Alexsandar Mitrovic’s second half brace caged the Super Eagles whose six-match unbeaten run came to a halt.
Gernot Rohr made four alterations to the side that started against Poland with Ogenyi Onazi replacing Kelechi Iheanacho, with Chidozie Awaziem partnering William Troost-Ekong at the rear after Leon Balogun failed a late fitness test.
After losing 2-1 to Morocco on Friday, the Europeans’ intention was to redeem their patchy World Cup build-up by defeating the three-time African champions. This motive inspired them as they showed some fine flashes in the early minutes of the game.
Francis Uzoho put in a great shift to prevent Mladen Krstajic's men from scoring. First, he made a goal-line save to prevent Mitrovic’s from sailing into the net.
Few minute later, he made another save off Dusan Tadic’s effort to keep the game scoreless.
Nigeria’s major chance fell to Alex Iwobi off a flick from Wilfred Ndidi but the Arsenal man’s effort was blocked by a Serbian defender.
In the second half, Rohr brought on Odion Ighalo for Victor Moses, with Ahmed Musa moving to the wing but it was the Serbians who still continued to dominate as Filipe Kostic benefitting from a poor Tyronne Ebuehi defending, but the winger could only shoot wide.
In the 68th minute, Mitrovic finally broke the resistance of the Super Eagles’ defence after getting his left foot to a Kostic cross.
Rohr sent on John Ogu and winger Moses Simon as his side aimed to avoid defeat but their woes were compounded after Mitrovic scored his second off a similar combination as the opener.
The Serbs, again, exploited the right side of Eagles’ defence after Tadic skillfully beat Troost-Ekong and Ebuehi near the touchline to release Kostic who assisted the Fulham striker to complete his brace.
Even with the introduction of Junior Ajayi for his senior national team debut, nothing changed as the Serbia held on to win.