Croatia doubles up on the Czechs
Nikola Kalinic scored twice Wednesday to help Croatia beat the Czech Republic 4-2 in a hard-fought international friendly.
Croatia took the lead in the 10th minute with a close-range shot by Eduardo after a perfect pass by Niko Kranjcar. Kalinic headed in to make it 2-0 in the 13th after a cross by captain Dario Srna.
Despite being 2-0 down after only 13 minutes, the Czechs managed to come back in the game played at a new 9,000-seat stadium in the Adriatic Sea port.
The Czechs were dominant in the air, and defender Tomas Sivak pulled one back in the 20th with a header after a corner kick by Jaroslav Plasil. Tomas Rosicky leveled the scores in added time in the first half, with his 20th goal in 78 appearances for the Czech national team.
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic sent on four substitutes at the start of the second half, and one of them, Tomislav Dujmovic, delivered a perfect pass to Blackburn's Kalinic who ran some 20 yards (meters) before beating beat Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech with a fierce shot under the bar for 3-2 in the 61st.
Substitute Ivo Ilicevic completed the scoring in the 74th from some 40 yards when Cech ventured far from his goal, tried to dribble, and left the net unattended.
"Scoring four goals against such a strong team has to be considered a perfect day," Bilic said.
Croatia played without key midfielder Luka Modric of Tottenham after appendix surgery, while the Czechs were missing injured striker Milan Baros of Galatasaray.