Croatia were held to a dramatic 2-2 draw by Czech Republic in a crucial Euro 2016 match on Friday. After going 2-0 up, Croatia were in the drivers' seat to seal their round of 16 berth with six points, but Czech Republic came back strong to salvage a draw.
However, it was a game, which Croatia should have won with ease, as they were in cruise control for majority of the match, which also saw their fans throwing flares on the pitch during the second half.
Croatia looked sharp right from the first whistle, threatening Czech Republic goal from early on, as they earned two corners within three minutes. They were in full control of the game, coming up with a number of attempts at goal.
Despite a brilliant first thirty minutes, it was quite surprising to see Croatia not taking lead after a series of attack, and wonderful football. Their only weakness was in the final third, which they improved as the game progressed.
However, Ante Cacic's men finally broke the deadlock as Ivan Perisic scored a wonderful goal in the 37th minute. Croatia must have been pleased going into the break with 1-0 lead, but they could have scored more than that solitary goal.
Though Czech Republic hardly featured in the first half, they looked better in the second, and were searching for the all-important equaliser. They enjoyed a decent spell in the first five minutes, but Croatia's offensive players were always asking questions with their sublime skills as well.
Just when things were looking better for the Czechs, Croatia doubled their lead via Ivan Rakitic's chip in the 59th minute. Roman Hubnik lost the ball in his own half, paving way for the second goal. It was utter carelessness to concede that second goal.
Even after going two goals up, the Croats were not done, threatening to score more goals. They were creating constant problems to the Czech defenders with their pace and skills. Cacic's team played with full energy, pressing their opponents.
But, Milan Skoda gave Czech Republic a lifeline, scoring a brilliant header in the 76th minute. They had to find another goal in the next 14 minutes to draw the match level.
However, the match was marred by Croatia fans a few minutes after the goal, as they threw flares on the pitch, which surprised Perisic and his team mates. The match was stopped for a few minutes. After the restart, Czech Republic earned a penalty, which was slotted home by Tomas Necid in the 93rd minute.
The second goal gave Czech Republic huge confidence as they were trying to find the winning goal in the dying minutes of added time as well. The match finished 2-2, and the Czechs must have been pleased to earn a point after their dismal first half showing.