BELGRADE - Partizan Belgrade beat city rivals Red Star 1-0 on Saturday in a derby that passed off peacefully despite fears of fan violence following two serious incidents this month.
Almami Moreira scored the winner that sent Partizan top of the Serbian first division. The match was played amid tight security, with approximately 5,000 riot police deployed in and around Red Star's stadium.
On October 12, rioting Serbia fans had forced the national team's Euro 2012 qualifier against Italy in Genoa to be abandoned. Two days earlier, angry protesters - including football hooligans - clashed with police during a gay parade in Belgrade.
Portugal midfielder Moreira settled the derby when he capitalised on a defensive blunder in the sixth minute, as Partizan stretched their unbeaten run against Red Star to eight matches.
Brazilian striker Cleo intercepted a poor backpass by Red Star captain Slavoljub Djordjevic and set up Moreira to sidefoot the ball into the empty net from 10 metres.
Cleo's compatriot Cadu missed Red Star's best chance six minutes later, when he hit a post after a swift break. Partizan's second-half substitute Pierre Boya came close to extending their lead, but his fierce shot cannoned off the crossbar.
Red Star finished the match with three strikers on the pitch but Partizan's congested midfield stifled the hosts and enabled visiting goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic, a former Red Star player, to enjoy a straightforward return.
Partizan lead the 16-team league on goal difference with 22 points from eight matches, ahead of Red Star, who suffered their first league defeat of the season.
"It wasn't our best performance, and we were a bit defensive, but our plan was to play a low-tempo game because we have a lot of players exhausted from our Champions League exertions," Partizan coach Aleksandar Stanojevic told a news conference.
"We knew Red Star would come forward with a lot of players and we had to defend in numbers."comments