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Hosts Bulgaria beaten by Croatia

Bulgaria 0-2 Croatia
Goals in either half from Matko Babić and substitute Adrian Blečić got Croatia off the mark in Group A at the expense of the hosts.

Highlights: Bulgaria 0-2 Croatia

Crowd of over 10,000 watches hosts Bulgaria lose 2-0 to Croatia in tournament opener
Matko Babić gives Dario Bašic's side the lead after 24 minutes
Adrian Blečić scores in second-half added time to put Croatia top of Group A
Tonislav Yordanov misses Bulgaria's best chance midway through the second half

Croatia opened their UEFA European Under-17 Championship campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Bulgaria in Stara Zagora.

Croatia took the initiative from the off, with left-back Borna Sosa and Josip Brekalo making particularly eye-catching early contributions. Dario Bašic's charges converted their superiority into a 24th-minute lead when Sosa broke free on the left, reached the byline and picked out Matko Babić, who controlled, spun superbly and finished.

Aleksandar Dimitrov introduced Georgi Yanev from the bench soon after the restart and Bulgaria did at least demonstrate greater attacking intent thereafter. Despite the hosts' improvement, Croatia could have doubled their advantage before the hour had Majić made more of a clear opening. Bulgaria had a presentable opportunity of their own ten minutes later, Tonislav Yordanov failing to find a way past Adrian Šemper.

It was as close as they got, for Croatia moved out of sight deep into added time, Adrian Blečić converting from the rebound after Brekalo's attempt had been parried by Daniel Naumov.

Dario Bašic, Croatia coach
We controlled the game, especially in the first half. I think we played very well and we deservedly took the lead. Then in the second half the hosts started to play more offensively, the crowd got behind the team, but we showed good character and resilience. It is always difficult in the opening game and we are happy with the result and the performance.

Aleksandar Dimitrov, Bulgaria coach
We are really sorry because we disappointed our fans here. Their support was tremendous, but there was a difference in class. I am also disappointed with the way we started the game. The second half was better and we missed one good chance. We will watch this match again, analyse it and certainly make changes for Spain next.