Makeshift Croatia hold Turkey to 3-3 friendly draw

·2-min read

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A makeshift Croatia side missing several regular starters held Turkey to a rollercoaster 3-3 draw in an entertaining friendly on Wednesday ahead of top-tier Nations League games against Sweden and Portugal.

With one eye on Saturday's visit to Sweden and Tuesday's home game against the Portuguese in Group 3, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic picked several fringe players who impressed in the Turkish capital.

Cenk Tosun fired Turkey ahead with a 23rd-minute penalty before Croatia's third-choice striker Ante Budimir took advantage of some sloppy defending and levelled with a dinked finish from 13 metres in the 32nd.

Deniz Turuc put the home side back in front shortly before halftime, beating reserve goalkeeper Simon Sluga with a superb shot from a tight angle into the far corner after racing away from Domagoj Vida down the left flank.

World Cup runners-up Croatia roared back shortly after halftime with two goals in the space of three minutes, with Mario Pasalic grabbing a 53rd-minute equaliser from eight metres at the far post after Josip Brekalo's low cross fizzed across the face of goal.

Marauding wing-back Brekalo then got on the scoresheet, popping up to meet a Marko Rog cross from the left with a glancing header at the near post.

A frantic five-minute spell which produced a flurry of goals was completed when Cengiz Under hauled Turkey level in the 58th, capping a flowing move with a rasping shot from the edge of the area after he was teed up by Tosun.

Turkey, who are competing in Group 3 of the second tier of the Nations League, are at home to Russia on Sunday before they visit Hungary next Wednesday.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis)