Soccer - Milosevic inspires YU fightback

Yugoslavia 3-3 Slovenia

Tuesday, 13 June, 2000

Three goals in six second-half minutes saw Yugoslavia pull off a remarkable fightback to force a draw with Euro 2000 underdogs Slovenia.

Former Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic was the the Yugoslav hero as he came off the bench to score twice in the amazing comeback

A point had seemed an impossible dream for Vujadin Boskov's Yugoslavian side after Slovenia stormed into a 3-0 lead in Charleroi.

Zlatko Zahovic was the Slovenian hero as goals in each half set up a remarkable win and catapulted him into the lead in the race for the golden boot.

The disappointing Yugoslavs looked jaded on the back of a pre-tournament tour to the far east and their miserable night was completed when sweeper Sinisa Mihajlovic was sent off for two bookings in the space of five minutes.

Slovenia, 150-1 rank outsiders at the start of the tournament, fully deserved their win and few should really have been shocked after their outstanding displays against Ukraine in the play-offs.

Zeljko Milinovic served early notice of Slovenia's intent when he drilled a free-kick inches wide of the far post from 25 yards after just four minutes.

But the dangerous Zahovic provided the breakthrough midway through the first half, escaping his marker and clinically heading home from Amir Karic's cross.

Yugoslavia clearly didn't learn their lesson as Zahovic was given a second glorious opportunity 12 minutes before half time.

Udovic put Zahovic clean through with a pin-point pass but goalkeeper Kralj came to Yugoslavia's rescue as he blocked with his legs.

With Yugoslavian in disarray, coach Vujadin Boskov was quick to change his tactics, bringing Stojkovic on for Stankovic in midfield with just 36 minutes on the clock

But it failed to stem the flow of Slovenian attacks and Zahovic turned provider for his side's second 12 minutes into the second half as his free kick was deftly flicked home by the head of Pavlin.

Mihajlovic then suffered a crazy five-minute spell which saw him pick up two yellow cards and gift Slovenia a third goal.

A foul on Udovic and the protests which followed earned him his first booking on 55 minutes and he was clearly still fuming two minutes later as a dreadful loose pass allowed Zahovic to run clear and clip in Slovenia's third.

Mihajlovic's misery was completed on the hour after an off-the-ball push on Udovic heralded another yellow card.

The dismissal of the Lazio defender appeared to have hammered the final nail into Yugoslavia's coffin but, remarkably, the 10 men fought back.

Substitute Milosevic, who had only been on the pitch 15 minutes, inspired the fightback with a tap in after Slovenia had failed to deal with a corner.

Three minutes later the Slovenian nerves started to jangle as Drulovic drilled home clinically from 12 yards after Mijatovic had teed him up.

And Milosevic completed the amazing fightback with his second on 70 minutes with another tap-in after a jinking run and a pin-point low cross from Drulovic on the right.

With 20 minutes still to play, the only remaining surprise of a remarkable game was that no more goals followed, though Slavisa Jokanovic flicked a header inches over the bar from Stojkovic's free kick.

Then, deep into stoppage time, Slovenia came agonisingly close to snatching back victory.

With goalkeeper Kralj in no-man's-land, Milinovic stole in to head goalwards, only for Dudic to hack the ball off the line and preserve a point for Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia: Kralj, Dudic, Djukic, Mihajlovic, Stankovic, Jokanovic, Drulovic, Jugovic, Nadj, Mijatovic, Kovasevic.

Slovenia: Dabanovic, Karic, Milinovic, Milanic, Galic, Novak, Ceh, Pavlin, Zahovic, Rudonja, Udovic.

Original article