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Mandzukic strikes again as Croats hold Italy

POZNAN ( Poland): Mario Mandzukic’s third goal of Euro 2012 saw Croatia come from behind to draw 1-1 with Italy in their Group C match on Thursday.

Mandzukic strikes again as Croats hold Italy

Andrea Pirlo had give the Italians the lead in the first-half but Mandzukic’s goal in the second-half saw the Croats take a step towards the quarterfinals as they moved onto four points after two games.Italy, who could end up in a repeat of Euro 2004 when they didn’t lose a group match but still went out at the first hurdle, are on two points and still without a win since last November.A stunning 39th minute freekick by 2006 World Cup winning playmaker Pirlo had separated the sides at half-time.Italy – who drew 1-1 with defending champions Spain in their opening game – would have been ahead before that but for Croatian ‘keeper Stipe Pletikosa making two point blank saves from Claudio Marchisio.The Croatians had a decent appeal for a penalty turned down by referee Howard Webb when Nikica Jelavic went down in the box under a challenge by Giorgio Chiellini.However, a fairly listless second-half was brought to life in the 72nd minute as Chiellini fatally failed to head away Ivan Strinic’s cross and it found Mario Mandzukic, who controlled the ball brilliantly and fired past Gianluigi Buffon from close range.Spain play pointless Ireland later on Thursday in Gdansk.

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