Saturday 18 November 2017

Corluka strike leaves Croatia in comfort zone as Turkey come up short


Croatia put one foot in the European Championship finals with a comprehensive 3-0 win away to Turkey in Istanbul.

Ivica Olic got the ball rolling as early as the second minute, giving Slaven Bilic's side the perfect start.

Mario Mandzukic made it 2-0 just past the half-hour mark and Croatia's passage to the finals appeared to be at least partly sealed in the 51st minute when Tottenham Hotspur's Vedran Corluka made it 3-0 to leave the Turks with a huge mountain to climb in Croatia on Tuesday.

Portugal were held to a 0-0 draw away to Bosnia and Herzegovina at Bilino Polje stadum, leaving their tie finely poised going into the return leg.

Red-hot Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo had chances to earn a precious away goal for Portugal -- as did Helder Postiga, once of Tottenham Hotspur -- but the breakthrough never came.

Czech Republic take a healthy 2-0 lead into the second leg after defeating Montenegro at the Generali Arena.

The game was goalless until the 64th minute when Vaclav Pilar finally broke the deadlock for the home side.

His sumptuous curling effort into the far corner a strike fit enough to grace any game.

Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky had released his midfield partner with a fine pass.

The Czechs got that all-important second goal in injury-time through Tomas Sivok.

Again, Rosicky was involved, curling a free-kick in from the left for Sivok to head home unmarked at the near post.


In friendly fire, Kenny Miller and Jamie Mackie struck glorious goals to give Scotland a narrow 2-1 victory over Cyprus in Larnaca.

Miller fired a stunning dipping volley midway through the first half after a shaky start from the visitors before Scotland enjoyed their best spell late in the first half.

Mackie brilliantly cut inside his marker before sliding home the second in the 56th minute, but Dimitris Christofi pulled one back for the home side.

Denmark beat arch-rivals Sweden 2-0 with Sunderland striker Niklas Bendtner on target for the home side in a match billed as a duel between him and Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

A lobbed pass from Lars Jacobsen found former Arsenal player Bendtner in space to put Denmark ahead in the 35th minute.

Michael Krohn-Dehli broke free to score Denmark's second goal after another assist from Jacobsen in the 80th minute.

Both sides have qualified for next summer's Euro 2012 finals.

Irish Independent

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