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Mitrovic double keeps Serbia in Euro 2020 contention

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By Reuters
Mitrovic double keeps Serbia in Euro 2020 contention
Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group B - Serbia v Luxembourg - Rajko Mitic Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia - November 14, 2019 Serbia's Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Novak Djurovic   -   Copyright  STRINGER(Reuters)

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia kept alive their hopes of reaching next year’s European Championship after a first-half brace from Aleksandar Mitrovic helped them scramble a 3-2 home win over Luxembourg in a Group B qualifier on Thursday.

The result left Serbia third in the group on 13 points from seven games. They are one point behind holders Portugal who romped to a 6-0 home rout of Lithuania and six adrift of already qualified Ukraine.

In order to advance, the Serbians must beat Ukraine at home in their final game and hope Portugal fail to win in Luxembourg on Sunday. Should they fail, Serbia could still qualify via the Nations League playoffs in March.

Fulham striker Mitrovic headed Serbia into an 11th-minute lead and made it 2-0 with a spectacular shot into the top corner in the 43rd, with the home side missing several chances in a lively first half.

Nemanja Radonjic restored Serbia’s two-goal advantage with a piledriver from 20 metres after Gerson Rodrigues had pulled one back, but the home side endured a nervy finish as David Turpel headed Luxembourg’s second in the 75th minute.

Mitrovic missed a late chance to grab a hat-trick when he hit the post from close range.

(Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond)