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National Teams

Croatia comeback

Barišić and Kramarić
crush Azerbaijani
hopes

21.03.2019.
Barišić and Kramarić crush Azerbaijani hopes
photo by: HNS
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Croatia national football team managed to score first points on the road towards EURO 2020, even though the visitors from Azerbaijan took the lead.

CROATIA - AZERBAIJAN 2:1 (1:1)
EURO 2020 qualifier, Group E.
Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb.

Referee: G. Kabakov (Bulgaria)

Goals: 0:1 - Sheydaev (19'), 1:1 - Barišić (44'), 2:1 - Kramarić (79')

Cautions: Medvedev (68')

Croatia: Kalinić, Barišić, Vida, Ćaleta-Car, Brekalo, Kovačić (73' Vlašić), Modrić (90+2' Badelj), Perišić, Rakitić, Kramarić, Petković (69' Rebić). Head coach: Z. Dalić.

Azerbaijan: Agayev, Rahimov, Huseynov, Mammadov, Medvedev, Garayev (88' Dadasov), Nazarov (58' Abdullayev), Almeida (73' Makhmudov), Eddy, Madatov, Sheydaev. Head coach: N. Jurčević.

FIFA World Cup runners-up have opened their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign with a win, defeating Azerbaijan in Zagreb 2:1.

As expected, Croatia dominated the possession, chances, and corners. However, the visitors managed to threaten twice from counterattacks: Kalinić saved the first Sheydaev's effort, while Azerbaijani striker found the net on 19 minutes.

Rakitić and Modrić tried with long-range efforts, and Zlatko Dalić's men put more pressure on the opponents in the closing minutes of the first half. On 44 minutes, Ćaleta-Car's header was blocked on the goal-line, and Barišić poked it in to equalize.

Following the break, Aghayev and woodwork managed to stop a curling Modrić's shot, with Brekalo, Perišić, Rakitić, and Petković all failed to find the target.

A little over ten minutes from time, Kramarić found some space on the left side of the box, and curled the ball in to give Croatia a deserved victory. 

Simultaneously, Slovakia defeated Hungary 2:0 on home turf, with the Vatreni visiting Budapest in three days' time. 

EURO 2020 qualifying, Group E:
1. Slovakia 3 (1)
2. Croatia 3 (1)
3. Wales 0 (0)
4. Azerbaijan 0 (1)
5. Hungary 0 (1)

Euro 2020. - qualifiers, 21.03.2019., Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb. Spectators: 23146
Referees: Georgi Kabakov (BUL), Martin Margaritov (BUL), Divan Valkov (BUL)
Fourth referee: NIkola Popov (BUL)
Croatia
2
Azerbaijan
1
12Lovre Kalinić1Salahat Agayev
2Josip Brekalo2Gara Garayev
88'
3Borna Barišić
44'
3Shahriyar Rahimov
4Ivan Perišić4Rahil Mammadov
5Duje Ćaleta-Car5Maksim Medvedev
68'
7Ivan Rakitić6Bavadi Huseynov
8Mateo Kovačić
73'
10Mahir Madatov
9Andrej Kramarić
79'
11Ramil Sheydaev
19'
10Luka Modrić
90'+1'
13Dmitri Nazarov
58'
20Bruno Petković
69'
14Eddy
21Domagoj Vida20Richard Almeida
72'
Bench
1Dominik Livaković12Emil Balayev
23Simon Sluga23Shahruddin Mahammadaliev
6Karlo Bartolec7Araz Abdullayev
58'
11Marcelo Brozović8Emin Makhmudov
72'
13Nikola Vlašić
73'
9Namik Alaskarov
14Filip Bradarić15Omar Buludov
15Mario Pašalić16Rufat Dadasov
88'
16Antonio Milić18Anton Krivotsyuk
17Marko Rog19Ali Babayev
18Ante Rebić
69'
21Tamkin Khalilzade
19Milan Badelj
90'+1'
22Mirabdulla Abbasov
22Marin Leovac
Coaches
Zlatko DalićNikola Jurčević

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić and team captain Luka Modrić held a press conference on the eve of the European Qualifiers opener against Azerbaijan.

Zlatko Dalić

"We have great respect for our opponent and we take this match seriously - it's just like FIFA World Cup all over again. As vice-champions of the world, Croatia are favourites, but we need to change our style of play: from tough defensive lines to dominating the possession. This requires caution, but we are not afraid. If we remain responsible, give our best and start well, we can reach our objectives. Azerbaijan will try to defend and threaten through counterattacks, and we have to know how to respond. The key is patience, patience, and patience, throughout the entire 90 minutes. With fans' support, it could be another beautiful night. Nikola Jurčević is an excellent coach, and his presence will make our job more difficult, he knows Croatian players very well. We cannot hide anything from him"

 

Luka Modrić

"Azerbaijan can be a tricky opponent, should we fail to play on a maximum level. It is always important to start qualifying campaign with a positive result, and I am convinced that Azerbaijan will play just like they did in Baku, when Croatia managed only a goalless draw. They are a fighting team, but I believe Croatia's performance will be a quality one, especially with our fans' support. We are all very motivated, regardless of the opponent - every match for the national team is a special one, let alone a qualifier. We want to make our fans happy"

 

 

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foto: HNS
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