SERBIA stayed in the driving seat for a place at next year's World Cup finals after a 1-1 draw with 10-man France in Group Seven.
The result left Serbia top with 19 points from eight matches, with France second on 15.
France dominated the match despite having their goalkeeper Hugo Lloris harshly sent off in the ninth minute.
Lloris was given his marching orders after appearing to make little contact with Serbia striker Nikola Zigic in the penalty area, before Nenad Milijas drilled in the penalty to give Serbia the lead in front of 55 000 passionate fans.
France soon regained their composure and Thierry Henry tapped in the equaliser in the 31st minute after Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic spilled a soft low shot by Nicolas Anelka from 18 metres.
The Serbians had substitute Danko Lazovic sent off in the 90th minute .
Serbia, aiming to qualify for a major tournament for the first time as an independent nation, play Romania at home next month and a win would secure their berth in the finals.
France will have to feature in playoffs to qualify. - Reuters