European Football - Red Star further trim Partizan's lead in Serbia

Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade's lead was cut to four points after they lost 2-1 at home to Vojvodina Novi Sad on Sunday and 1991 European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade won 1-0 at bottom club Smederevo.

Reuters
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Abiola Dauda of Red Star Belgrade (IMAGO)

Partizan, chasing a record sixth successive league title, have 51 points from 22 matches. Red Star have 47 while Vojvodina stayed third with 44, five more than fourth-placed Jagodina.

Red Star were made to work hard against 10-man Smederevo in the lunchtime kickoff and hauled themselves back into the title race when Nigerian striker Abiola Dauda nodded an 89th-minute winner after the hosts had Dragan Radosavljevic sent off for a two-footed tackle.

Dauda missed several chances and hit the woodwork before meeting a Nenad Milijas cross at the far post to bundle in his third goal in two games for Red Star, having joined them during the mid-season break.

"Smederevo made it difficult for us on a barely playable pitch because they closed their ranks after the red card and their goalkeeper enjoyed what was probably the best game of his life," Red Star's Portuguese coach Ricardo Sa Pinto told Arenasport television.

"We always had to make two or three touches more than we would have liked but three points is all that matters and I hope we can keep up the momentum," added the former Sporting Lisbon forward who celebrated his third straight win since taking over.

Partizan, who were 11 points ahead of their bitter cross-town foes only a week ago, were unable to end a sudden slump in which they have collected two points from three games.

Cameroonian striker Aboubakar Oumaru fired Vojvodina ahead when he capped a dazzling solo run with a dinked finish and midfielder Enver Alivodic doubled their lead with a rasping shot from 25 metres which left keeper Vladimir Stojkovic rooted to his line.

Teenager Milos Jojic pulled one back in the closing stages as Partizan piled on the pressure but his opportunist strike came too late to rescue the leaders who were jeered off the pitch by their 14,000 fans.

"We are in a crisis and although we were unlucky not to have scored earlier, Vojvodina deserved their win because they took their chances," Partizan coach Vladimir Vermezovic said.

Counterpart Nebojsa Vignjevic said: "It was a tough tactical battle and we came out on top because it's easier to play against adventurous teams like Partizan than those who park the bus when they face us."

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