Suba­sic shines for Croa­tia in penalty drama

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

GOAL­KEEPER Danijel Suba­sic came to Luka Mo­dric’s res­cue as Croa­tia eased past Den­mark into a World Cup quar­ter-fi­nal clash with hosts Rus­sia after a dra­matic penalty shoot-out.

Mo­dric had squan­dered a chance to win the game from the spot in ex­tra-time when Kasper Sch­me­ichel re­pelled his ef­fort, but Suba­sic saved from Chris­tian Erik­sen, Lasse Schone and Ni­co­lai Jor­gensen to al­low Ivan Rakitic to win it with his side’s fi­nal kick in the shoot-out.

Most of the ear­lier fire­works in Nizhny Nov­gorod had ar­rived inside the open­ing four min­utes, dur­ing which de­fender Mathias Jor­gensen, of Hud­der­s­field Town, fired Den­mark into the lead be­fore Mario Mandzu­kic lev­elled.

The Danes en­joyed the bet­ter of the 120 min­utes, but were un­able to find a win­ner and were ul­ti­mately made to pay in the cru­ellest way.

They needed less than a minute to get their noses in front when the Croa­t­ian defence failed to deal with Jonas Knud­sen’s long throw.

Thomas De­laney man­aged to get the ball un­der con­trol at the far post, but it was de­fender Jor­gensen who thumped a low shot past Suba­sic to open the scor­ing.

How­ever, their joy was short-lived as Zlatko Dalic’s men re­stored par­ity within three min­utes when, after de­fender Si­mon Kjaer’s clear­ance had ric­o­cheted back off team-mate An­dreas Chris­tensen, the ball fell nicely for Mandzu­kic to blast home the equaliser.

After a fran­tic start the game be­gan to set­tle down al­though Den­mark strug­gled to get star man Erik­sen on the ball and Croa­tia, de­spite pros­per­ing in wide po­si­tions with Ivan Perisic prom­i­nent, were un­able to find a telling fi­nal ball.

With six min­utes re­main­ing Mo­dric split the Dan­ish defence with a su­perb pass and Jor­gensen brought Re­bic down after he had rounded Sch­me­ichel, only for the former Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur mid­fielder then to fluff his lines when the goal­keeper kept out his spot-kick.

But in the shoot-out,Suba­sic saved from Erik­sen and Schone as Sch­me­ichel de­nied Mi­lan Badelj and Josip Pi­varic, but after the Croa­tia goal­keeper had blocked Ni­co­lai Jor­gense’s kick, Rakitic sent the Le­ices­ter goal­keeper the wrong way.

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