World Cup qualifier: Spain draws with Serbia-Montenegro

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Mateja Kezman's 69th-minute equalizer on Wednesday earned Serbia-Montenegro a 1-1 draw against Spain.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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Mateja Kezman's 69th-minute equalizer on Wednesday earned Serbia-Montenegro a 1-1 draw against Spain and boosted its hopes of a direct berth to next year's World Cup finals. Spanish captain Raul Gonzalez opened the scoring with a 19th-minute header at Vicente Calderon Stadium in a result that meant both teams maintained their unbeaten records. Serbia-Montenegro leads Group 7 with 16 points, two more than Spain. Third-placed Bosnia-Herzegovina, which beat Lithuania 1-0 earlier Wednesday has 13 points. "We're happy with this result. It means a lot. It would be a shame if we lost the advantage achieved by this draw," Serbia-Montenegro coach Ilija Petkovic said. Aragones confident Spanish coach Luis Aragones said he was "worried" but said his team could still reach the finals as group winner if it won both its remaining games. "If we had won 2-1 it would have been much better for us. When you have lots of goal chances and you miss them you feel dissatisfied," Aragones said. Serbia-Montenegro midfielder Igor Duljaj was sent off in the 90th minute for a foul on Xabi Alonso after being angered by Spain playing on when substitute Nikola Zigic was injured. The visitors conceded their first goal in qualifying when Raul met Xavi Hernandez's outswinging corner with a deft backward header. The goal by Spain's all-time leading scorer was his 42nd in 88 matches. Raul almost doubled the lead in the 38th with a similar header from a cross by leftback Asier Del Horno, which hit goalkeeper Dragoslav Jevric's left post. Serbia-Montenegro made little impression in the first half, with Kezman wasting his side's only opportunity by shooting wide in the 44th minute. Petkovic replaced Sasa Ilic at halftime with Zigic and the towering striker had a hand in Kezman's equalizer. Zigic's presence caused Spain 'keeper Iker Casillas to miss a floated cross, the ball falling to Dejan Stankovic, whose shot was clipped home by the Atletico Madrid striker. Kezman almost scored a winner when he mishit Zigic's low pass in the 81st with Casillas beaten. Spain's draw extended Aragones' unbeaten record to 14 matches since his appointment last year. (AP)

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