Mitro's Fire Isn't Quite Burning YET

Last updated : 18 June 2018 By Footy Mad - Editor

After a stunning second half of the season on loan at Fulham, much was expected of Newcastle United Aleksandar Mitrovic coming into the World Cup.

Image result for aleksandar mitrovic serbiaBut while he led the line with purpose for Serbia against Costa Rica this afternoon (Sunday), it was not his day in front of goal as the 23-year-old missed two golden opportunities to open his account at the World Cup.

Instead, it was another Aleksandar - former Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov - who stole the spotlight with a stunning free kick from almost 25 yards to seal victory for the Serbians.

But Mitrovic, who has been heavily linked with Fulham and Palace in the build up to the World Cup, still showed glimpses in his performance of why he is a wanted man, even if he perhaps did not justify the £20m price tag given to him by Newcastle this week.

He was a real handful at times for Costa Rica, using his physical presence to unsettle the defenders and cause problems for his opponents.

Mitrovic was often the target for angled long balls forward from the Serbian defence, and his ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play helped his side get on the front foot.

He also won a good proportion of the balls in the air, and offered a threat.

But he missed his big chance early in the second half, failing to beat Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas when put through in on goal.

His finish lacked the conviction expected from a striker who has scored 12 goals in 18 starts in the Championship for Fulham in 2018, although he was under a bit of pressure.

Mitrovic had another chance later on in the second half when Milinkovic-Savic found him once again with a fine pass, but the striker fell to the ground under pressure after failing to take the opportunity early.

He was withdrawn soon after, with another Aleksandar - PAOK striker Aleksandar Pitrovic - replacing him in the closing stages as Serbia boss Mladen Krstajic opted for some fresher legs in the final few minutes.

It would be a surprise to see Mitrovic replaced for Serbia's next game against Switzerland in Kaliningrad on Friday, but he cut a frustrated figure as he left the field as he reflected on his missed opportunity.