• A 36th-minute Nikolay Bodurov own goal settles the game
• Croatia score with their only meaningful shot on target
• Bulgaria lay second-half siege but to no avail
• Croatia and Italy have six points at top of Group H
• Next games: Norway v Bulgaria, Croatia v Azerbaijan (Monday)
Bulgaria defender Nikolay Bodurov was the fall guy as Croatia secured a second UEFA EURO 2016 Group H win, despite the hosts having the bulk of the chances in Sofia.
Both sides had much to play for after winning their opening fixtures, but it was Niko Kovač's Croatia who were handed the initiative on 36 minutes. Ivan Rakitić floated a free-kick into the penalty area and Ivan Perišić headed it down, only for the unfortunate Bodurov put the ball into his own net.
That stroke of bad luck belatedly got Bulgaria going, Luboslav Penev's men making a more determined assault on Danijel Subašić's goal. Captain Ivelin Popov tested his range with a couple of free-kicks, and midfielder Vladimir Gadzhev slipped the offside trap in the 42nd minute but slid his shot centimetres wide.
Penev replaced Ilian Micanski with the more powerful Andrej Galabinov at the break, while experienced midfielder Georgi Iliev took the place of left-back Petar Zanev, with Stanislav Manolev moving to right-back and Yordan Minev going to the opposite flank.
That switch served to intensify Bulgaria's threat. Georgi Milanov had an attempt blocked following a 52nd-minute free-kick while Iliev's effort from distance on 68 minutes might have found its target but for a deflection. Subašić was then called on to punch away a strike from substitute Alexandar Tonev. However, Bulgaria looked to have run out of steam at the death as Croatia held on for victory.