Croa­tia World Cup-bound af­ter draw in athens

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page -

Croa­tia qual­i­fied for the 2018 World Cup fi­nals af­ter a 0-0 draw in the sec­ond leg of the play­offs against Greece on sun­day in athens. With a con­sid­er­able ad­van­tage from Thurs­day’s 4-1 vic­tory in Za­greb, Croa­tia eas­ily held off the Greek hosts. Croa­tia came clos­est to scor­ing in the 42nd minute when ivan Perisic’s pow­er­ful shot ric­o­cheted off Greece’s left post, with goal­keeper orestis Karezis well beaten. Ben Roeth­lis­berger’s 32-yard com­ple­tion to Antonio Brown with 35 sec­onds left set up a 33-yard field goal from Chris Boswell as time ex­pired Sun­day, giv­ing Pittsburgh a 20-17 come-from-be­hind win at In­di­anapo­lis on Sun­day.

The Steel­ers (7-2) have won four straight over­all and five in a row in the se­ries.

But it sure wasn’t easy as the Colts (3-7) held Roeth­lis­berger, Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell in check. Pittsburgh needed two sec­ond-half TD passes from Roeth­lis­berger to fight its way out of a 17-3 third-quar­ter deficit. And Roeth­lis­berger re­verted to his tra­di­tional form on the Steel­ers’ fi­nal pos­ses­sion.

“Big Ben is Big Ben and he finds guys, and we’ve got him in sec­ond-and-long and he finds a guy, and then he scram­bles around and finds Antonio Brown,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “That’s what he does.”

The two-time Su­per Bowl cham­pion me­thod­i­cally marched the Steel­ers 70 yards in the fi­nal three min­utes, 10 sec­onds to give Pittsburgh its only lead.

Roeth­lis­berger was 19 of 31 for 236 yards with one in­ter­cep­tion. Bell had 26 car­ries for 80 yards and Brown, the league’s lead­ing re­ceiver, caught three passes for 47 yards.

Andy Lyons/getty im­ages

Ben Roeth­lis­berger

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