- Wednesday September 29th, 2021 @ 22:00
UEFA Youth League Report
Red Star Belgrade recorded a victory in the first leg of the UEFA Youth Cup tie against a brave St Patrick's Athletic performance at Richmond Park on Wednesday evening.
Two first half goals from their talisman Marko Lazetic gave them the advantage but a late Ross Fay goal has left everything to play for in the second leg next week.
Red Star will carry the advantage back home, but Fay's goal has given The Saints hope and they will be confident of a result in Belgrade.
Red Star Belgrade started at a frantic pace and they looked dangerous from the off. Three minutes in, they opened the scoring.
A clearance was hit back in and found Marko Lazetic free on the left. After some impressive trickery inside the St Pat's penalty area, he made room among a crowd of defenders and rifled into the top corner to give the visitors an early lead.
They almost doubled their lead three minutes later when Aleksandar Kahvic found himself free inside the penalty area, but his shot was excellently saved by Josh Keeley. Keeley was also on hand to save the rebound twice before eventually clearing his lines.
It was an entertaining opening 10 minutes and The Saints gradually settled into the game. Fay went close to equalising 10 minutes in, but his shot was straight at goalkeeper Stefan Marinkovic who got down to save comfortably.
Josh Keeley was in fine form in the first half and he made another point blank save on the 26th minute mark. Some good play involving Mirko Nikolasevic and Lazetic again eventually fell to the feet of Mirko Nikolasevic at the back post. He had the goal at his mercy, but Keeley somehow managed to save the powerful shot.
It was a fiery encounter with two main flash points in the first half as tempers flared on both sides with referee issuing a number of first half yellow cards.
Despite enjoying the majority of possession and certainly looking the most dangerous in the closing stages of the first half, it was the away side who doubled their lead just before the half time break.
It was some good play once again from Kahvic out on the left and he squared it to Mihaljo Milosavic. Milosavic neatly laid it to the goalscorer Lazetic and he made no mistake in burying the ball to the net for his second of the night before the break.
St Pat's started the brighter of the two sides in the second half and four minutes in, they almost pulled one back. Darius Lipsiuc did well down the right to pull a pass back to Darragh Dunne with the latter's shot sailing inches wide of the target. Moments later, Ben McCormack's long range effort did have Marinkovic at full stretch, but it flew over the crossbar as The Saints desperately looked for a way back into the game.
10 minutes later, they went close again when Tommy Lonergan found Luke O'Brien free in front of goal but O'Brien's shot was expertly saved by Marinkovic again.
It seemed like there was no getting by the Serbian goalkeeper and when Tommy Lonergan made a dazzling run and eventually made room for a shot, it was again saved the by the Serbian shot stopper. The ball bounced around before falling to Lonergan again but the St Pat's striker was unable to direct his header goal bound.
Stefan Malentijevic saw red late on for his second yellow card, and Ben McCormack's resulting free kick was millimetres away from creeping in.
The Saints were eventually rewarded in the 93rd minute after a lengthy spell of possession. Ben McCormack's in-swinging cross was touched on by the head of Ross Fay who directed it into the goal to hand St Pat's a deserved goal.
St Pat's pushed for an equaliser late on, but were unable to grab a second goal as Red Star Belgrade held on to give them the slight advantage ahead of the second leg next week.
St Patrick's Athletic: Josh Keeley; Darragh Dunne, Reece Webb, Sam Curtis; Luke O'Brien; Ben Curtis, Ross Fay, Kian Corbally; Darius Lipsiuc (Ugochukwu Anny-Nzekwua, 78), Tommy Lonergan (Ian Byrne, 90),, Jack O'Reilly (McCormack, H/T).
Subs not used: Sean Molloy; Darragh Reilly, Belguy Simbi Manzambi, Roy Byrne.
FK Crvena Zvezda: Stefan Marinkovic; Ognjen Mimovic, Stefan Lekovic, Stefan Malentijevic, Viktor Radojevic; Marko Curic, Luka Lecic, Mihajlo Milosavic (Marko Stojanovic, 59); Mirko Nikolasevic (Stefan Pirgic, 71), Marko Lazetic, Aleksandar Kahvic (Nikola Pantic, 88).
Subs not used: Nikola Borjan, Bratislav Maric, Nikola Pantic, Stefan Pirgic, Uros Brankovic, Lazar Duric.
Referee: Ivar Orri Kristjansson (ISL)
Report by Eoin Rosney, photo credit Darragh Connolly