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Euro 2024 – Slovenia 1-1 Serbia: Luka Jovic scores dramatic equaliser to rescue Group C point for Serbia

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Report from Euro 2024 as Serbia scored deep into injury time to earn a 1-1 draw with Slovenia; Zan Karnicnik’s goal looked to have earned Slovenia their first-ever win at the Euros, only for Luka Jovic to score in the 96th minute; England will finish top of Group C if they beat Denmark

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Luka Jovic scored a dramatic equaliser to earn Serbia a vital point as they held Slovenia to a 1-1 draw – denying their opponents their first-ever win at the European Championships.

Zan Karnicnik’s second-half goal looked to be enough for Slovenia to secure a famous victory but, in the 96th minute, substitute Jovic flicked a header into the bottom corner from Ivan Ilic’s cross to spark wild celebrations among the Serbia supporters.

Slovenia were the sharper side for much of the contest and almost led when Timi Elsnik struck the post, while Benjamin Sesko lifted the rebound over the bar.

Serbia belatedly came to life but found Jan Oblak in fine form, with Aleksandar Mitrovic twice denied by the goalkeeper before striking the bar from close range, while Jaka Bijol almost shanked a cross into his own net.

Slovenia then struck when Karnicnik stole in at the back post and they were within seconds of history, only for Jovic to score – a goal that means England will finish top of Group C if they beat Denmark on Thursday evening.

Slovenia wait for win – but England must take them seriously

Slovenia may have been the least favoured of the four Group C sides ahead of Euro 2024 but they have shown across their two matches in Germany that they are a side to be respected.

After taking a point from Denmark in their opening game, Matjaz Kek’s side impressed for large portions of their meeting with Serbia – a team England struggled to break down in their previous fixture.

Zan Karnicnik celebrates after giving Slovenia the lead against Serbia
Image:Zan Karnicnik celebrates after giving Slovenia the lead against Serbia

Slovenia will be desperately disappointed to have seen Jovic strike in the 96th minute and end their hopes of a first win in European Championship history, but they have now lost just two of their previous 23 matches in all competitions.

Slovenia may lack star names throughout their squad but they do possess one of the world’s best goalkeepers in Jan Oblak, as well as Benjamin Sesko, one of the most exciting strikers in European football.

The pair provide quality in key areas – and mean England will have to take Slovenia seriously when they meet in Cologne on Tuesday.

Serbia need more from star strikers

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic is a strike partnership that should be able to rival any that Serbia’s Euro 2024 rivals can produce. Vlahovic scored 18 goals as Juventus won the Coppa Italia last season, while Mitrovic – prolific over several season for Fulham – struck 40 times for Al Hilal as they won the Saudi Arabian title.

They have 63 goals between them for Serbia – yet neither has impressed in Germany. Mitrovic had six shots and an expected goals total of 0.92 against Slovenia yet, through a combination of Jan Oblak’s saves and his own profligacy, failed to find the net.

Aleksandar Mitrovic reacts after missing a chance to score against Serbia
Image:Aleksandar Mitrovic reacts after missing a chance to score against Slovenia

At least Mitrovic posed a threat. Vlahovic has been disappointing in both of Serbia’s fixtures, recording an expected goals total of just 0.21 across both games. The 24-year-old has been linked with moves to the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea in the recent past but looks way off the pace in Germany.

Luka Jovic’s late goal against Slovenia means they still have realistic hopes of reaching the last 16 – but Serbia have been one of the disappointments during the first week of the tournament.

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