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Halilovic featured in the 2-0 win against Malta. PHOTO: UEFA.com

Croatia have beaten Malta 2-0 in their first Euro 2016 qualifier. Both Halilovic and Rakitic were in the starting line-up, but it took 46 minutes for the first goal despite the Balkan side playing against just ten men after Berg was sent off after half an hour.

Modric opened the scoring in the first move of the second half with a strike from the edge of the area, but even so, the three points didn’t look entirely secure for the home side. Kramaric came on for Halilovic in the 67th minute, while Rakitic played the whole game and was particularly active towards the end.

Malta came dangerously close to equalising before Rakitic and Jelavic started an 81st minute move that was culminated by Kramaric to set up the definitive 2-0 scoreline. So, despite a nervy start, Croatia have got off to a winning start in Group H, as did Bulgaria with a 2-1 win in Azerbaijan and top seeds Italy, who won 2-0 in Norway.

MATCH STATS

Croatia, 2
Malta, 0

Croàcia: Subasic, Milic, Corluka, Lovren, Rakitic, Halilovic (Kramaric, 67’), Modric, Srna, Brozovic, Manzukic, Kovacic (Jelavic, 46’)

Malta: Hogg, Borg, Agius, Fenech, Failla, Paul Fenech, Mifsud, Schembri, Muscat, Camilleri, Zach Muscat.

Goals: 1-0 Modric (46’), 2-0 Kramaric (81’)


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