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Internationals: Kolarov in the thick of it for Serbia

Aleksandar Kolarov was goal-provider, forced-off injured and then sent-off in a heated second half as Serbia suffered defeat at the hands of Portugal in Belgrade.

With Portugal already guaranteed a place at next summer’s UEFA EURO 2016 tournament in France and Serbia’s hopes of qualification long-ended, on paper it was a chance for the hosts to claim a major scalp as Fernando Santos rested many of his key players including Cristiano Ronaldo.

Dead-rubber this was anything but with Kolarov and Southampton’s Dušan Tadić proving useful on the Serbian left as the hosts dominated the opening half, yet somehow found themselves trailing at the break to Nani’s sixth minute goal. 

Kolarov’s marauding runs and dangerous whipped-in byline crosses - a key component of his Barclays Premier League season so far - were proving a menace for the Group I leaders however Portugal ‘keeper Patricio was in excellent form to deny Tadić from close range to maintain his side’s advantage at the break.

Serbia finally managed an equaliser with Kolarov’s superb cut-back inch-perfect for Zoran Tosic to fire home from 12 yards.

...@nieldymcfc

 

It then got a bit lively…

Firstly, Kolarov was replaced by Obradovic in what seemed to be a change enforced by injury before Joao Moutinho whipped in a fine 20-yarder to restore Portugal’s lead with Serbia players livid that play wasn't halted for a previous foul.

The City man from his position on the touchline led the protests and received a red card for his part in the dissent.

The full-back could join Sergio Aguero and David Silva on the casualty list after a bruising few days for City players on international duty.

Serbia were soon reduced to nine men as Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic was also sent off for a flailing arm in an aerial challenge with Andre Andre.

Elsewhere, Eliaquim Mangala played the full 90 minutes (and ended the game unscaved) for France as the Euro 2016 hosts beat Denmark 2-1 in a friendly.

A late Sviatchenko strike for the hosts wasn't enough as Les Bleus hung on following two early Olivier Giroud goals in København.

Bacary Sagna was an unused sub for Didier Deschamps' side.

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