Northern Ireland were left frustrated after going down 1-0 to Serbia in a friendly at Windsor Park.
The province carved out a number of good chances against the World Cup finalists but lacked a cutting edge.
Danko Lazovic scored the vital goal in the 57th minute after a clever dummy from Gojko Kacar following a cross from Zoran Tosic.
Serbia showed their intentions as early as the ninth minute. Zdravko Kuzmanovic tested Maik Taylor in the ninth minute, the Birmingham goalkeeper doing well to tip his effort over the bar.
Northern Ireland, however, almost took the lead five minutes later when Niall McGinn cut inside and tried his luck on goal. The Celtic midfielder's effort was struck firm and true but Bojan Isailovic was equal to it.
Serbia were looking dangerous on the counter attack and Manchester United winger Zoran Tosic stung Taylor's fingers in the 27th minute. Then Chris Baird escaped his marker in the 35th minute but sent his header the wrong side of the post.
Northern Ireland were playing some neat football and McGinn got behind the Serbia defence in the 42nd minute. The pacy winger fired in a shot from an acute angle that unnerved Aleksander Lukovic. He nearly scored an own goal and was relieved to see his mistimed clearance go out for a corner.
Northern Ireland should have taken the lead in the 49th minute after good work by McGinn but Chris Brunt slashed his effort wide of the post from close range.
Serbia got the all-important goal in the 57th minute with a well-crafted effort from Lazovic. He beat Taylor from close range after a clever dummy from Gojko Kacar set him up following Tosic's cross.
The province came close to equalising twice but Isailovic make a stunning block to keep out Stephen Craigan's header before Grant McCann's free-kick went marginally over the bar.
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