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Croatia hold Italy to stay top

Croatia 1-1 Italy
Gianluigi Buffon saved an early penalty on his record-breaking night but Croatia remain two points clear of Italy in Group H.

Highlights: Croatia 1-1 Italy

Croatia remain two points ahead of Italy in Group H after eventful draw in Split
Gianluigi Buffon becomes first man to 50 UEFA EURO appearances and saves early penalty
Mario Mandžukić was denied there but soon breaks deadlock
Antonio Candreva levels from spot but Croatia claim point despite Darijo Srna red card
Next games: Azerbaijan v Croatia, Italy v Malta (3 September)

Croatia remain two points clear of Italy in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group H after an eventful draw.

Gianluigi Buffon was becoming the first player to make 50 UEFA European Championship appearances and he was soon in the think of the action. In the seventh minute Darijo Srna was brought down in the Italy box but Buffon stopped Mario Mandžukić's centrally placed penalty. Within four minutes, though, the striker had broken the deadlock.

The Croatia move actually started when Stephan El Shaarawy had a goal disallowed; with Italy distracted, the home side countered swiftly and Ivan Rakitić set up Mandžukić to put the ball past Buffon. Seven minutes later it was nearly 2-0 as Ivica Olić only just failed to connect with Ivan Perišić's low cross.

Italy began to respond and nine minutes before half-time were level. Mandžukić was the centre of attention again, handling in the area to allow a chipped penalty equaliser by Antonio Candreva, who had scored his sole previous international goal when these teams drew 1-1 in Milan in November. In first-half added time Graziano Pellè was sent clear but Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subašić made a great save.

The second period was always going to be hard-pressed to live up to the first and both sides took a cautious approach. Italy had the better chances though, with Marco Parolo and Andrea Pirlo threatening, but Croatia kept them at bay despite Srna's late red card for a second booking.