World Cup qualifier: Mirko Vucinic strikes late to keep Montenegro on top
James Mariner is a journalist who has been boring The Independent sports desk with mindless statistics since June 2007. Helping with various, wide-ranging desk duties (I made the tea once), supervising workies and the endless researching of panels, James has an unnatural love of all things football, and in particular the Europa League, being a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. He cites Brian Sears and Ledley King among his heroes and can even find something interesting in Burnley v Hull City. On a good day.
Friday 22 March 2013
A late goal from Mirko Vucinic helped Montenegro maintain their two-point lead over England at the top of Group H last night, the Juventus striker scoring with 12 minutes remaining to earn a 1-0 victory in Moldova.
Montenegro were made to work hard for the points in Chisinau ahead of Tuesday’s home match with England. Stevan Jovetic went close to giving the visitors the lead, but the home side threatened through Alexandru Gatcan and Alexandru Dedov.
Milorad Pekovic was dismissed for Montenegro for a second bookable offence on the hour following a poor challenge on Sergei Gheorghiev, ruling the midfielder out of next week’s visit of Roy Hodgson’s side. Despite the inferiorty in numbers, Montenegro took the lead on 78 minutes, Vucinic capitalising after Marko Basa’s knockdown from a corner.
Moldova continued to trouble the leaders, but Montenegro hung on for a fourth consecutive clean sheet in the group and a third away victory in a row. Moldova were also reduced to 10 men, Alexandru Gatcan was dismissed in injury-time.
Elsewhere, previously winless Ukraine surprised Poland 3-1 in Warsaw to move into third place in the group. Mykhaylo Fomenko’s side scored twice in the opening seven minutes through Dynamo Kiev pair Andrei Yarmelenko and Oleg Gusev. Lukasz Piszczek gave the Poles hope on 18 minutes before Roman Zozulya (pictured above) restored Ukraine’s two-goal advantage on half-time.
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