The Chelsea defender grabs a point for the home side after Marchisio had put the visitors ahead with his first international goal.Italy kept up its unbeaten record in the qualifying group stages with a 1-1 draw against Serbia at the Stadion Crvena Zvezda. Claudio Marchisio opened the scoring early on before Branislav Ivanovic pulled one back for the home side.
The match started at a frantic pace with the home side testing the Italians. After just 20 seconds, Aleksandar Kolarov bursted down the left flank before unleashing a low drive from distance, but unfortunately for the playoff hopefuls Gianluigi Buffon made a great save at the near post.
A few minutes later the visitors took the lead through Marchisio. A neat through ball from Giuseppe Rossi put the Juventus man, one on one with Bojan Jorgacevic and the No. 8 made no mistake in grabbing his first international goal.
Italy almost doubled its lead five minutes later, as a chipped ball from Marchisio found Rossi in the box. But the former Manchester United striker was denied by Jorgacevic.
Then on 25 minutes and the hosts were level through a lucky deflection. A Zoran Tosic drive from the edge of the box flicked off Ivanovic to put Vladimir Petrovic’s side back into the game.
The second half began and Serbia was pressing forward at every opportunity, and it wasn’t long before Buffon had to pull of a fine save to tip away Kolarovs curling free kick.
The game had slowed down a lot with not many chances being created but with less than 10 minutes to go, substitute Sebastian Giovinco had a glorious chance to win it for the Italians but Rajkovic was there to clear the danger.
The Italians will be happy to have kept up their unbeaten run in qualifying. Serbia, however, knows that a win would have put it in the playoffs and now the nation will need to get a result in Slovenia on Tuesday.