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U21 European Championship qualifiers: NI come from behind to beat Serbia

Northern Ireland Under-21s secured an impressive 2-1 victory in Serbia in their European Championship qualifier.

Serbia took a 1-0 lead thanks to Stefan Mitrovic's 39th minute effort but Northern Ireland struck back 11 minutes after the restart through midfielder Charlie Allen.

Centre-back Craig Farquhar's header with 20 minutes to go proved to be the match-winning goal.

With the win, Tommy Wright's side moved fourth in Group F.

In a first-half of few chances, Serbia's Vanja Vlahovic was the first from either side to draw a save from the opposing goalkeeper, his effort from the edge of the box parried wide by Pierce Charles after the visitors had been caught in possession when attempting to play out from the back.

Six minutes before the break, Serbia skipper Mitrovic opened the scoring for the hosts.

Played through by Vanja Vlahovic, Farquhar and Patrick Kelly both converged on the Crvena Zvezda attacker with the ball squirming out of the tackle and over Charles.

Northern Ireland came close to an equaliser in first-half stoppage time with Farquhar's headed effort from a set-piece angled just beyond the post.

But they would start the second-half well and were rewarded for their efforts when Allen found the net in the 56th minute, the midfielder providing a confident finish on the end of Cliftonville's Sean Stewart's probing through ball.

With the second-half proving a more open affair than the first, Carl Johnston saw his goal-bound effort deflected wide but Northern Ireland would take the lead from the resulting corner.

From Justin Devenny's delivery, Farquhar looped his header towards the goal with the keeper's touch taking the ball only onto the crossbar and into the net.

As Serbia piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser during the final 20 minutes, Northern Ireland held firm with Charles largely untroubled in the closing stages.