By Phil Caplan, Date: 26/5/13
SERBIA 10 RUSSIA 24 â€“ Makis Stadium, Budapest, Saturday
Victory over Italy at the end of June will see Russia claim the European Shield after a win over Serbia in a feisty clash in Belgrade, in front of a partisan crowd.
Two-try prop Sergey Konstantinov was the star, the Russian powerhouse ending the game with a suspected broken arm.
â€œWe knew it would be tough,â€ he said. â€œSerbia gave everything, they are so hard to play against but we managed to get some go forward.â€
The hosts were in contention until Aleksandr Lysokonâ€™s second try six minutes from time but too often they lost their composure in promising positions.
That was evident in the 19th minute when Serbia full back MiloÅ¡ ZogoviÄ‡ made a 50 metre break only to find his pass intercepted by Alexey Mikhaylov.
ZogoviÄ‡ then fumbled a clearing kick and Konstantinov powered over for the opening score, Bears player/coach Eduard Ososkov converting.
Dmitriy Bratko lost possession in his own quarter, Dalibor VukanoviÄ‡ and Stefan NedeljkoviÄ‡ just held out on Serbiaâ€™s first meaningful foray; Vojislav DediÄ‡â€™s kick just running dead.
Stevan StevanoviÄ‡ made a 50 metre break down the left and although the hosts gained a repeat set from it and forced Bratko to concede a drop out, they could not turn their pressure into points.
A minute before the break, on the back of a forward pass from the base of a scrum by Ososkov, Serbia struck, NedeljkoviÄ‡ with a long pass sending in ZogoviÄ‡ out wide for an unconverted try.
Tactically more astute, Russia took control in the opening quarter hour of the second period.
Bratko was just forced into touch in the corner after a thrilling run from half way but, on the back of consecutive penalties, Konstantinov crashed over from the tap, Lysokon goaling.
Mikhaylov made ground, VukanoviÄ‡ with a despairing tackle, Lysokon then stepping his way to the line and converting to make it 18-4.
Serbia changed tactics with NedeljkoviÄ‡ running wider and becoming more of a threat and, on the back of it, StevanoviÄ‡ crossed in the 65th minute, ZogoviÄ‡ adding the extras.
With the home crowd becoming increasingly impassioned, Lysokonâ€™s superb dummy and go sealed the outcome, his third goal completing the scoring.
As time ran out and with their high hopes dashed, Serbian skipper VukanoviÄ‡ was sent off for dissent.
1 MiloÅ¡ ZogoviÄ‡ (Car Lazar)
2 Marko Ä†uk (Military Academy)
3 MiloÅ¡ Ä†aliÄ‡ (Red Star Belgrade)
4 Stevan StevanoviÄ‡ (Military Academy)
5 NebojÅ¡a Å½ivanoviÄ‡ (Red Star Belgrade)
6 Vojislav DediÄ‡ (Red Star Belgrade)
7 Dalibor VukanoviÄ‡ (DorÄ‡ol)
8 Mile Podkoljnjak (RadniÄki Nova Pazova)
9 Vojislav DediÄ‡ (Red Star Belgrade)
10 Vladica NikoliÄ‡ (Red Star Belgrade)
11 Marko MilenkoviÄ‡ (NiÅ¡)
12 Nemanja BoÅ¾iÄ‡ (RadniÄki Nova Pazova)
13 Stefan NedeljkoviÄ‡ (DorÄ‡ol)
Subs (all used)
14 Strahinja JevtiÄ‡ (Soko Vranje)
15 Velibor SreÄ‡koviÄ‡ (Military Academy)
16 Mirko BoÅ¾oviÄ‡ (DorÄ‡ol)
17 Filip StoÅ¡iÄ‡ (Soko Vranje)
Tries: ZogoviÄ‡ (39), StevanoviÄ‡ (65)
Goal: ZogoviÄ‡ 1/2
1 Maksim Suchkov (Vereya Bears)
2 Rustam Bulanov (Vereya Bears)
3 Alexey Mikhaylov (Storm)
4 Vadim Fedchuk (Storm)
5 Dmitriy Bratko (Storm)
6 Aleksandr Lysokon (Vereya Bears)
7 Eduard Ososkov (Vereya Bears)
8 Sergey Konstantinov (Vereya Bears)
9 Vladimir Vlasyuk (Vereya Bears)
10 Anatoly Grigorev (Vereya Bears)
11 Alexey Nikolaev (Vereya Bears)
12 Grigory Esin (St Petersburg)
13 Sergey Gaponov (Vereya Bears)
Subs (all used)
14 Igor Chuprin (Storm)
15 Sergey Beliavskiy (Storm)
16 Andrey Sevostianov (Vereya Bears)
17 Kirill Nechaev (Vereya Bears)
Tries: Konstantinov (21, 47), Lysokon (55, 74)
Goals: Ososkov 3/3, Lysokon 1/1
Men of the match:
SERBIA – Nemanja BoÅ¾iÄ‡
RUSSIA – Sergey Konstantinov
Half time: 4-6
Referee: Adam Gill (RFL, England)