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Saturday, March 24, 200710 men Macedonia fail to survive on Maksimir although they had the lead from the 36th minute
It took ten minutes before the game's first goal attempt, a Milan Rapaic effort for Croatia that sailed harmlessly over. Macedonia then signaled their intent as Goran Maznov's floated corner found its way to Ilco Naumoski in the six-metre box, but he failed to connect cleanly, allowing a thankful Josip Simunic to clear. Rapaic was wayward from distance again, yet he almost turned provider, finding Marko Babic in the area, who headed over.
On 38 minutes, the Macedonians shocked the home crowd by breaking the deadlock. Dario Simic fouled Naumoski and from the resulting free-kick, Sedloski thumped the ball low past Croatia keeper Stipe Pletikosa from 25 metres. The goal knocked Croatia out of their stride as the half wound down. Rapaić was subsequently replaced by Srna at half-time and he hauled the hosts level on 58 minutes, smashing a free-kick high into the centre of the goal. Sedloski was then harshly dismissed with a second yellow card with little over 20 minutes left. Although Croatia dominated, Macedonia was dangerous and threatened on the counter. The Croats tried to penetrate the stubborn defense through influential midfielder Luka Modric, who had many strong runs and deft passes. Marko Babic and Bosko Balaban also had close chances for Croatia, while Goran Pandev threatened for the visitors. Croatia smelt victory and they breached a retreating defence two minutes from time when Srna crossed for Eduardo to convert from close range.
Croatia: Stipe Pletikosa; Dario Simic, Josip Simunic, Vedran Corluka, Niko Kovac, Marko Babic, Niko Kranjcar, Milan Rapaic (Dario Srna, 46), Luka Modric, Bosko Balaban (Igor Budan, 80), Eduardo da Silva.
Macedonia: Jane Nikoloski; Nikolce Noveski, Goce Sedloski, Aleksandar Mitreski (Igor Jancevski, 77), Aleksandar Vasoskis, Vlade Lazerevski, Velice Sumolikoski, Ilco Naumoski (Darko Tasevski, 60), Robert Popov, Goran Pandev, Goran Maznov (Miroslav Vajs, 72).
Croatia leads Group E with 13 points, two ahead of Russia and five ahead of England, Israel and Macedonia.
Labels: Macedonian National Team