Jose Mourinho was a surprise attendee as Serbia sealed a 2-0 win over neighbours Montenegro in Podgorica on Thursday night.
With Nemanja Matic not playing, there was no obvious link as to why Mourinho was there although he could have been checking up on Serbia trio Mijat Gacinovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and 20-year-old centre back Nikola Milenkovic, all of whom have been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho (left) talks with Predrag Mijatovic at the City Stadium in Podgorica, Montenegro
As for the match, Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic continued his fine form with a brace to give the visitor’s a 2-0 win and put them top of their UEFA Nations League group.
The result left Serbia on seven points from three games in the third-tier Group 4, two ahead of Romania, who won 2-1 at Lithuania. Montenegro have four points and Lithuania none.
The first meeting between Montenegro and Serbia as independent nations since they separated in 2006 was played amid tight security but in a friendly atmosphere with both sets of fans applauding each other’s national anthems.
Serbia dominated the game and should have won by a bigger margin but for some poor finishing by playmaker Dusan Tadic, who squandered two sitters after good work by winger Andrija Zivkovic and the tireless Mitrovic.
Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrovic was the hero of the night as he bagged both goals in a 2-0 win
Mitrovic converted a penalty for Serbia before doubling their advantage with nine minutes left
Those misses came after in-form Fulham striker Mitrovic sent goalkeeper Danijel Petkovic the wrong way with an 18th-minute spot kick, after Montenegro right back Filip Stojkovic fouled his Red Star Belgrade team mate Milan Rodic.
The Montenegrins upped the pace in the closing stages and their striker Fatos Beciraj forced a good save from Serbia keeper Marko Dmitrovic in the 72nd minute with a rasping low shot from 20 metres.
Montenegro’s Serbian coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic was sent off by Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi for dissent before Mitrovic sealed the contest with a close-range finish in the 81st minute.
Substitute Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who had also been linked with a possible future move to United from Lazio, allowed Zivkovic’s pass to run with a clever dummy, leaving Mitrovic with the simple task of beating Petkovic from three metres.
Serbia next visit Romania while Montenegro are at home to Lithuania on Sunday.
Serbia are now top of their UEFA Nations League group as they look to seal promotion
Elsewhere in the Nations League, Group B2 saw Russia and Sweden fight to a 0-0 draw in Kaliningrad. Russia remain in first place, with four points, two ahead of Turkey and three ahead of Sweden.
In Serbia and Montenegro’s group, Romania are second to Serbia, after winning 2-1 away to fourth-placed Lithuania in Vilnius.
Alexandru Chipciu gave the visitors a lead they held until the 89th minute when Arturas Zulpa equalised. Alexandru Maxim then scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time to seal what had become an unlikely victory.
Hosts Kosovo’s 3-1 victory over Malta means they sit first in Group D3, with seven points. Benjamin Kololli scored their first and third goals. Andrei Agius had equalised for fourth-placed Malta, before Vedat Muriqi restored Kosovo’s lead and Michael Mifsud was sent off following a second yellow card.
In the same group, Azerbaijan’s 3-0 victory away to Faroe Islands leaves them second and their hosts third. Richard Almeida de Oliveira scored twice, the second from the penalty spot, either side of a strike from Dimitrij Nazarov.