf.
With the rain coming down steadily at the Stadium, the fans packed into the Main Stand for the game, the first international match of any sort since the senior team lost 5-0 to Sunday’s opponents Latvia in March 2016. Both teams traded efforts in the opening 10 minutes of the game, although Serbia did have the more clear-cut of the chances.
Gibraltar set up in what was largely a 4-5-1 formation, looking to stifle their opponents, but Lucic broke the deadlock after 15 minutes with a smart finish into the bottom corner; the on-loan Levante midfielder leaving Bradley Banda in the Gib goal with no chance.
Despite the goal, it was a fairly even opening quarter of the game as Gib showed glimpses of the ability that saw them beat Macedonia last year. However, Serbia doubled their lead five minutes later with Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic, the biggest threat in the eyes of many pre-match, coolly finishing off a good low cross which deflated the atmosphere somewhat.
After Russia’s 4-3 win earlier in the day against Macedonia, Serbia were in no mood to mess about as they sought to regain their five-point cushion atop of Group 7, as well as their 100% record so far in the group. They should have made it three as their attack seemingly broke the offside trap of Gib, but Jovic failed to show the composure required by sending his cutback too far across the box denying a team-mate an easy tap-in.
The third for Serbia was far too easy in truth; after a shot hit the post, Gib seemed to stop, which allowed Gajic, currently a right-back for Bordeaux in Ligue 1, to grab his second goal at this level for Serbia.
Early in the second half Serbia made it four, as Lutovac tapped in from practically the goal-line. Banda, who was a busy player in the first half, did very well to claw away what seemed a certain fifth goal, as Aaron Asquez’ team continued to fight despite the scoreline.
Four became five though as Jovic tapped in his second of the evening from close range again, and Gib were on their way to their biggest defeat of the qualifying campaign so far. The Serbia U21 striker was soon taken off despite being on a hat-trick, and received a warm applause from the home support after his performance in the first hour.
Despite largely taking their foot off the pedal in the latter stages, Serbia added a six through substitute Saponjic, and that would prove to be the last goal of the match. Gibraltar must now pick themselves up before facing Russia U21 on Tuesday, also at the Victoria Stadium.