Perisic shines as Croatia edge Wales in Euro qualifier

Ivan Perisic (Getty Images)
Ivan Perisic (Getty Images)

Paris - World Cup runners-up Croatia moved to the top of their Euro 2020 qualifying group as Ivan Perisic starred in a clinical 2-1 victory over Wales in Osijek on Saturday.

Inter Milan winger Perisic was involved in both goals, setting up the first as James Lawrence deflected a cross into his own net and scored the second early into the final 45 minutes.

The three points served as a handy reaction for Zlatko Dalic's men who lost unexpectedly to Hungary in their last game in the campaign.

The Croats host Tunisia in a friendly on Tuesday as Wales head to Hungary to play Budapest.

The other game of the five-team group which also includes Slovakia on Saturday sees the Hungarians travelling to Azerbaijan.

The home side were gifted the game's opening goal after a quarter of an hour.

They broke on a counter-attack and Real Madrid's Luka Modric fed the influential Perisic in open space on the left hand-side.

The unmarked Perisic looked up and drilled his cross in the direction of forward Andreij Kramaric on the penalty spot but the back tracking Wales centre-back Lawrence's deflected pass beat Hennessey.

The Euro 2016 semi-finalists had a chance to equalise with four minutes of the first half to play.

Winger Daniel James, who agreed this week to join Manchester United looped a ball into the box, but Dinamo Zagreb keeper Livakovic tidied up his mistake.

The Croatians doubled their lead after less than three minutes of the second half.

Once again the Welsh midfield lost the ball sloppily, Joe Allen tracked back but his tackle fell straight to Perisic in the box and his low right-foot shot glided past Hennessey.

Wales substitute David Brooks halved the deficit with his first international goal on 77 minutes.

He teed up from outside the box and the powerful effort clipped Domagoj Vida's head to beat the flat-footed Livakovic.

Liverpool winger Wilson had the stand-out chance to bring the teams level late-on but his 88th minute back-post header flew over the crossbar.

Perisic left the field in stoppage time with a suspected foot injury.

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