Croatia beats Georgia 2-1 in Euro 2012 qualifier
Croatia scored two late goals to rally for a hard-fought 2-1 win
over Georgia in a European Championship qualifier on Friday.
Mario Mandzukic equalized in the 76th minute with a close-range
shot after a perfect pass by substitute Tomislav Dujmovic. Nikola
Kalinic netted the winner in the 78th with a low shot from 10
Georgia took the lead in the 17th with a close-range header by
”This is how football works,” Kalinic said. ”You have to be
patient 90 minutes. It was tough, but the whole team worked hard
for this victory.”
Croatia had plenty of possession, but created relatively few
chances against a well-organized Georgia defense. The only chance
for Croatia in the first half came in the 26th when Luka Modric
fired a volley from the edge of the penalty zone, but goalkeeper
Giorgi Loria palmed the ball onto the post.
In the second half, Eduardo hit Georgia’s bar in the 58th, and
Darijo Srna’s long-range free-kick hit the post.
With the win, Croatia leads Group F with 13 points. Greece has
11 before playing Malta on Saturday.
”These 3 points are worth the gold,” Srna said. ”We missed a
lot of chances, but it is hard to play against a team like Georgia,
which gives everything to defend.”
Croatia: Vedran Runje, Josip Simunic, Vedran Corluka, Danijel
Pranjic, Ognjen Vukojevic (Tomislav Dujmovic, 71st), Eduardo, Luka
Modric, Darijo Srna, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic (Ivan Klasnic,
71st), Nikica Jelavic (Nikola Kalinic, 46).
Georgia: Giorgi Loria, Akaki Khubutia, Kakha Kaladze, Gia
Grigalava, Guram Kashia (Jano Ananidze, 79th), Jaba Kankava, David
Kvirkvelia, Aleksandr Iashvili (Murtaz Daushvili, 62nd, Zurab
Khizanishvili, David Siradze (Vladimir Dvalishvili, 58th).