Serbia got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start as Aleksandar Kolarov’s sublime free-kick secured a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica.

2018 World Cup

01

Match Events

2′ CHANCE! Urena’s shot saved

Ruiz releases Urena into the right inside channel and he takes a touch to get away from Kolarov. The forward goes for a strike from a tight angle, although his effort is blocked behind.

11′ WHAT A CHANCE! Gonzalez’s header over the bar

CHANCE! Costa Rica work the corner short and Guzman’s delightful chipped ball to the far post finds the unmarked Gonzalez, but he heads over the bar with just Stojkovic to beat.

27′ OFFSIDE! Milinkovic’s shot saved

CHANCE! Milinkovic-Savic is sent clean through on goal, but the midfielder’s low shot is easily saved and in fact, the flag had actually gone up.

44′ Milinkovic’s bicycle kick saved!

SAVE! Milivojevic works the ball towards Milinkovic-Savic in the box, and the midfielder goes for the strike with an overhead kick. Navas has to get down to make the save, although the flag is raised anyway.

56′ GOAL! Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia (A. Kolarov)

GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! KOLAROV SCORES A STUNNER!!!! 1-0 SERBIA!!!! Serbia take the lead as Kolarov bends his free-kick into the top corner. The full-back lifted his effort over the wall and it his strike had enough bend and dip to beat Navas and hit the top corner of the net. A super effort from the Serbia skipper.

87′ What a miss from Mitrovic!

Milinkovic-Savic weaves his way through the Costa Rica defence in the final third and slides a pass to Mitrovic. The forward has the opportunity to end the game, but he fails to get a shot away under pressure from Gonzalez. He goes down, but the referee dismisses his appeal.

MATCH REPORT

Aleksandar Kolarov’s sensational free-kick proved the difference as Serbia got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in Group E.

Serbia, under the tutelage of Mladen Krstajic for the first time in a competitive match, controlled much of Sunday’s clash at Samara Arena, but could not find a way through Costa Rica’s stubborn rearguard until Kolarov stepped just before the hour.

Excellent throughout, Keylor Navas could do little to keep out the defender’s blistering effort, which curled over the wall and into the top corner.

It was nothing less than Serbia deserved for a dominant display, although the best chance of the first half went to Costa Rica’s Giancarlo Gonzalez, who headed over from point-blank range.

Serbia had gone close to prior to Kolarov’s thunderbolt, Aleksandar Mitrovic – a constant thorn in Costa Rica’s side – fluffing his lines when one-on-one with Navas early in the second half.

Mitrovic wasted another chance to wrap up the points late on, but his profligacy did not prove costly as Serbia held on to seal the points.

Line-ups

Costa Rica XI: Bryan Ruiz, Keylor Navas, Óscar Duarte, Celso Borges, Marco Ureña, Cristian Gamboa, Giancarlo González, Johnny Acosta, David Guzmán, Johan Venegas, Francisco Calvo

Subs: Rándall Azofeifa, Bryan Oviedo, Patrick Pemberton, Rodney Wallace, Kendall Waston, Christian Bolaños, K. Gutiérrez, Joel Campbell, Yeltsin Tejeda, Leonel Moreira, Daniel Colindres, Ian Smith

Serbia XI: Vladimir Stojkovic, Dusko Tosic, Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nemanja Matic, Dusan Tadic, Adem Ljajic, Luka Milivojevic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Nikola Milenkovic

Subs: Antonio Rukavina, Aleksandar Prijovic, Milan Rodic, Marko Dmitrovic, Filip Kostic, Uros Spajic, Predrag Rajkovic, Andrija Zivkovic, Milos Veljkovic, Nemanja Radonjic, Marko Grujic, Luka Jovic.

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