Croatia 1-0 Moldova
Niko Kovač scored the only goal as Croatia stepped up their preparations for UEFA EURO 2008™ with a slender victory against Moldova.
Kovač struck on the half-hour mark in Rijeka, heading in a corner from Ivan Rakitić after the former's shot had been pushed out for a corner by Moldova goalkeeper Stanislav Namasco. Coach Slaven Bilić made six substitutions at half-time and during the second half, a period in which Moldova grew in confidence, forcing Stipe Pletikosa into action a number of times to ensure Croatia preserved their narrow lead.
'Have to improve'
"It was most important that we won this match, especially as we have been practicing for only one week," said captain and match-winner Kovač. "There were good and the bad things in this match, but we still have two weeks until the first match [of the finals against co-hosts Austria]. We have to improve in some parts of our play, our coach will also tell us that, but we have to be satisfied for now."
Bilić echoed his player's thoughts, saying: "I am very satisfied with the first half. We were dangerous and had good chances." Croatia are next in action on 31 May against Hungary in Budapest while they will also face Germany and Poland in this summer's tournament.
Croatia: Pletikosa, Ćorluka, R. Kovač (Vejić 46), Šimunić (Šimić 46), Pranjić, Modrić, N. Kovač (Pokrivač 59), Vukojević (Leko 73), Rakitić, Budan (Kalinić 62), Olić (Klasnić 46).
Moldova: St. Namasco, Lascencov, Rebeja, Epureanu, Golovatenco, Zmeu (Cebotari 69), Se. Namasco, Gatcan (Andronic 79), Comleonoc (Suvorov 74), Frunza (Aleksejev 79), Bugaiov (Ovsevnikov 60).
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