Croatia and Albania equalize in one of the most exciting matches of the Euro

HAMBURG.- Croatia and Albania tied 2-2 on Wednesday in their Euro Cup Group B match, in the first competitive duel between the two Balkan teams.

Croatia tried to keep pace from the start, but Albania’s Qazim Laci opened the scoring with a header in the 11th minute.

Andrej Kramaric equalized after half an hour in the second half and an own goal from Klaus Gjasula gave Croatia a 2-1 lead two minutes later.

Gjasula redeemed himself by scoring Albania’s equalizer in added time.

This result leaves Croatia and Albania in a precarious situation in their group after the defeats against Spain and Italy, respectively, in their opening matches of the Euro.

The Albanians, who are above Croatia on goal difference in their group, had more to celebrate after the match, while Luka Modric and his team looked disappointed as they applauded the Croatian fans.

The Volksparkstadion in Hamburg was almost divided in half between the red wave of Albanian fans and the red and white checkered shirts of Croatian fans in an energetic atmosphere.

Croatian fans lit flares despite warnings over loudspeakers that it would lead to disciplinary action.

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Croatia struggled to create opportunities in the first half and could have been further behind, but goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic blocked a shot from Kristjan Asllani and a header from Rey Manaj to keep the score at 1-0 at halftime.

The Croatians started the game with more energy and turned things around in a period of two minutes. Kramaric equalized with a shot inside the post and shortly after came Gjasula’s misfortune when Albania tried to clear a ball in the penalty area and it bounced off him and into the goal for his fourth goal of the tournament.

At this point, Croatia looked in control, but Gjasula fired in the fifth minute of stoppage time to tie it 2-2.