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Vucinic saves Montenegro to keep the pressure on

Gary Neville was sent on a scouting mission to the Moldovan capital and will inform Roy Hodgson he has nothing to fear even though Montenegro strengthened their grip on Group H.

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Gary Neville was sent on a scouting mission to the Moldovan capital and will inform Roy Hodgson he has nothing to fear even though Montenegro strengthened their grip on Group H.

Neville was close to taking extreme satisfaction from his trip as Montenegro threatened to lose their way in the windswept, rain-lashed Zimbru Stadium until Mirko Vucinic spared the group leaders with a 78th minute winner.

Montenegro had looked doomed to a painful experience as they struggled to break down a Moldova team clearly relishing their underdog role, and were subjected to further collateral damage after Milorad Pekovic was sent off and Filip Kasalica taken off on a stretcher.

But just when England's stroll in Serravalle seemed set to further frustrate Montenegro, their iconic figure volleyed in his 14th goal for his country.

Neville's report will feature the names of Vucinic and Stevan Jovetic prominently, and the partnership between the nation's poster boys represents their greatest threat.

Fiorentina's Jovetic, who has been scouted extensively by Arsenal this season, has a propensity to switch between menacing and anonymous at a frustrating rate but England can ill afford to ignore him. The 23 year-old tested Serghei Pascenco with a swirler from 20 yards after ten minutes.

Jovetic and Vucinic have contributed 23 goals between them and are the focal point of a patient, passing game. The only problem for Montenegro in the first period was that it had all the cutting edge of a plastic spatula.

Montenegro became increasingly desperate in the steady downpour and a night of excruciating frustration hit its lowest ebb on the hour when Pekovic was dismissed after a second bookable offence.

Moldova had the scent of blood in their nostrils and Eugan Sidorenco wasted a great chance to steal the points dribbling a shot into the hands of Mladen Bozovic.

But Vucinic spared Montenegro from a severe post-match inquest by volleying home from close range to set up a potentially pivotal night in the capital.

Moldova (4-4-1-1): Serghei Pascenco; Bordian, Bulgaru, Epureanu, Golovatenco; Gheorghiev (Josan 77), Gatcan, Ionita, Dedov; Ionita; Alexandru Pascenco, Sidorenco. Subs not used: Namasco, Negai, Jardan, Erhan, Armas, Onica, Cebotaru, Bugaiov, Doros, Picusciac, Suvorov.

Montenegro (4-4-2): Mladen Bozovic; Pavicevic, Savic, Basa, Vladimuir Bozovic (Vukcevic 64); Kasalica (Damjanovic 44), Pekovic, Zverotic, Volkov; Jovetic, Vucinic (Novakovic 81). Subs not used: Blazic, Kecojevic, Delibasic, Igumanovic, Jovanovic, Poleksic, Beciraj, Dzudovic, Krkotic.

Referee Daniele Orsato (Italy)
 

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