Luka Jovic was a class above in Serbia’s match vs Russia. This was the Luka Jovic Real Madrid fans have been longing to see— the Serbian striker simply couldn’t be contained. Every subtle flick and each delicate touch came off. His cuts, turns, and dribbles were equally smooth and efficient. This was not one of those games were Jovic looked like a passenger and just popped up with two goals, no, it was just the opposite. Jovic was heavily involved in the link-up play and was functioning like a second striker. Even without his goals, Jovic was a stand-out. The game was done and dusted by the first half, thanks to a 4-0 score line, and the first 45 minutes saw the best of Luka Jovic.
The first of Jovic’s goals came in the 25th minute. He twice links-up well in the left half space before transitioning his run to the center of the box to capitalize on his predator-like instincts. A measured cross from Filip Mladenovic connected perfectly with Jovic’s well timed header:
That was just the start of what would be an onslaught. Jovic was again at the heart of the play for Serbia’s third goal. The Real Madrid man slows down his run just outside the box, receives the ball from his strike partner Mitrovic, and then creates a degree of separation between himself and the Russian defender to unleash a low driven shot towards the bottom corner:
The Russian goalkeeper, Marinato, could only parry the shot leaving an easy tap-in for Ristic. Serbia was 3-0 up at that point.
The half couldn’t end without another Luka Jovic goal. In the dying minutes of the opening half, Jovic struck again with another bullet header. The off ball movement, often highlighted in Jovic’s game, is what allows him to create these opportunities. He slips into the box with a late arriving run, oblivious to the deep Russian defenders, and capitalizes on the open space:
Again, it was not just the goals or the goal involvement that made his game stand-out. Jovic, as evidenced by the video below, did a little bit of everything. The striker completed 5 dribbles, had 2 key passes, won 3 out of his 4 aerial duels, and had 4 shots on target resulting in two goals and a third created. There were times where he was defending on the right flank just outside the eighteen yard box. It was a complete match:
With Benzema still a doubt heading into the weekend match vs Villarreal, Zidane may be tempted to give Jovic a start given his fine form during the international break. Over his three games with Serbia, Jovic scored three goals, produced one assist, and scored a penalty in a shoot-out vs Scotland.