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Snodgrass sees Scotland past Croatia
Published : 07 Jun 2013 21:47:14Rss feed
Robert Snodgrass was the hero as Scotland pulled off a major shock by picking up their first win of the World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-0 victory over top seeds Croatia in Zagreb.
Gordon Strachan's men headed into the match already out of the race for Brazil in 2014, massive underdogs to claim a positive result, and a staggering 70 places behind Croatia in the world rankings.
But Snodgrass proved to be the difference between the two nations when he grabbed the only goal of the game to hand the Scots their first competitive victory since beating Liechtenstein in October 2011.
The visitors had an early chance to put some pressure on their hosts with a free-kick 30 yards out, which was played short by Barry Bannan to James Morrison - who rifled well over. Ivan Perisic then had a go from distance at the other end but he, too, was well off-target.
The breakthrough came after 26 minutes and the Croats were stunned when it was the Scots who surged into the lead. Fine play by the impressive Shaun Maloney resulted in the ball breaking for Snodgrass, who showed good anticipation to pounce on the loose ball and stab home.
The home side should have levelled when Sammir collected a short backpass by Grant Hanley but blazed over with the gaping net at his mercy to jeers from the crowd.
Croatia continued their search for the leveller after the restart and Ivan Rakitic controlled the ball well before unleashing a shot that dipped just over the crossbar.
Scotland could have added to their slim advantage when Bannan raced into the box before sending a dangerous swerving shot just past the far upright.
Croatia still looked dangerous and Olic whipped a tempting ball across the face of goal for Mario Mandzukic but he just failed to connect at the back post.
The home side continued to pile on the pressure and goalkeeper Allan McGregor came to the rescue when he blocked a powerful shot from Mateo Kovacic with his legs as Scotland held on for an impressive win.
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