The Chelsea defender grabbed a point for the home side after the visitors took an early lead in Belgrade, but the hosts could not bring an end to the Italians' undefeated streak
Claudio Marchisio opened the scoring before Branislav Ivanovic levelled for the home side in the Group C encounter in Belgrade, meaning the home side must now overcome Slovenia on Tuesday if they are to secure a play-off berth.
The match started at a frantic pace with Serbia threatening the Italian goal after just 20 seconds. Aleksandar Kolarov galloped down the left flank before unleashing a low drive from distance that Gianluigi Buffon did well to save at the near post.
The visitors took the lead early, however, 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 their lead five minutes later when a chipped ball from Marchisio found Rossi in the box but the Villarreal striker was denied by Jorgacevic.
The hosts were then level through a fortunate deflection in the 25th minute, as a Zoran Tosic drive from the edge of the box flicked off Ivanovic to put Vladimir Petrovic’s side back into the game.
Serbia began pressing forward at every opportunity after the half-time interval and it wasn’t long before Buffon had to pull off a fine save to tip away Aleksandar Kolarov's curling free-kick.
The game then slowed right with chances at a premium but with less than 10 minutes to go, substitute Sebastian Giovinco had a glorious opportunity to win it for the Italians but Slobodan Rajkovic was there to clear the danger.
The Italians will be happy to have maintained their unbeaten run in qualifying while Serbia know that a win would have put them in the play-offs, and they now will need to get a result in Slovenia on Tuesday.