Crvena zvezda beat Radnički Niš 4-0 in their opening game of the season. Both teams lined up in 4-2-3-1 formations. Although the score may seem like this was a one-sided match, that was not the case. Radnički created plenty of good chances in the first half, as Crvena zvezda was all over the place defensively. They played without a true defensive midfielder and made some strange positional switches in defence during the match. Despite all of this, the score at half-time was 3-0 for Crvena zvezda, which meant the game as a contest was over at that point. The second half was a fairly low tempo affair, with the occasional outburst.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Serbian/Canadian
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 15/08/2002
- Club: Radnički Niš
- Career: Radnički Niš
- Position: Left-winger
- Secondary position: Central attacking midfielder
- Preferred foot: Right
Stefan Mitrović started this match as a left-winger in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He’s officially listed at 1.81 and has a slim build. Alongside Zvezda’s right-winger, Osman Bukari, Mitrović was the fastest player on the pitch. His acceleration is second to none in the Serbian SuperLiga, and he’s extremely light-footed, making it hard for opposition fullbacks to contain him. The only way that seems successful is to get close and physical. Mitrović still lacks some upper body strength and balance in situations where he gets a push or bump. Another physical attribute of his you notice is his jumping range, particularly in attacking sense.
On the ball, Mitrović is a threatening and extremely direct player. His primary instinct is to always go for goal. Stefan is very capable in one-vs-one situations and isn’t limited to just going inside. It’s not just acceleration, either. He has the first touch and flair to beat even some of the best defenders in this league, as he did tonight. When there’s no space for a run, he usually keeps his passes simple and either looks for the sideways or back pass. In most cases, that choice is warranted, but he had one breakaway, that became a two vs one, where he just had to slide the ball through to the striker, but instead kept his head down and went for the weak foot shot himself. He also put in three crosses, all floaters, with only one of them being a threat to the opposition.
Off the ball, he shows good movement. When there’s space out wide, he stretches play and hopes to get into one-vs-one situations. When the build-up goes down his side and the fullback moves up, he drifts towards the left half-space. He had one particularly good run in behind Zvezda’s defence and easily beat his marker for pace. You get the sense that he’d be more of a running threat with better passers around him, as plenty of good runs are wasted. Defensively, he played most of the game against a centre-back, playing on the right-hand side in a cautious role. This allowed Mitrović to stay up higher, as the manager chose not to double up on the opposition winger. If it comes to a duel, he likes to get close to the opposition, but waits for them to make the move.
Rating – A2
Despite the tough loss, Mitrović showed plenty of attacking threat against the best team in the league. Last season, he finished second in the U21 top scorer ranking, with 10 league goals, despite not being a striker and only being 19 years old.
He definitely has the potential to play in a higher ranked league, but he will have to work on two aspects in particular: his upper body strength, and he has to try and add more creativity to his game. That means keeping his head up more while dribbling and attempting more line-breaking passes when the opportunity is there.