2016 European Championship Qualifying, Group Stage 2016
  • Marcelo Brozovic (30')
  • Ivan Perisic (54')
  • Ivica Olic (66')
  • Gordon Schildenfeld (87')
  • Danijel Pranjic (90'+4')
  • Vedran Corluka (74')
  • Alexander Tettey (81')

Croatia put five past Norway

Croatia claimed a comfortable 5-1 victory over Norway in an entertaining Euro 2016 qualifier at the Stadion Maksimir on Saturday.

The Group H leaders went three points clear at the top ahead of second-placed Italy's Saturday evening clash in Bulgaria thanks to goals from Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Ivica Olic, Gordon Schildenfeld and Danijel Pranjic, while they lost Vedran Corluka to a red card midway through the second half.

Tarik Elyounoussi missed a penalty for Norway with 20 minutes left and Alexander Tettey netted a consolation to leave them third, four points off the lead.

The hosts started the brightest and could have taken an early lead after just five minutes with two chances in quick succession.

The first came from midfielder Brozovic, whose powerful effort from just outside the 18-yard box was blocked, while Ivan Rakitic's resulting corner found the head of Olic in the centre of the box, but he sent the ball wide.

Defender Darijo Srna was next to test Norway 10 minutes later but visiting goalkeeper Orjan Nyland collected the veteran's cross before it became too much of a danger.

Norway were unfortunate to lose Hertha Berlin midfielder Per Ciljan Skjelbred to injury minutes later and he was replaced by Jone Samuelsen.

Moments later, Stefan Johansen came forward with the first half-chance for the away side before his attempt was safely collected by Croatia stopper Danijel Subasic.

Midway through the first half, Croatia close to breaking the deadlock but Brozovic fired his long-range curled effort over the bar before - down at the other end - Subasic did well to keep out Tom Hogli's drilled shot.

It was Croatia that took the lead with a fantastic opener on the half-hour mark as Olic's cross from the left found Brozovic 25 yards out and the 22-year-old made no mistake as he fired into the bottom corner.

Three Norway players, Martin Linnes, Havard Nordtveit and Omar Elabdellaoui were booked as their frustrations got the better of them and the half drew to a close.

The visitors almost netted an equaliser when the second half got underway but Johansen's curled effort from the right channel was kept out by the feet of Subasic, while Srna fired over for the home side.

Nine minutes in, Croatia were on target again as Rakitic picked out Perisic on the right of the penalty box and the latter slotted the ball in off the far post with a controlled shot to double his side's lead.

The hosts struck again after 66 minutes to make it difficult for their opponents to come back. Olic tapped home his close-range effort from Mario Mandzukic's header - somehow posting the ball between the legs of Nyland.

Less than five minutes later Norway were awarded a penalty after Corluka brought down Elyounoussi, which the latter struck onto the post as he failed the reduce the deficit.

Lokomotiv Moscow defender Corluka saw red not long after as he received his second booking, leaving the hosts with 10 men for the remaining 16 minutes.

Norway took advantage of their extra man and pulled a goal back thanks to Tettey's drilled long-range strike, but Croatia claimed a fourth from the head of second-half substitute Schildenfeld after 85 minutes.

Havard Nielsen and Mohamed Abdellaoue both tested Subasic late on but they could not add to their tally and, at the other end, Pranjic added the late gloss with a fine goal at the death, curling in from the edge of the box.