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Published: 19:00 | 17/6/16

Necid penalty salvages draw for Czech Republic

Croatian crowd trouble mares the game

An injury time penalty from Tomas Necid helped Czech Republic come from two down to seal a 2-2 draw against Croatia in Saint-Etienne.

In a game marred by crowd trouble as the Croatia fans threw numerous flares onto the pitch and fought amongst themselves, Croatia looked to be cruising when Ivan Rakitic put them 2-0 up after 58 minutes.

However, Czech Republic pulled one back with 15 minutes remaining and when the game restarted after the crowd trouble, Necid blasted home from the spot to give his side a lifeline in Group D.

Croatia were vastly superior from the off as they dominated possession and they had their first sight of goal after 10 minutes when Milan Badelj hit a powerful strike just past the post.

The Croats continued to dominate after this with Luka Modric pulling the strings and they threatened again after 20 minutes.

Mario Mandzukic raced down the left and whipped in a superb ball that was just inches ahead of Ivan Perisic as the Czech Republic, and Petr Cech, in particular, continued to look very nervy.

A Croatia gaol looked inevitably and they finally broke the deadlock after 37 minutes.

Domagoj Vida won the ball back with a brilliant challenge and played in Perisic who raced into the box and fired the ball low and hard beyond Petr Cech to make it 1-0.

There was no let up after the goal and Croatia almost doubled their advantage two minutes before the break when Mandzukic fired goalwards but his effort was blocked by Cech as his side went in just one down at the break.

The second half started much like the first had finished with Croatia in the ascendency but it was the Czech’s who had the first chance of the half when Ladislav Krejci tried an audacious overhead kick that was comfortably saved.

Croatia, though, never really looked under much pressure and they deservedly doubled their advantage after an hour.

Ivan Rakitic broke the offside trap and produced a sublime clip over the onrushing Petr Cech to double his side’s lead.

And it really should have been game over seven minutes later when another Czech mistake allowed in Madzukic, but he fired over from 12 yards when he really should have done better.

And the striker was made pay for this missed chance with 15 minutes remaining when Tomas Rosicky whipped in a superb ball that was met by Milan Skoda who powered home a header to set up a grandstand finish.

Croatia restored their dominance after this as they began to dominate possession once more, however, the game was halted with four minutes remaining when some Croatian fans threw flares onto the pitch and began to fight amongst themselves in the stands.

The game restarted and it was the Czech Republic who had the final say when they grabbed a last gasp point from the penalty spot.

Domagoj Vida inexplicably handled inside his own area, Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot and Tomas Necid stepped up and blasted home the penalty as the game somehow ended 2-2.

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