Fans flock in as Partizan sink Red Star to reach Serbian Cup final
As European soccer prepares to crown national champions in empty stadiums, there is more for fans to celebrate in Serbia.
Let's take a look:
Holders Partizan Belgrade
Holders Partizan Belgrade beat bitter city rivals Red Star 1-0 on Wednesday to reach the Serbian Cup final as fans were allowed to attend games in unrestricted numbers for the first time since the coronavirus halted soccer in the Balkan nation in mid-March.
A near-capacity 25,000 crowd turned out for a tense Belgrade derby in a familiar atmosphere at Partizan's stadium as both sets of fans lit flares and taunted each other, with Bibras Natcho settling the match in the 58th minute.
Natcho's close-range shot trickled through Red Star keeper Milan Borjan's arms into the net after dazzling footwork from striker Umar Sadiq, who left his marker flat-footed and squared the ball to the Israeli midfielder.
Red Star, who won the league title with three games to spare on May 29, the 29th anniversary of their historic 1991 European Cup triumph, looked a pale shadow of the team that marched through Serbia's 16-team top tier.
Vojvodina Novi Sad
Vojvodina Novi Sad won 1-0 at Cukaricki Belgrade earlier in the day to reach the final on June 24 when they will face Partizan. Vojvodina, who won the Cup in 2014, advanced after Nemanja Covic turned in a Nikola Drincic cross in the 31st minute.
Serbia’s early league finish on June 20, just three days after England restarts, was possible by cutting the post-season championship and relegation groups.
The nation of around 7 million people reported 250 official deaths due to COVID-19 to Wednesday, according to the count by Johns Hopkins University.