Belgrade, April 19 (IANS) Partizan Belgrade defeated league leaders and “eternal rivals” Red Star Belgrade 3-1 in the first round of the play-offs of the Serbian Superliga football tournament.

Partizan took the lead through Leonardo da Silva Souza in the 21st minute on Tuesday, but Red Star’s Richmond Boakye found the equaliser off an assist from John Jairo Ruiz in the 48th minute.

The pace of the game slowed down until in the 68th minute when Partizan’s Leandro Tawamba scored during a goalmouth melee.

Leonardo scored the final goal of the game in the 79th minute after being set up by Petar Djurickovic following a fast counter-attack.

This was the 154th derby between the two arch-rivals from the city.

The two teams are now on 40 points each with six games to go. Red Star have a slight lead due to a superior goal difference.

“If players continue to play in this way and act like this, I think the trophy is near,” Leonardo said.

The fire brigade had to intervene at half-time because a group of fans set chairs on fire, while special forces intervened during the match to prevent fights between football fans.

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