Red Star salvage late draw in ‘Eternal Derby’
Red Star Belgrade
came from 2 goals down to pull off a draw with their fiercest rivals Partizan
. The winners of the domestic league over the last six years were not performing nowhere near their expected standard, and were stuck in mid-table, and many predicted that this would be the ideal time for Red Star to visit them. However, as in many derbies, it invigorated the Partizan team who gave the current league leaders a real test for their money.
The match, which many pundits expected to be a vital point in both teams seasons; either giving Partizan a massive boost in their poor campaign and help them rise up to challenge the top, or give Red Star the confidence and belief that they could break Partizan’s 6 year grip on the SuperLiga
. Red Star started the match poorly however, as their players looked tired after their midweek trip to France in the Europa League. This lacklustre opening was punished immediately, as, after 6 minutes, Petrovic
on the wing, who cut inside and hit a powerful shot to beat Bajkovic
at his near post, leaving them in shock. After the goal, the Red Star player seemed to switch on, and were looking more like the side that was 1st in the league and top of their Europa League group. They were unable to score however, and later in the half, after 37 minutes, a flick on by Obradovic
fell to Malbasic who fired in his second, amidst lots of complaints from Red Star players of offside. The half ended with Partizan leading 2-0, and looking in total control.
The second half, was much better for Red Star. The looked much more enthusiastic and clinical, and were only denied several times by the Partizan keeper. He had helpless however, when Ninkovic
hit a low cross into the box which was met by Onyilo
, who scored to give his side hope of getting something from this game. Despite pushing a lot, the second goal seemed to be eluding them. Even with the high amount of chances they were having, they were not shooting enough; instead losing possession in decent areas, giving Partizan’s defence time to regroup. The introduction of Filip Kasalica
changed all of that, as the goal-friendly striker’s first touch was a corner which found the head of centre back Martinovic
, who nodded the ball into the bottom corner, scoring his first goal for the club, and giving them the draw late on. The match ended 2-2, a result which Partizan, at the start of the game would have be happy would, but after the events of the match itself, will look back in disappointment that they were not able to gather all the points. For Red Star, it is a morale booster, as they remain at the top of the table.