Dusan Tadic (L) of Serbia in action against Francisco Calvo (R) of Costa Rica during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group E preliminary round soccer match between Costa Rica and Serbia in Samara, Russia, 17 June 2018.
Sunday Jun 17, 2018. 16:00
In a tightly contested affair, Serbia beat Costa Rica 1-0 in their opening Group E match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match at the Samara Arena on Sunday.
The game got off to a scintillating start with Marcos Urena breaking through on goal as early as the second minute, but the Costa Rican failed to beat the keeper from close range.
Serbia were on the attack five minutes later when Aleksander Kolarov drove forward down the left flank, before cutting inside and shooting but his 20-yard effort skimmed the wrong side of the post.
Costa Rica should really have found the back of the net in the 12th minute when a corner found Giancarlo Gonzalez unmarked at the back post, but he headed over from only a couple of yards out.
The next decent effort on goal only came in the 39th minute when Urena found himself on the edge of the box, but again his shooting lacked direction as he fired inches wide of the target.
Neither team could break the deadlock before the half time break.
Ten minutes into the second half Serbia finally managed to find the back of the net from a spectacular 24-yard free-kick when Kolarov curled the ball around the defensive wall and into goal.
After that the Serbians strangled the game as they slowed down the pace and played possession football.
Costa Rica simply weren’t able to provide enough of an attacking threat in the final third as they struggled to create goal scoring chances.
Nonetheless, the South Americans threw players forward in the dying minutes of the game but they weren’t able to salvage anything as the game ended 1-0 in favour of Serbia.
Costa Rica (0) 0
Serbia (0) 1 (Kolarov 57’)
Costa Rica: 1. Navas, 2. Acosta, 3. Gonzalez, 5. Borges, 6. Duarte, 10. Ruiz, 11. Venegas (7. Balanos 60’), 15. Calvo, 16. Camboa, 20. Guzman (9. Colindres 73’), 21. Urena (12. Campbell 66’).
Serbia: 1. Stojkovic, 3. Tosic, 4. Milivojevic, 6. Ivanovic, 9. Mitrovic (8. Prijovic 90’), 10 Tadic (2. Rukavina 82’), 11. Kolarov, 15. Milenkovic, 20. Milinkovic-Savic, 21. Matic, 22. Ljajic (17. Kostic 70’).