MOTD- Croatia 2-0 Serbia

Croatia have secured a good win over Serbia in Group A of the World Cup qualifiers in Serbia’s first match against Croatia as an independent nation. Croatia started the match on top, and were denied a goal in the tenth minute through the offside flag.  A cross for the left bounced off a Croatian froward, and Mario Mandzukic rose up to meet the ball in the canter of the box.  Mandzukic rose above Serbia goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic and headed the ball into the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed because Mandzukic was in an offside position when the ball took the deflection.  In the nineteenth minute Croatia got another good chance when Darijo Srna played the ball to Mandzukic on the edge of the eighteen, and Mandzukic volleyed just wide of the post.

Croatia took the lead in the twenty-third minute when Aleksandar Kolarov horribly mishit a free-kick near his own corner flag, and the ball fell to Mandzukic, who was put in on goal.  Mandzukic couldn’t trap the ball, and it fell to Luka Modric who poked the ball to Ivica Olic to put Olic in on goal.  Olic took the ball up to Brkic, and right when Brkic was about to take the ball off his feet, Olic slipped the ball across goal for Mandzukic.  Mandzukic coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net to put Croatia 1-0 up.  Croatia kept on top, and doubled their lead in the thirty-seventh minute off a free-kick.  Mandzukic swung the free-kick into the box from the right, and it bounced right in front of Brkic.  Brkic did not take the ball though, and it bounced up to Olic, who used his stomach to guide the ball into the back of the net.  Croatia still dominated, but couldn’t create any more chance and after two minutes of injury time the first half ended 2-0.

Serbia finally sprung into life in the second half, and almost scored in the forty-sec0nd minute when Aleksandar Kolarov surged down the left flank and hit a shot on goal from the edge of the box.  Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa did well to save Kolarov’s effort, but couldn’t hold on to the ball and it fell to Filip Djuricic, who poked the ball just wide of the far post.

Modric attempted to give Croatia a third goal in the fiftieth minute, but his long range effort whizzed inches wide of the post.  Modric saw another chance from a similar distance in the fifty-second minute, and again his effort flew just wide of the near post.  Croatia continued to apply pressure, and almost scored in the sixtieth minute through Ivan Rakitic, and Brkic did well to parry Rakitic’s shot from the left side of the box.  The ball fell to Niko Kranjcar, and the Tottenham player’s shot was also saved by Brkic.  Serbia started to apply pressure towards the end of the match, and Filip Djuricic’s curling shot from the left side of the box forced Platikosa to make the save to his left.  Serbia contunued to put pressure on Croatia, and in the last seconds of the match Djuricic and Filip Djordjevic both tested Pletikosa, but Croatia held on to the win and after four minutes of extra time, the match ended 2-0.

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