AUCKLAND: Serbia left it late to win their first FIFA U-20 World Cup title with Nemanja Maksimovic scoring three minutes from the end of extra time in Auckland to secure a 2-1 win over Brazil.
Maksimovic, who plays his club football with FC Astana in Kazakhstan, had an outstanding match. Earlier the former Red Star Belgrade youth product had provided the assist for Stanisa Mandic to open the scoring before Brazil snatched a superb late equaliser through substitute Andreas Pereira.
After a cautious start Brazil created the opening opportunity. Milos Veljkovic only half-cleared a freekick and a volley from Jean Carlos forced a diving save from keeper Predrag Rajkovic.
At the other end a corner from Andrija Zivkovic was headed back across goal but Sergej Milinkovic’s free header was well saved by Jean.
Brazil raised the tempo after the interval but skipper Danilo shot wildly over the bar and Serbia took the lead when Maksimovic burst through on the right and saw his delicate cross swept home by Mandic, the Montenegro-born forward from Cukricki.
The Brazilians hit back three minutes later. Pereira, on the pitch barely 10 minutes, levelled after a solo slalom through the Serb defence.
Hence, as the rain streamed down, the final went to extra time for the fourth time in a row.
Brazil substitute Malcom and Jean Carlos both wasted glorious openings before Serbia found new energy in the second half of extra time.
With three minutes remaining Maksimovic raced away to collect Zivkovic’s through ball and shoot the winning goal.
** Mali beat Senegal 3-1 in the third place play-off.