A hostile home crowd was stunned into silence as Aaron Ramsey’s outrageous chipped penalty gave Wales a precious half-time lead after Sam Vokes’ shirt was pulled.
The visitors toiled relentlessly to protect that advantage, though they began to tire as they were subjected to exhaustingly long periods of Serbian pressure.
Aleksandar Mitrovic made the breakthrough with 17 minutes left, finishing calmly to give the hosts a point they more than deserved to reclaim their place at the top of Group D.
The Newcastle striker scored a late equaliser against Wales in Cardiff in November, and his intervention on this occasion was another hefty blow to Welsh chances of reaching next year’s World Cup in Russia.
They remain third in their group, still four points behind Serbia and the Republic of Ireland with four games left.
But given Wales’ raft of withdrawals prior to this match and Serbia’s dominant display, this draw may well feel like a precious point gained for Chris Coleman’s men.
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