Serbia - Montenegro predictions and free betting tips [17/10/2023]
Today as part of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, the Serbian national team will face off against the Montenegro national team. The first encounter between these teams in March ended with a convincing 2:0 victory for Serbia. However, the visitors now have to seek revenge to earn a place amongst the top two.
Serbia: Milinkovic-Savic; Erakovic, Milenkovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Terzic, Gudelj, Milinkovic-Savic; Duricic, Tadic, Mitrovic.
Montenegro: Mijatovic; Tomasevic, Savic, Sipovic; Marusic, Vukcevic, Jankovic, Bakic, Loncar; Krstovic, Jovetic.
The match will be staged in Belgrade at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.
Serbia, having crashed out in the group stages of the last World Cup in Qatar, obviously intends to qualify for the continental championship and delight their fans with long-awaited success. Moreover, the Balkan national team has never participated in European championships since gaining independence, but this time they might exceed everyone's expectations. The Serbs lost 2:1 to the Hungarian national team last Saturday, leaving them in second place in the group table, two points ahead of their upcoming rivals. This was the second loss for the Balkan squad in the current qualifying tournament, after they also succumbed to the same score against the Hungarians in Belgrade over a month ago. Serbia's defensive play raises growing concerns: they have not been able to maintain a clean sheet in four consecutive games.
Key players Lazovic (Verona), Grujic (Porto), Ilic (Troyes) and striker Jovic (Milan) are all out due to injuries. In addition, defender Ristic and above all, Juventus striker Vlahovic (23 matches, 13 goals, including 3 in these qualifiers), had to leave the national team camp due to physical problems. On the other hand, experienced players such as Gudelj (Sevilla), Milenkovic (Fiorentina) and Pavlovic (RB Salzburg), along with winger Tadic (Fenerbahce, 21 goals), Kostic (Juventus), Milinkovic-Savic (Al-Hilal), Maximovic (Getafe) and Radonjic (Torino) will line up. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Al-Hilal, 55 goals), who left the Premier League for a move to Saudi Arabia in the summer, remains a key attacking threat for Serbia and will start on Tuesday.
Montenegro played a friendly match against Lebanon last week, clinching a modest 3:2 win, instead of a qualifying contest. Like their opponents today, Montenegrins have never participated in major European tournaments since gaining independence. In September, the Red and Golds overcame Bulgaria at home (2:1), but then lost valuable points against Lithuania (2:2). Miodrag Radulovic's charges approach this fixture with good spirits, as even a draw won't rule out their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024, having one game in hand over Serbia. Montenegro remains unbeaten away in this qualifying campaign, and will do everything in their power to maintain this record on Tuesday evening.
The Montenegro team has changed since the September assembly: midfielders Scekic, Hakšabanović (Stoke City), and Savićević are missing. Goalkeepers Dragojevic and Sarkic (Millwall) were also neglected by the coach. However, ex-Monaco striker Jovetic (Olympiacos, 32 goals in 71 games), vice-captain Savic (Atletico Madrid, 9 goals in 70 games), Marusic (Lazio, 57 games), and key Bucharest defender Radunovic (32 games) remain in the roster. This applies to Lecce's striker Krstovic, who scored his first two goals for the national team in these qualifiers, and midfielder Kucha, who scored twice in last week's friendly against Lebanon. The visitors must make do without Igor Vujacic, who was sent off for two offences against Bulgaria last month, so his place in the heart of the defence will be taken by Zarko Tomasevic.
In the first round in March, the Serbs achieved an away victory in Podgorica with a score of 0:2. The Tricolours won all three previous head-to-head encounters.
Match prediction: Serbia – Montenegro
The defeat to Hungary means that Serbia can no longer afford to lose points if they want to be at Euro 2024 next summer. Montenegro has been defending compactly throughout the current qualifiers and still has a chance to finish in the top two. The Red and Golds, however, couldn't put up any resistance to the superior Eagles even on their home turf. My prediction is a home victory with a handicap of -1.
Considering Serbia's luxury attacking line, having just 10 goals in 6 rounds seems modest. I believe that with the support of their home fans, the Tricolours will be inspired to score at least 2 goals.