Savo Milosevic scored two goals yesterday as Yugoslavia trounced Malta, 4-1, for its third victory in qualifying for the 2000 European Championship.
The war in Yugoslavia forced UEFA, Europe's soccer governing body, to change the site from Belgrade and move the game to Salonica, Greece. The victory also came three days after Yugoslavia's scheduled match against Ireland was postponed because the Irish government wouldn't give the Yugoslavs entry visas. Because of that action, UEFA may decide to expel Ireland from the qualifiers.
The win improved Yugoslavia's record to 3-0 and kept the squad at the top of the Group 8 standings with nine points.
Malta surprisingly took the lead with Nicholas Salliba scoring off a pass from Chuks Nwoko. But Predrag Mijatovic tied it in the 36th minute.
Three minutes into the second half, Milosevic gave Yugoslavia the lead. Shortly after, Darko Kovacevic dribbled past two defenders and the goalie to make it 3-1. Seconds before the end, Milosevic scored for a 4-1 lead.
TODAY'S MATCHES: At 2-1-2 and in third place in Group 5, England faces a must-win situation against Bulgaria in Sofia. The field at Peoples Army Stadium was in poor condition yesterday, with bare grass in the goal area and glass, nails and flint scattered on the field.
The English will be without suspended midfielder Paul Scholes and injured midfielder David Beckham.
World champion France also needs to win, but probably will have little trouble with tiny Andorra in Barcelona. The French (3-0-2, 11 points) are in third place in Group 4 behind Ukraine and Iceland, which faces fourth-place Russia today in Moscow.
The winners of each of the nine groups advance to the European Championship, which will be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium. Other teams to qualify will be the second-place team with the best record and the winners of four playoff series between the eight other group runners-up.