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Zvezda finish 2016 on a high

Red Star said goodbye to competitive football in 2016 with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Radnik in Surdulica.
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Ground: FK Radnik
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Danilo Grujić
Goalscorers: Nikolić 10' - Anđelković (pen) 25', Zlatanović (og) 87'

Teams:

Radnik: Čančarević, Mladenović, Milovanović, Radović, Pejčić, Đorić, Mišan, Merdović, Milinković, Vuković, Nikolić.
Substitutes: Vasiljević, Stojković, Stanković, Fransis, Pavlović, Nenadović, Zlatanović.

Crvena zvezda: Supić, Petković, Phibel, Stojanović, Anđelković, Le Tallec, Poletanović, Kanga, Plavšić, Srnić, Orlandić.
Substitutes: Kahriman, Cvetković, Milošević, Račić, Luković, Sikimić, Ilić.
 

Miodrag Božović and his players knew they were in for a bumpy ride at Radnik’s frozen pitch on a cold afternoon, but they came prepared even though they knew controlling the ball wouldn’t be an easy task. Despite the difficult conditions, both teams served some eye-catching football in the first half.

The hosts took the lead 10 minutes in after Stefan Nikolić was presented with a one-on-one with Supić. A long ball from Radnik’s back line wasn’t dealt with well enough by Miloš Stojanović and his attempted headed back pass lacked pace. Nikolić raced onto the loose ball and beat Supić with a precise low finish.

Zvezda had an opportunity to fight back just after the restart, but Orlandić’s shot from five meters out was straight at Ognjen Čančarević, who managed to keep it out.

The Belgrade side continued the search for an equalizer and they found it 15 minutes after Radnik’s opener. Petković ran with the ball down right flank and crossed short for Plavšić from the byline. The little winger turned with the ball and was fouled in the box. The contact was only slight, but the referee made the penalty call and gave Dušan Anđelković a chance to level. The in-form defender continued his rich goalscoring spell and converted the penalty although the goalkeeper getting a slight touch on it.

Damien Le Tallec came very close to giving his team the lead on 34 minutes, but his curling shot from just outside the box flew on the wrong side of Čančarević’s right-hand goalpost.

Home team has had a decent penalty shout early in the second half, but the referee said no. Igor Mišan tried a nice half volley, but he couldn’t keep it down.

Zvezda had chances as well. Orlandić was presented with yet another good opportunity after a defender’s blunder, but Čančarević was alert and rushed out to deny the Montenegrin.

Plavšić has had a marvelous chance around the hour mark, but his chipped finish from a narrow angle bounced off the post and out.

Le Tallec tried a header after a good cross by Guélor Kanga, but it went over the bar.

Miodrag Božović sent Predrag Sikimić and young Stefan Ilić on in search of the winner. The team benefited greatly from the dynamic partnership of Kanga and Plavšić, who combined well to create a number of chances to their teammates.

Zvezda worked hard to score another goal, but it was eventually gifted to them by the home team just three minutes from time. Plavšić played a nice backheel into the path of Anđelković, whose cross was misjudged by Čančarević. Igor Zlatanović, who was backtracking on the far post was left stunned by the ball and his attempted clearance ended up in his own net! This mistake gave Zvezda what was probably a deserved victory ahead of the winter break.

Football will be back in February and Zvezda will restart the season from the top league spot.

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