(Reuters) - Serbia caretaker coach Mladen Krstajic enjoyed a winning start in his first game in charge as goals by Adem Ljajic and Aleksandar Mitrovic gave them a 2-0 win over China in a lively friendly in Guangzhou on Friday.
Krstajic, who took over from Slavoljub Muslin who was sacked after Serbia qualified last month for next year’s World Cup, fielded a revamped formation which showed plenty of attacking guile but continued to look vulnerable at the back.
Talented forward Ljajic, one of Krstajic’s starters cold-shouldered by Muslin, fired the visitors ahead after 20 minutes with a sharp follow-up after Dusan Tadic had two close-range shots blocked by Chinese defenders.
Switching to a four-man defence from Muslin’s preferred 3-4-3 formation, Serbia still struggled at the back and were rescued by three superb saves from reserve goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic before Mitrovic added the second.
The Newcastle United striker had three efforts clawed out by keeper Yan Juling before he beat him with a firm downward header after an excellent cross by Andrija Zivkovic.
Serbia end their Asia tour with a friendly against fellow World Cup participants South Korea in Ulsan on Tuesday.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade,; Editing by Ed Osmond