Croatia missed too many goal chances and the match ended with a draw
It was a sad game to watch at Maksimir Stadium on September 5. 2016, as the fans were not allowed to attend the opening match of the World Cup Qualifiers. Croatia was the much better team throughout the game but missed too many clear goal scoring opportunities to get the win.
Marko Pjaca started in the firs eleven instead of Marcelo Brozović and managed to hit the post on two occasions in the first half, while Mario Mandžukić and Ivan Perišić did the same once each. It was Ivan Rakitić who scored for the lead only from the penalty kick in the forty-first minute of the match.
Turkey did not show much in the whole match, but one lucky shot finished in Lovre Kalinić’s net in the stoppage time of the first half. Turkish team was awarded the free-kick, and Calhanoglu’s shot got deflected by Ivan Perišić to leave Croatian goalkeeper helpless.
In the second half, Croatia pushed on, but there was no striker calm enough to finish the job. As Mario Mandžukić is on a long-term draught when scoring for the national team is considered, one would expect the coach to try some other options, but he was late with the changes once more.
After the match, he said that the team played well and created numerous chances, but failed to score. He felt the team missed the boost from the stands, as the players felt like it was a training session instead of the important international game.
Luka Modrić was disappointed with the final score but pointed out that the team did not deserve the win after so many missed chances.
In other two games of the Group I of the European Qualifiers, Ukraine played Iceland, and Finland hosted Kosovo, and both of the matches finished with the same score as the Croatian one; 1-1.
In the second round, Croatia will travel to Albania to face Kosovo, as in the newly established country, there is no proper stadium to host the match at this level.