Serbia U19s had to come up from behind to register their 26-20 victory, after debutants Bulgaria came close to a shock upset win on their debut in Sofia, in front of 300 fans at the ŽTP Stadium.
The hosts led 16-10 at the break. Fullback Aleksander Aleksandrov scored their historic opening try and the lead was doubled by Kostadin Debrenaev in the 20th minute, before Serbian Vladimir Mutinović responded for the visitors with his first touchdown and a goal.
Debutant Bulgarian stand off, Veselin Pekhev then extended the home side’s lead until Ilija Krstić, going over for the Serbs just before half time, narrowed the host country’s lead to six points.
A try from Serbia’s Ivan Andrić and a Milutinović goal levelled the score straight from the re-start, but the outstanding Bulgarian, Pekhev then scored his second to restored the home side’s advantage.
Greater experience, however, was finally to see the Serbian visitors – who are preparing for the U19s European Championships later this year – finish the stronger. Their excellent skipper Milutinović, claimed his double and 14 points overall and back rower Stevan Ivanković then ran one in to clinch score.
Bulgaria U19s (20) : Aleksander Aleksandro, Hristan Ivanov, Milen Nikolov, Aleks Dokoziev, Devis Beka, Veselin Pekhev, Kostadin Debrenaev, Mladen Mladenov, Dimitar Čanev, Svetlin Petkov, Denis Ivanov, Kiril Atanasov, Dimitar Ananiev. Subs: Radostin Drakanov, Stefan Dimitrov, Stefan Milenov, Marin Penev. Tries: Aleksander Aleksandrov (9), Kostadin Debrenaev (20), Veselin Pekhev (30, 48). Goals: Veselin Pekhev 2/3, Kostadin Debrenaev 0/1
Serbia U19s (26) : Vuk Tomić, Luka Rašković, Aleksandar Štefulj, Dorotej Dado Arnold, Ivan Andrić, Marko Jakovljević, Ilija Krstić, Mihajlo Stoiljković, Mihailo Tomić, Marko Šatev, Marko Makera, Stefan Ivanković, Vladimir Milutinović. Subs: Emir Ahmeti, Marko Simović, Mateja Vinš, Uroš Golubović, Matija Prokić, Luka Ivanović. Tries: Vladimir Milutinović (25, 56), Ilija Krstić (35), Ivan Andrić (40), Stevan Ivanković (66). Goals: Vladimir Milutinović 3/5