Albania drew against Croatia with a last-minute goal

Foreigner Kasim Lacy (11th) took the lead against a disappointing first-half Croatia side. Andrej Kramaric (74th) and an own goal from Klaus Kjazula (76th) provided the clear breakthrough before Kjazula earned Albania a undeserved point in the 95th minute. Croatia now need a win against defending champions Italy in Monday’s final. Albania will have to advance to the round of 16 against Spain in a similar game.

Croatia captain Zlatko Dalic made three changes to his side from their opening 3-0 loss against Spain, bringing in Ivan Perisic and Josip Juranovic as well as striker Bruno Petkovic. But even in the new formation, Luka Modric and co. couldn’t convince early on.

Outsiders Albania closed the gap at the back, repeatedly creating danger with quick breakthroughs and taking an early lead. Lacy headed home Jasir Asani’s cross, though goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was not looking good. Kristian Aslani had two good chances to make it 2-0 with a shot (31′) and Rey Manaj with a header (45’+1), but Livakovic was in position.

Croatia, on the other hand, gave away everything defensively in the first half, producing a slow and unimaginative game that did not trouble the outsiders. Only a Brozovic shot (20th) and a Petkovic header (26th) were dangerous.

Talic responded during the break, among others, Salzburg striker Luka Sucic and a breath of fresh air. The 21-year-old immediately recognized the Croatians’ best chance when his shot was saved by goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha (50′).

The “fiery persons” (vatreni) now gave more stress. Headers from Josip Sudalo (58th) and Mario Basalic (69th) also brought danger, and in the 74th minute Hoffenheim earned a deserved equalizer from Legionnaire Kramaric. Two minutes later, Kjazula rolled the ball back into the goal after a shot. But the Albanians didn’t give up and gifted themselves with chances at both ends in a tumultuous final stage, with Kjazula slotting home in stoppage time.

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