MUNICH, Germany -- Serbia-Montenegro ended its World Cup run in Group C on Wednesday (21 June) with a narrow defeat to the Ivory Coast after leading most of the match. In a lively first half, Serbia-Montenegro scored the goals, but the African team controlled the ball. Ivory Coast's possession reached 70 per cent at one point.
Serbia-Montenegro opened the score in the 10th minute when Nikola Zigic picked a pass from Dejan Stankovic and then sailed it past a defender and Ivorian goalie Boubacar Barry to score. Serbia-Montenegro's second goal came in the 20th minute when Cyrille Domoraud made an awful mistake in his own penalty area, allowing Zigic to get the ball. He then passed it back for Sasa Ilic who doubled his team's lead.
It was not easy sailing for the Balkan side, however, as Ivory Coast continued to organise dangerous attacks until the 35th minute when Milan Dudic handled the ball in the area and Mexican Referee Marco Rodriguez ruled a penalty kick plus a yellow card for the offender. Aruna Dindane took the shot and sent the ball low to the left of Serbia-Montenegro goalie Dragoslav Jevric and into the net. Rodriguez called a repeat because of Serb encroachment. Dindane again kicked the ball in exactly the same way as he had done a minute earlier and made the score 2-1.
For Serbia-Montenegro disaster struck in the first minute of stoppage time when Albert Nadj made a reckless dive in the feet of Kader Keita to get his second booking for the match and a red card. He had entered as a substitute for an injured Mladen Krstajic just 30 minutes earlier.
Serbia-Montenegro faced a difficult second half with just ten men on the pitch. The Ivorians controlled the ball once again and came close to scoring in the 62nd minute when Blaise Kouassi fired a shot from more than 30m, but hit the crossbar. The inevitable happened in the 67th minute when Kader Keita's cross was headed by Dindane into the corner of the net. Even as the Africans pressed for victory Serbia-Montenegro had one more perfect opportunity to get ahead -- a free kick by Predrag Djordjevic in the 77th minute found Dejan Stankovic unmarked, but his header went wide. In the 86th minute, Dudic once again handled the ball and Rodriguez awarded a second penalty for the Ivorians which Bonaventure Kalou converted into his team's winning goal. (By Ivan Tchomakov for Southeast European Times)
Ivory Coast: Boubacar Barry, Emmanuel Eboue, Cyrille Domoraud (cap), Blaise Kouassi, Arthur Boka, Didier Zokora, Kader Keita (Bonaventure Kalou 73), Yaya Toure, Kanga Akale (Bakary Kone 60), Aruna Dindane, Arouna Kone
Serbia-Montenegro: Dragoslav Jevric, Nenad Djordjevic, Goran Gavrancic, Mladen Krstajic (Albert Nadj 16), Milan Dudic, Igor Duljaj, Dejan Stankovic (cap), Ivan Ergic, Sasa Ilic, Predrag Djordjevic - Nikola Zigic (Savo Milosevic 67)
Referee: Marco Rodriguez (Mexico)