Serbia 0 Chile 1: World Cup qualifiers beaten in Graz

Serbia’s World Cup preparations suffered a blow on Monday as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat against an understrength Chile side.

Mladen Krstajic’s team failed to fire in their penultimate outing before the tournament in Russia and were beaten by Guillermo Maripan’s 88th-minute goal in Graz.

The defender headed home Martin Rodriguez’s cross from the left wing to spare the blushes of team-mate Angelo Henriquez, who had somehow failed to hit the target with the goal at his mercy earlier in the second half.

In a first half too often interrupted by the referee’s whistle, Nemanja Radonjic tested Chile goalkeeper Gabriel Arias from distance while Aleksandar Kolarov – a constant outlet with his raids down the left flank –flashed a low shot across the face of goal from a tight angle.

Krstajic sent on Nemanja Matic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic for the second half, though the introduction of the two influential midfielders failed to inspire Serbia.

Instead it was Chile who presented the greater attacking threat after the break, with Diego Valdes seeing a sweetly struck left-footed volley spectacularly tipped over by goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.

Stojkovic was grateful for Henriquez’s failure to convert Junior Fernandes’ cross from close range but Maripan popped up with a deserved winner for the South American nation in the closing stages.

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