Serbia hosted Scotland at home on 5 April for the first-ever competitive fixture between the two, drawing 0-0 with the visitors. 

After being relegated to League B following a disappointing performance in the UEFA Nations League, Scotland kicked off their EURO 2025 qualification campaign against Serbia in Leskovac.

Being the top-ranked team in the group, the Scots will have started the campaign with high hopes of securing a playoff spot for a ticket to Switzerland.

But after a drab 0-0 draw, they might be in for more of a challenge than they thought.

First half

Serbia kicked off the game and made a progressive play towards goal within the first minute before Sophie Howard put in a defensive tackle.

A foul from Erin Cuthbert in the third minute awarded Serbia a freekick that was then grabbed by Sandy MacIver.

Unfortunately, however, the Scottish goalkeeper landed unevenly on her way down and appeared to have injured her knee.

Scotland was forced to make a goalkeeper substitution eight minutes into the game with Lee Gibson coming on as a replacement.

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Though the first half offered few chances, one shot from Cuthbert in the 24th minute was narrowly sent wide by Serbia’s keeper Milicia Kostić.

Scotland was given a fright in the 31st minute when Serbia turned over and sent a long ball up the field to find Jovana Damnjanović, Bayern striker and stand-out player for this Serbian side.

Ultimately, it was Tijana Filipović who took the shot and created a moment of danger for Scotland as Gibson caught then dropped the ball right onto the goal line.

Fortunately for the visitors, it bounced back into her hands and was not ruled to have been over the line despite complaints from the home team to the contrary.

Another big chance came for Serbia in the 39th minute but Howard was able to chase Damnjanović out of space before making a saving tackle.

Shortly before the halftime whistle, Claire Emslie fell over despite no contact and was given a yellow card for simulation due to her dive.

After a rough start full of fouls and a scrappy half plagued by messy turnovers, the whistle blew after five minutes of added time.

Both teams went into the break at a gridlock of 0-0, disjointed by their shared inability to connect on passes.

Second half

Two changes came at half time with Serbia taking off Mijatović for Jelena Čanković and Scotland subbing off Lauren Davidson for Jane Ross.

Ross almost made an instant impact at the start of the second half when she went directly for goal and got past the goalkeeper, however, the ball bounced off the crossbar instead.

In the 67th minute, each team made two more changes. Serbia replaced Kristina Krstić and Jelena Blagojević with Anastasija Ćirić and Sara Pavlović.

Claire Emslie and Lisa Evans went off for Fiona Brown’s 60th cap and Sarah Ewens’s debut.

Serbia then made the second goalkeeper substitution of the game a few minutes after, as Kostić also came off due to injury. Sara Cetinja came on in her place.

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With just over 15 minutes to go, a play originating from Brown nearly resulted in Cuthbert making it 0-1, but the ball narrowly went wide much to the disappointment of the visitors.

In the 77th minute, Jovana Petrović received the ball with too much room to deliver, unmarked by Scottish defenders, and a header in from Vesna Milivojević had to be saved by Gibson.

Scotland made their last substitution and put on Christie Harrison-Murray for Chelsea Cornet.

With just 10 minutes to go, Ćirić took a shot at a tight angle but thankfully for Scotland, it went just over the top of the bar.

Serbia made the final change of the game, taking off Filipović for Mina Čavić and after five minutes of added time, the match ended at a disappointing 0-0 draw for both teams.

Scotland now extend their run of winless competitive games to eight and will next face Slovakia on Tuesday 9 April.

Featured image courtesy of Steffen Prößdorf via Wikimedia Commons. No changes were made to this image. License details found here

By Jenny Chen

Jenny recently graduated with a double major in Political Science and in Women’s & Gender Studies. She is formerly a law exchange at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently teaching English in Spain while on her gap years before law school. Her hobbies include writing, traveling, and women’s football.