A wonderful free-kick from Sergej Milinkovic helped Serbia to victory over Mali in Dunedin, to leave all four teams in Group D level on three points going into the final round of games. 

Milinkovic set the Orlici on their way in the first half before substitute Stanisa Mandic completed a straightforward victory for Veljko Paunovic's team.

Serbia had less of the ball, but the majority of the chances, and their profligacy was not punished as Mali failed to muster many opportunities of their own.

The Serbians set the tone in the opening minutes, as a misjudgement by Youssouf Kone saw the ball find its way to Andrija Zivkovic in the penalty area, who curled just over with his left foot.  

In the early exchanges, Serbia controlled the game despite and pressed the Malians well, dictating the tempo due to their solid shape.

Their tactical dominance was rewarded when Mijat Gacinovic drew a foul after running from midfield and Milinkovic spotted up the set piece around 30 yards from goal. The Genk man curled a superb dipping effort with his right foot which skipped off the surface just in front of the diving Djigiu Diarra in the Malian goal. The Serbian No20 placed it to the right of the wall, and a couple of ducking Serbians helped him flummox Diarra.

Alassane Diallo had the best effort of the half for Mali at its conclusion, hitting a dipping left-footed effort which had Predraj Rajkovic in the Serbian goal back-pedalling, but went over the bar. Milinkovic tried another free-kick just after the interval, this time over the wall, but Diarra was equal to the effort.

They then went close once more. The ball was worked out to the Serbian right, Zivkovic cut in on his left foot and curled the ball across the box, which evaded Ivan Saponjic. Gacinovic arrived at the back post but the No10 headed the ball onto the post and it was cleared.

Saponjic, who was wasteful with a header in the first half, was withdrawn for Stanisa Mandic, and it was the No9 who sealed the victory. A spell of possession saw Gacinovic approach the left side of the Malian penalty area. He found the onrushing Nemanja Antonov in the box who cut the ball across to Mandic to slot home.

Serbia's victory means it will be an intriguing and exciting final matchday in Group D, with Mali hoping to recover against Uruguay and Serbia looking to build on this victory against Mexico.