Late rally saves Serbs
© Foto-net

In a match that fell somewhat below expectations, Serbia and Australia drew 1-1 in the first match of Group A in Shanghai. Ruben Zadkovich shot Australia into the lead after 69 minutes, but Slobodan Rajkovic's header nine minutes later gave the Serbians a well-deserved point.

The early exchanges were uninspiring, with neither side holding on to possession particularly well. There were no chances until the 13th minute, when the lively Zoran Tosic was played in by Dusan Tadic following a corner; Tosic's eventual shot was deflected wide by an Australian defender.

Tosic was involved again on 37 minutes, when his long-range strike thundered off the crossbar. The Serbian attacker tried his luck from distance again in the final minute of the half, but Adam Federici saved well.

The game settled into a pattern in the second period, with Serbia piling on the pressure and Australia defending resolutely. For all their pressure, the Serbs failed to create any clear chances, and it was Australia who went ahead in the 69th minute, against the run of play. David Carney made his way cleverly down the left and crossed, and Ruben Zadkovich stabbed the ball in at the far post.

The game opened up, and Australia missed an excellent chance to secure the three points when substitute Billy Celeski struck the post following a vigorous right-wing move. Soon afterwards, however, Serbia equalised, when Rajkovic's header from a left-wing corner made the score 1-1.

Although Serbia continued to press for a win thereafter, they were unable to make the most of the half-chances that fell their way. The two sides emerged with one point apiece, and the general feeling among the spectators was that Serbia had provided the better entertainment.