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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Friendlies: Goals by Perisic and Brozovic help Croatia sink Israel

Football Friendlies: Goals by Perisic and Brozovic help Croatia sink Israel

March 24, 2016 10:52 IST

Croatia's Marcelo Brozovic,

IMAGE: Croatia's Marcelo Brozovic,left, celebrate scoring a goal with the Ivan Perisic during the International Friendly match against Israel . Photograph: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images.

Goals by Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic earned hosts Croatia a 2-0 friendly win over Israel in Osijek on Wednesday in a free-flowing match containing several missed chances.

Euro 2016 finalists Croatia took the lead in the fourth minute, moments after the visitors had struck the woodwork, when Perisic elegantly converted an accurate low cross from the left by Brozovic.

Brozovic added the second goal in the 34th minute in similar fashion, sneaking into the area to finish off another centre from the left by Mario Mandzukic.

The open, attacking nature of the game continued in the second period with both sides hitting the woodwork and missing a string of scoring opportunities.

Experienced Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun, recalled by caretaker coach Alon Hazan, returned to the international arena.

Benayoun went on as a substitute in the 77th minute to win a record 97th cap for Israel who have failed to qualify for the European Championship finals in France in June.

Stanciu cracker gives Romania victory over Lithuania

A stunning long-range strike by Nicolae Stanciu gave Romania a 1-0 win over Lithuania in a European Championship warm-up match played at the Marin Anastasovici Stadium in the Danube town of Giurgiu on Wednesday.

Substitute Stanciu, who replaced Florin Tanase in the second half, gave keeper Emilis Zubas no chance with a venomous 30-metre drive in the 65th minute.

Romania, who have now gone 16 games without defeat since June 2014, were generally unimpressive in their first match of the year.

Anghel Iordanescu's team, who are 16th in the world, enjoyed most of the possession but lacked ideas against a side ranked 128th.

Centre back Cosmin Moti headed just wide from a corner by Stanciu while Zubas saved a close-range effort by substitute Andrei Ivan early in the second half.

Lithuania, who failed to qualify for Euro 2016, went close to scoring two minutes before the break when keeper Costel Pantilimon parried a 20-metre free kick by Lukas Splavis.

A minute's silence was observed before kickoff after at least 31 people were killed in Tuesday's Brussels attacks.

Romania, who host champions Spain in another friendly on Sunday, have been drawn in Group A with hosts France, Switzerland and Albania at Euro 2016 in June.

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