Mitrovic sets record as Serbia earn 2-2 draw with Portugal


BELGRADE – Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic became his country’s all-time scorer on 39 goals from 63 international appearances after he netted in a 2-2 home draw with Portugal in a thrilling 2022 World Cup Group A qualifier on Saturday (March 27).

The Serbians fought back from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils as Fulham striker Mitrovic pulled one back in the 46th minute and Filip Kostic levelled after a Diogo Jota double had given Portugal a 2-0 lead in the first half.

Liverpool forward Jota fired the European champions ahead with an 11th-minute header from a superb Bernardo Silva assist and added another in the 36th as he glanced a Cedric Soares cross from the right.

But Serbia roared back at their Rajko Mitic stadium and halftime substitute Nemanja Radonjic, who engineered both their goals, gave his markers a roasting after the break and also drew a fine save from Portugal goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Serbia defender Nikola Milenkovic was sent off in stoppage time, having been shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on an opponent and Cristiano Ronaldo had a seemingly good goal denied seconds later.

Ronaldo beat Serbia keeper Marko Dmitrovic to a long ball and side-footed it towards goal only for Stefan Mitrovic to clear it but television replays suggested it had crossed the line.

The result left both sides on four points from two games as Serbia edged Ireland 3-2 at home in their opening game on Wednesday while Portugal eked out a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan.

The outcome also made for a bittersweet milestone for Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who reached a rare milestone of 1,000 games as head coach at club and international level combined in his 33-year long career in the dugout.

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