Czech Republic hold Croatia
SAINT-ETIENNE, France (AP):
The Czech Republic salvaged a 2-2 draw with Croatia at the European Championship yesterday in a game temporarily suspended when flares were thrown onto the pitch and Croatia fans fought among themselves.
Against the run of play, the Czechs earned their first point of the competition with two late strikes from substitutes the first time at Euro 2016 that a team has come back from two goals down.
Tomas Necid scored the equaliser from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time after Domagoj Vida was penalised for a handball.
Goals from Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic had given Croatia a well-deserved 2-0 lead before Milan Skoda ensured a nervy finish when he pulled one back in the 76th minute with a powerful header from captain Tomas Rosicky's perfectly judged cross.
"What helped most was that we didn't give up. We didn't give up on the point and I'm really proud of all the players," Czech Republic coach Pavel Vrba said. "And the fans were not only our 12th player, but also our 13th and 14th player today, they pushed us on."
The game at Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint Etienne was stopped for a while before the Czech equaliser by Mark Clattenburg when flares were thrown onto the pitch from the Croatian fans' end and fights broke out in their stand. Ivan Rakitic and Croatia captain Darijo Srna were among those signalling to the fans to calm down.