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Sports News

Croatia fight back to beat Switzerland 2-1

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ST. GALLEN, Switzerland (Reuters) - Goals from midfielders Josip Brekalo and Mario Pasalic gave Croatia a 2-1 win at Switzerland after Mario Gavranovic had fired the home side ahead in a lively friendly attended by 5,000 fans on Wednesday.

The home crowd and a noisy visiting contingent created a cracking atmosphere as they filled 30 percent of the St. Gallen stadium, in line with UEFA’s coronavirus regulations.

European soccer’s governing body last Thursday gave the green light for a partial return of fans to stadiums where local authorities allow amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spectators had been banned from all UEFA matches since March because of the pandemic, except at the Super Cup match played in Budapest on Sept. 24. which was used as a pilot for their return.

Gavranovic had a sitter saved by his Dinamo Zagreb team mate Dominik Livakovic early on before he beat the keeper with a superb 31st-minute header from a Granit Xhaka cross.

Bruno Petkovic missed a gilt-edged chance for the visitors before Brekalo equalised in the 42nd when he unleashed a sublime first-time shot inside the near post after good work by Croatia’s debutant Domagoj Bradaric.

Pasalic turned the tide midway through the second half, sliding in ahead of his marker to sweep the ball home from close range after a fine cut-back by substitute Ante Budimir.

Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri missed the match after the country’s FA said on Tuesday the Liverpool forward had tested positive for coronavirus, having rejoined the national team for the first time in over a year.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis

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