Croatia has maintained its position at the top of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying UEFA Group I after a 1-0 win over Kosovo at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb on Sunday afternoon.
The match, which was called off on Saturday night at 0-0 after 22 minutes due to an unplayable pitch after heavy rain, resumed on Sunday at 2:30 pm in much drier conditions and it started how it ended last night with Croatia keeping the ball and dominating possession.
Although they enjoyed much of the ball, Croatia could only carve out a couple of half chances in the 23 minutes played out in the first half with both falling to Ivan Perišić.
Coach Ante Čačić resisted making any changes at the break and it was Croatia’s most dangerous player Perišić who had the first chance of the second half but his shot from just outside the box sailed just past the post.
Brozović drew a save from keeper Ujkani in the 55th minute and Andrej Kramarić was unlucky with the bounce of the ball a minute later as Croatia started to lift the tempo.
Croatia finally broke the deadlock with 16 minutes remaining when defender Domagoj Vida glanced in a Modrić free-kick from the left.
Croatia could not extend their lead in the final stages of the match despite controlling possession but they will be happy with the important 3 points they have picked up as they head Turkey for Tuesday’s qualifier.
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying: Group I
Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb
Croatia 1-0 Kosovo
GOALS: Vida ’74
CROATIA: Subašić, Vida, Pivarić, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Modrić, Rakitić (Kramarić ’54), Kovačić (Badelj ’54), Perišić, Brozović (Kalinić), Mandžukić
KOSOVO: Ujkani; Vojvoda, Rrahmani, Jashanica, Kololli; Alushi, Rashica, V. Berisha, Kryeziu, Zeneli; Muriqi
Table after 7 matches:
1. Croatia – 16 points
2. Ukraine – 14
3. Iceland – 13
4. Turkey – 11
5. Finland – 4
6. Kosovo – 1