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Zagreb outstrip Württemberg to reach final

Württemberg 1-2 Zagreb
Antun Strjački and Željko Štulec scored to send the Croatian side through to the 4 July UEFA Regions' Cup final.

Antun Strjački after scoring Zagreb's UEFA Regions' Cup equaliser against Württemberg
Antun Strjački after scoring Zagreb's UEFA Regions' Cup equaliser against Württemberg ©Sportsfile

Antun Strjački header cancels our early Martin Kleinschrodt strike
Željko Štulec strike on 76 minutes confirms Zagreb's final place
Next match: Eastern Region IRL v Zagreb (4 July)

Zagreb recovered from conceding early to beat Württemberg 2-1 in UEFA Regions' Cup Group B and set up a final meeting with hosts Eastern Region IRL.

Zagreb's ability to keep the ball, exhaust opponents, and then smash down their resistance has been a theme of their tournament, but Württemberg had them on the back foot, harrying relentlessly. Dogged persistence gained them an early lead, Daniel Schachtschneider riding hard challenges as he cut into the box from the left, teeing up Martin Kleinschrodt for an easy finish.

For a while, it seemed Sreten Ćuk's side might be overwhelmed, but the Croatian side have guts as well as style. With intense heat sapping the German side, Božidar Kramaratić once more dictated play; he tested Marcel Susser with one free-kick from 30 metres out, then had better luck with a second effort from closer in on 31 minutes, the goalkeeper's save inviting Antun Strjački to head the loose ball high into the net.

Kramaratić's withdrawal early in the second half left Zagreb without their creator-in-chief, and needing the win to make it to the final, Michael Rentschler's side raised the pressure, though tireless workhorse forward Željko Štulec came within centimetres of connecting with Matej Vrbat's ball from the right – and providing some much-needed breathing space.

Zagreb celebrate making it to the final
Zagreb celebrate making it to the final©Sportsfile
Zagreb meet Eastern Region IRL in the 4 July final
Zagreb meet Eastern Region IRL in the 4 July final©Sportsfile

However, relief came on 76 minutes, Štulec battering his way through defender Johannes Volk, and then wrongfooting Susser before pinging the ball into the unguarded net. Kleinschrodt rattled the Croatian side's post with a shot from distance in the closing stages.