Mario Mandzukic is at the center of a critical game for Croatia. A score from Mandzukic in the 27th minute put Croatia ahead of Iceland in the second leg of a UEFA World Cup playoff at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb on Tuesday, 1-0.
But the Bayern Munich striker was also red-carded in the 38th minute.
The scoring play began with midfielder Ivan Rakitic’s cross from the left side. The ball found its way to Ivan Perisic, who failed to get a clean kick, but it landed near Mandzukic, who took advantage of his good fortune. The star forward had no problem finding the back of the net with an uncontested shot that goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson could nothing about.
Iceland still have a solid chance to advance. They will be playing a 10-man Croatian squad for the next 45 minutes, and a 1-1 result would mean that Iceland would advance to the World Cup through away goals.
Croatia have dominated the first 45 minutes. They have out-shot Iceland 12 to three. Iceland only have one shot on target. Niko Kovac’s squad has also dominated possession at 66 percent. Iceland have not had a corner kick in the match.
Ivica Olic received an early yellow card for Croatia, while Ragnar Sigurdsson earned a yellow just before the halftime whistle.
An IB Times staff reporter contributed to this report.