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Sonck strikes raise Belgian hopes

Published: Wednesday 10 September 2003, 21.16CET
Belgium 2-1 Croatia A hard-fought win against ten-man opponents keeps Belgium in contention.

Match statistics

BelgiumCroatia

Goals scored2
 
1
Yellow cards2
 
4
Red cards0
1

Standings

Last updated: 27/06/2012 11:57 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 10 September 2003, 21.16CET

Sonck strikes raise Belgian hopes

Belgium 2-1 Croatia A hard-fought win against ten-man opponents keeps Belgium in contention.

Belgium kept their hopes of qualifying for UEFA EURO 2004™ alive thanks to a hard-earned 2-1 victory against Croatia in their Group 8 encounter in Brussels. Two goals from striker Wesley Sonck proved enough to defeat a Croatia side who finished with ten men.

Belgium hope
With Bulgaria having won the group, Croatia face them on 11 October knowing that victory will secure the play-off place. If Otto Baric's side do slip up, then Belgium could overtake them if they record a superior result. "We still have a small chance of qualifying," said Belgium coach Aimé Anthuenis.

Goor chance
Croatia came out looking to win every ball, and as a consequence, Ivica Mornar was booked after just three minutes. Two minutes later, Belgium almost had the lead as Bart Goor seized on a long ball, but shot just wide.

Sonck strikes
On 33 minutes, Croatia threatened again, as Niko Kovac hit a powerful long-range shot that Geert De Vlieger could only punch over. Just a minute later, Belgium had the lead, as Sonck lifted a 20-metre free-kick over the wall and into the top left-hand corner of the net.

Quick equaliser
The Belgian fans were still celebrating when the visitors equalised. With 36 minutes played, Milan Rapaic sent in a corner that Dario Simic headed into the net, ending a frantic period of play.

Sonck second
Three minutes before the break, Jonathan Walasiek saw his shot blocked by Stipe Pletikosa in the Croatia goal. Amidst the ensuing chaos in the penalty area, the ball dropped to Sonck, who hit the ball low and hard into the goal. The celebrations were almost cut short again, but this time De Vlieger produced a spectacular save to deny Olic.

Mornar shot
Croatia came out in the second half looking for a quick equaliser, pushing forward in numbers. On 47 minutes, Mornar shot from the edge of the area, but De Vlieger was again on hand to make the save. The game became increasingly hard-fought, with Anthuenis describing it as a "battlefield" after the game. Croatia saw four players booked in the second half, and Josip Šimunic was sent off for a second bookable offence on 73 minutes. Having an extra man worked in Belgium's favour as they worked hard to preserve their lead.

'Hard work'
Anthuenis said: "Seeing the chances in the match, 2-1 was the best possible result for us. Croatia are a very experienced team, while we had to work hard and display solidarity. It was to be expected that the second half would become a battlefield, but my players proved they are willing to work for each other. This is important because we do not have a world-class team, so have to compensate with hard work."

Last updated: 30/03/04 11.14CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2004/matches/round=1579/match=69040/postmatch/report/index.html#sonck+strikes+raise+belgian+hopes

Lineups

Belgium

Belgium

Croatia

Croatia

1
De VliegerGeert De Vlieger
1
PletikosaStipe Pletikosa
2
DeflandreEric Deflandre
2
ŠimićDario Šimić
3
SimonsTimmy Simons
3
ŠimunićJosip Šimunić
Red Card72
4
Van BuytenDaniel Van Buyten
Yellow Card18
4
TomasStjepan Tomas
Yellow Card75
5
Van DammeJelle Van Damme
5
R.KovačRobert Kovač
6
ClementPhilippe Clement
6
ŽivkovićBoris Živković (C)
Yellow Card68
7
BaseggioWalter Baseggio
7
RapaićMilan Rapaić
Substitution78
8
GoorBart Goor (C)
8
RossoGiovanni Rosso
Substitution65
9
SonckWesley Sonck
Goal35
Goal43
Substitution90+2
9
MornarIvica Mornar
Yellow Card4
10
BuffelThomas Buffel
Substitution88
10
N.KovačNiko Kovač
Yellow Card83
11
WalasiakJonathan Walasiak
11
OlićIvica Olić
Substitution46

Substitutes

12
HerpoelFrédéric Herpoel
12
ButinaTomislav Butina
16
MartensSandy Martens
Substitution88
Yellow Card90
16
SrnaDarijo Srna
Substitution65
17
SoetaersTom Soetaers
Substitution90+2
17
MaricMarijo Maric
Substitution78
13
DeschachtOlivier Deschacht
18
PršoDado Pršo
Substitution46
14
DollOlivier Doll
13
BabićMarko Babić
15
HuysegemsStein Huysegems
14
TudorIgor Tudor
18
Van der HeydenPeter Van der Heyden
15
VranješJurica Vranješ

Coach

Aime Anthuenis (BEL) Otto Barić (SRB)

Referee

Graham Poll (ENG)

Assistant referees

Philip Sharp (ENG), Darren Drysdale (ENG)

Fourth official

Andrew Paul D'urso (ENG)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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