Football: Dead-ball special from Aleksandar Kolarov helps Serbia edge out Costa Rica 1-0

Serbia defender Aleksandar Kolarov celebrating after scoring against Costa Rica during their World Cup match on June 17, 2018.
Serbia defender Aleksandar Kolarov celebrating after scoring against Costa Rica during their World Cup match on June 17, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (THE GUARDIAN) - A brilliant free kick by Aleksandar Kolarov sealed victory for Serbia in their opening game of the World Cup Finals against Costa Rica in Group E on Sunday (June 17).

The captain curled a free kick over the wall and a diving Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas could not reach it before it sailed into the upper right corner in the 56th minute.

The free kick came after a yellow card on Costa Rica's David Guzman.

From kick-off, the opening half was a back-and-forth affair. Aleksandar Mitrovic's header was off in the opening minute and moments later, Marco Urena's angled shot for Costa Rica was saved in the left corner by Vladimir Stojkovic.

Following a corner, David Guzman popped the ball to Giancarlo Gonzalez but his header sailed over the net in the 12th minute.

Branislav Ivanovic's cross was knocked out of the box by Navas three minutes later. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic challenged Navas in the 27th minute from just outside the box, but Navas smothered the ball, while Urena's right-footed strike from outside the box in the 39th minute went over the bar.

A short time later Calvo's chance was wide, and Stojkovic gestured for his side to calm down.

 

Three minutes later, Milinkovic-Savic's bicycle kick from in front of goal was ruled offside. Kolarov delivered the winner for Serbia in the 56th minute and Costa Rica could not find an equaliser.