Manchester United’s giant defender Nemanja Vidic admitted his side was punished for failing to take chances, after Serbia lost its first World Cup finals match as a fully independent nation. The group D fixture, held in Pretoria, ended 1-0 to the Ghana after Serbia’s creative players largely failed to perform for Radomir Antić’s side.
Ghana, the more offensive team throughout, struggled to break down Antić’s celebrated back-four until Udinese defender Luković saw red in the 74th minute for a second bookable offence. Substitute Stuttgart midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanović then inexplicably handled inside the area with just five minutes to go, allowing the outstanding Asamoah Gyan to convert the resulting penalty and secure the Black Stars’ win.
“I think it was a penalty. I think he touched the ball with his hand,” Vidic admitted after the match.
“But I think we had a few chances. We didn’t score a goal and we got punished. It was a very important game to lose but we have to keep going and to focus on the next two matches.
“I leave to you to decide if it was a red card or not. I have my opinion but I’m not going to tell it to you.”
Vidic criticised – as many have – the new Jubilani ball but admitted that both sides have to play with it.
“I think many players said a lot of things about the ball. I need just to say when it’s going long or crosses it’s a very difficult ball for the forwards and the defenders,” he explained.
“But it’s the same, for them and for us, it’s the same ball.”
Serbia’s famed back-four stood firm but Antić’s attacking players failed to spark at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. While Nemanja Vidić and company repelled Ghana’s effervescent forwards, questions will be asked of Miloš Krasić, Marko Pantelić and Nikola Žigić who created few chances in a low-quality match.
Serbia must now win twice against Australia and Germany to guarantee progression in the tournament