Crowd trouble mars Croatia win

2014-10-11 09:09
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric (Supplied)
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric (Supplied)

Sofia - An own goal by Bulgaria centre back Nikolay Bodurov gave Croatia a 1-0 victory in a Euro 2016 Group H qualifier marred by unruly behaviour by fans of both teams at the Vasil Levski stadium on Friday.

The visitors struck after 36 minutes when the powerfully-built Bodurov turned the ball into his own net as he tried to clear Ivica Olic's header from Ivan Rakitic's right-wing cross.

The match was interrupted for a few minutes midway through the first half as rival supporters threw fireworks at each other and a number of flares were hurled from the stands.

Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mihaylov, who is also a UEFA executive committee member, said he would not be surprised if European soccer's governing body punished his team for the crowd disorder.

Italy and Croatia are joint top with six points from two matches followed by Bulgaria and Norway on three apiece.

"We fully deserved this victory," Croatia coach Niko Kovac told reporters.

"We were the better team, we dominated in the first half and then we had some problems in the second but I'm pleased with my team because it was a very important victory."

Croatia started well with midfielder Ivan Perisic having two shots deflected over the bar before Bodurov's blunder.

Bulgaria's 4-2-3-1 formation, featuring Ilijan Micanski up front, looked toothless for long periods of the opening half and they failed to create a single chance.

Luboslav Penev's team almost levelled however when midfielder Vladimir Gadzhev sprang the offside trap only to curl his shot wide of the post.

At the other end Bulgaria keeper Vladislav Stoyanov saved Marcelo Brozovic's thunderous shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Bulgaria pressed hard for an equaliser after the interval with substitutes Georgi Iliev, Andrey Galabinov and Aleksandar Tonev creating good chances while Croatia were forced to rely on swift counter attacks.

On Monday, Croatia host Azerbaijan (zero points) and Bulgaria visit Norway.

"We have to forget this match as quickly as possible," said Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov who wore a protective mask after fracturing his cheekbone last month.

"Tomorrow we'll do an analysis and we'll begin to prepare for the Norway game."

Read more on:    croatia  |  euro 2016  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.