CONSTANTA, Romania - Serbia remained top of the World Cup Group Seven qualifying table by beating Romania 3-2 on Saturday in a match marred by crowd trouble. Romania suffered their first defeat in the Black Sea resort of Constanta after strikes from Milan Jovanovic and Branislav Ivanovic and an own goal from Dorel Stoica, who also scored at the other end. Serbia have 12 points from five matches while Romania have four points from as many games. Jovanovic swept in a rebound in the 18th minute after Milos Krasic had hit the post. Stoica then put through his own net following a 44th-minute corner before Ciprian Marica pulled a goal back for Romania with a delightful lob five minutes into the second period. Ivanovic restored Serbia's two-goal lead with an acrobatic close-range volley. Stoica replied for the home team by turning in an Adrian Mutu free kick in the 74th minute. RIOT POLICE Television images showed Serbian fans lighting flares and clashing with riot police after Jovanovic's goal. "We arrested seven supporters while the game was in progress," a policeman told Romanian television. Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic was delighted with the win and praised his defence which was well marshalled by man of the match Nemanja Vidic. "We scored all three goals at the right time and the back four did a superb job after Romania, who are a very good team, launched a spirited fightback," he told Serbian television. "If we win our next two games at home to Austria and away to the Faroe Islands we will have one foot in next year's tournament in South Africa."
28 March 2009
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