Twelve months after missing the decisive spot-kick as Serbia were beaten in a European Championship play-off by Scotland, Aleksandar Mitrovic delivered redemption by heading Serbia into the World Cup finals with a last-minute winner over Portugal in Lisbon tonight.

The Fulham striker, introduced as a half-time substitute in their must win final group game, headed Dusan Tadic’s deep cross down into the ground and past Rui Patricio to condemn the Portuguese to the play-offs. Mitrovic was mobbed by delirious team-mates as the Serbians celebrated a momentous victory.

Dragan Stokjovic’s side had to win in the Estadio de Luz and Portugal’s unbeaten run in home World Cup qualifiers since 2013 didn’t look under threat when they took the lead inside two minutes. Renato Sanches fired the hosts ahead after Nemanja Gudelj had lost possession from goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic’s pass. Serbia furiously protested that their holding midfielder had been fouled but the goal was given.

Serbia threw bodies forward and Mitrovic’s replacement in the starting line-up, Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic, was desperately unlucky to strike the base of the far post midway through the first half. They grabbed a crucial equaliser when Tadic’s shot deflected off Danilo and wrongfooted Rui Patricio, who smuggled it over his own goal line.

Mitrovic, already Serbia’s leading international goalscorer with 44 goals from 69 appearances, has netted twenty goals in seventeen league appearances for Fulham so far this season.