Belfast Telegraph

Serbia v Northern Ireland: Juventus’ wide boy set to pull the strings

By Vladimir Novak

Serbia’s biggest attacking threat has vowed to wing it tonight against Northern Ireland.

Juventus wideman Milos Krasic is the man tasked with providing the ammunition for the home side’s frontmen and he expects to be kept busy in Belgrade.

“I played against Northern Ireland (in Serbia’s 1-0 win at Windsor Park in a friendly in late 2009) and I know that the recipe is a passing game and keeping the ball on the ground,” he said.

“We also expect to play over the wings, which could get the opponent’s defence in trouble. We do have quality, we are better and we have to put all this on the pitch.”

However, Uefa’s ban on home fans attending the Group C clash after Serbia’s game in Italy was abandoned after visiting supporters ran amok has given the blonde-haired Krasis something else to think about.

“It will be very very difficult, especially as we won’t have support from the stands,” he admitted.

“I played twice in an empty Marakana (nickname of Red Star stadium), against Basle (with Red Star in UEFA Cup 2005) and against Azerbaijan (Euro 2008 qualifier) and it was a ghostly atmosphere.

“But we have no choice. We have to be above that situation and do everything in order to win, and then go into the next games with our supporters.

“We know how they play, but we are playing in our stadium, where we make the calls.”

And striker Marko Pantelic believes his side can deal with the lack of home fans and put their campaign back on track.

“I won’t go into any match thinking we are underdogs, even now when we play without the help of our supporters,” he said.

“At home the aim is to win every match and in that sense there is no change for this match against Northern Ireland.

“We will not lose hope of achieving our goals.”

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