Macedonia down 10-man Serbia with Ibraimi penalty

SKOPJE Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:41am IST

Macedonian goalkeeper Tome Pacovski celebrates a goal against Serbia during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Skopje October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

Macedonian goalkeeper Tome Pacovski celebrates a goal against Serbia during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Skopje October 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ognen Teofilovski

SKOPJE (Reuters) - Serbia's hopes of reaching their second successive World Cup as an independent nation took a serious blow after they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at southern neighbours Macedonia after a lacklustre performance on Tuesday.

The loss left the Serbians with four points from as many games, six behind Belgium and bitter regional rivals Croatia, whom they visit in a potentially explosive clash in March.

Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic surprisingly left captain Branislav Ivanovic on the bench and the decision backfired spectacularly as his replacement Nenad Tomovic was sent off in the 58th minute.

The right back hauled down Macedonia striker Ferhan Hasani and the live wire Agim Ibraimi, who supplied the defence-splitting pass that left Tomovic stranded, steered in the penalty to the delight of the vociferous home fans.

Hasani and Ibraimi gave the Serbian defence a roasting after a tepid first half in which neither side created a clear cut chance while both gave away possession in midfield time and again.

Dusan Tadic nearly snatched an equaliser when he shot wide after a good solo run and winger Zoran Tosic skied his shot from 12 metres over the bar with time running out.

"We knew it would be a tight game and we made it difficult for ourselves by falling behind," Mihajlovic told Serbia's Prva TV.

"The idea of leaving Ivanovic on the bench was to add steel to the back four and unfortunately Tomovic made a mistake which could happen to anyone so I can't blame him."

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by John Mehaffey)

Cricket Tragedy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty hits record high above 8,600; state-run lenders gain  Full Article 

Indian in Iraq

Indian in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Essar Group

Essar Group

Exclusive - Essar's planned oil-for-steel deal tests Iran sanctions  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Fiscal Deficit

Fiscal Deficit

April-October fiscal deficit nears 90 pct of full-year target  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Oil hits new four-year low post OPEC as glut looms  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage