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Grcić delights Croatia against Romania

Croatia 2-1 Romania
A tournament record crowd of 8,000 was thrilled as Jakov Grcić struck with five minutes remaining to give the hosts a winning start.

Jakov Grcić milks the acclaim after scoring the winner for Croatia with five minutes left
Jakov Grcić milks the acclaim after scoring the winner for Croatia with five minutes left ©Sportsfile

Jakov Grcić swept in the winner late on as Croatia marked their first final tournament fixture in 11 years with a narrow victory against Romania to begin UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 in front of a tournament record crowd of 8,000.

In a breathless opening to Group A, the hosts forged ahead to rapturous acclaim early in the second period when Dario Marinović finished off a swift counterattack. Home hopes seemed to have been dashed by Csoma Alpar's ferocious strike, only for Grcić to make himself the toast of Split five minutes from time.

The first opening came when Romania's Cosmin Gherman set up Florin Matei for a shot which Ivo Jukić saved with an outstretched foot. The same player then dragged an effort across goal following Robert Lupu's clever back-heel.

Croatia were receiving huge roars of appreciation every time they broke, although Vlad Iancu had not yet made a save in anger. At the other end, Jukić beat out Cosmin Gherman's drive and then collected Gabriel Dobre's attempted chip.

The decibel level was raised by Tihomir Novak, who showed good pace to flash a shot wide. It would have been cranked up several notches had Iancu not expertly saved from Marinović and, moments later, Franko Jelovčić.

Lupu rattled the upright before the interval, an attempt followed after the break by Duje Bajrušović's goal-saving block with his face to somehow thwart Matei at the last. Seconds later Mato Stanković's side countered, Marinović finishing off Josip Šuton's cross-court pass.

Situ Rivera's charges were fortunate not to fall further behind when Marinović, having controlled a long pass on his chest, was foiled by Iancu. Out of nowhere, though, Romania levelled, Alpar rifling in Ion Al-Ioani's quick corner. They had not countered on Grcić, though, who swivelled to turn in Novak's pass. Romania now need a result here on Thursday against the Czech Republic, who face Croatia two nights later.