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Serbia snatch draw with Portugal as World Cup protests continue

STOCKHOLM: Serbia came back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw with Portugal, while Belgium were held to a 1-1 draw by the Czech Republic as teams continued to shine a light on human rights issues in Qatar during the World Cup qualifiers.

Norwegian and Dutch players wore t-shirts highlighting their desire for change in Qatar, with Denmark saying they will join in the protests when they host Moldova on Sunday.

In Belgrade, Serbia looked to be down and out after Diogo Jota scored twice in the first half for Portugal, but Aleksandar Mitrovic reduced the deficit early in the second half to become his country's top scorer with 39 goals in 63 appearances.

Filip Kostic made it 2-2 on the hour and the game ended in chaos as Nikola Milenkovic was shown a straight red card for a violent challenge.

Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a clear stoppage-time winner for Portugal when Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic cleared the ball after it had crossed the line as shown by television replays.

But with no Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in place, Dutch referee Danny Makelie waved play on and Ronaldo saw his follow-up shot cleared off the line before he was booked for dissent after angrily throwing his captain's arm-band to the ground.

The Serbs and Portugal both have four points in Group A, with Luxembourg third on three points after their shock 1-0 over Ireland in Dublin.

Gerson Rodrigues's superb goal secured the upset victory that left the Irish bottom of the five-team group behind Azerbaijan.

In Group E, Romelu Lukaku cancelled out Lukas Provod's opener to give Belgium a 1-1 draw away to group leaders Czech Republic. Belarus beat Estonia 4-2 to move into third place behind the Belgians.

TURKISH DRUBBING

Norway's protests did little to help their fortunes on the field as they were on the wrong end of a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Group G leaders Turkey.

Ozan Tufan scored twice for Turkey and Caglar Soyuncu added a header to outclass the Norwegians.

Netherlands bounced back from their defeat to the Turks in their opening qualifier by beating Latvia 2-0, with Steven Berghuis and Luuk De Jong getting the goals.

Montenegro beat Gibraltar 4-1 to go second in the group ahead of the Dutch and Norway.

Russia rose to the top of Group H thanks to two first-half goals from Artem Dzyuba in a 2-1 win over second-placed Slovenia while Croatia's Luka Modric won his 135th cap as his side edged a 1-0 win over Cyprus.

Slovakia fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Malta, putting them in fourth place behind the Croats.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: Reuters

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