Young Hammer Belic experiences mixed Serbia U19 debut

Kristijan Belic


Kristijan Belic was sent off on his Serbia U19 debut in a 2-2 UEFA European U19 Championship Elite Round qualification Group 7 draw with Ukraine on Wednesday.

The West Ham United central midfielder was introduced as a half-time substitute with his country trailing 2-1 at the Stadio Comunale in the Italian town of Caldiero.

Captain Heorhii Tsitaishvili of Dynamo Kyiv put Ukraine in front on 23 minutes before Shakhtar Donetsk’s Danylo Sikan doubled the advantage nine minutes later.

However, Serbia were not to be denied as their own captain, Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic, pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time before equalising from the penalty spot with 13 minutes remaining.

In between Vlahovic’s two goals, however, the combative Belic was booked for a foul on Shakhtar Donetsk's Artem Bondarenko before being shown a second yellow card for a challenge on goalscorer Tsitaishvili.

The young Hammer, who turns 18 next Monday, will now miss Serbia’s second group match with Belgium on Saturday through suspension. He could return to action in the third and final tie against the mini-group hosts Italy in Padua next Tuesday 26 March.

Italy and Belgium drew 2-2 in their opening Group 7 match to leave Serbia top of the table after one round of matches.