Croatia in complete euphoria!
Ivica Olić may not score the prettiest goals, but he gets the job done when he’s on the field. In just the second minute of play in Istanbul, Olić picked up the trash in front of net after Croatian defender Vedran Ćorluka cruised through the Turkish defense on the left side to feed the ball in front of goal. After a deflection, Olić slotted home to give Croatia an early 1-0 lead to take the Turkish crowd completely out of the match- they never recovered.
Turkey pressed hard for the remainder of the first half but couldn’t beat a stingy Croatian defense. In the 32nd minute, Modrić had his shot on open goal deflected out wide to captain Darijo Srna, who crossed the ball into the box to meet the head of striker Mario Mandžukić for a 2-0 Croatian lead. Olić missed a golden opportunity just before the break to triple the lead as he shot the ball right into the Turkish keeper from close range.
With the Turkish team and their supporters completely out of it emotionally in the 51st minute, Srna was fouled on the right side and swung in the following free kick to a wide open Vedran Ćorluka, who headed home for a 3-0 Croatian lead an eventual victory. With three away goals, Croatia look all but through to next summer’s Euro 2012 tournament, barring a complete collapse at Maksimir on Tuesday.
How should Bilić play the second leg in Zagreb? Conservative or Aggressive?
FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS. NO NOISE FROM THE TURKISH COMMENTATORS IN THIS ONE.