0 - 1
The City Ground
in the 5th minute
|Hjelde (59 min)||Brown (90min)|
|Hodges (80 min)||Konchesky|
© Nottingham Forest 1998
Sasa Ilic could not have chosen a better moment to rediscover his form.
Yugoslavia's new coach Milan Zivadinovic was at the City Ground and saw a display of poise and agility which will earn Charlton's goalkeeper his first cap against the Republic of Ireland in Belgrade this Saturday.
That assumes, of course, that the game goes ahead and Ilic recovers from the foot injury sustained in Charlton's deserved 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
UEFA will decide today whether to cancel the fixture after the Irish FA, concerned about the political situation in Yugoslavia and the threat of NATO airstrikes against military installations in the Yugoslav capital, asked for a ruling.
The injury caused Ilic to hobble through a second half during which he twice dived to his left to fingertip away low drives from Forest defender Steve Chettle.
Ilic missed Yugoslavia's creditable 1-1 draw in Brazil last week because of his club loyalty but is adamant he will not forego a second opportunity. So adamant that he risked further damage against Forest in the hope of impressing Zivadinovic.
Ilic said: 'I twisted my foot in the first half. I wanted to try my hardest but the second half felt like 250 minutes. It's swollen at the moment but I've been told by the coach that I have to be ready for Tuesday. He said he is counting on me and this is a really big chance. Charlton pay my wages so they are my priority. It was frustrating that we kept creating chances and didn't put them away but the pain was worth it.'
Ilic should not have been called upon to perform his heroics and preserve Charlton's first away win in the Premiership. Alan Curbishley's side ought to have wrapped up the points by half-time.
They took the lead after five minutes when Forest, whose defence demonstrated a worrying uncertainty throughout, dallied and allowed Eddie Youds to send the ball low, via the leg of Clive Mendonca, past the unsighted Dave Beasant.