Domagoj Vida's late strike took Croatia to the top of UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 7 as they triumphed 2-1 in Slovakia to leapfrog their opponents.
As in their victory over Cyprus at the weekend, Croatia fielded a strong lineup and it was full internationals Ivan Rakitić and Nikola Kalinić who created the early danger in Zlate Moravce. FC Schalke 04 midfielder Rakitić actually missed from the penalty spot on 27 minutes following Martin Cseh's foul on Vida but made up for that lapse almost immediately, his brilliant pass setting up Kalinić to break the deadlock.
The locals had to wait until three minutes before the break for their first real chance, Miroslav Stoch forcing Ivan Kelava to keep out his free-kick, but drew level three minutes after the restart when Jakub Sylvestr turned in substitute Róbert Mak's cross from the right. Dražen Ladić's charges nonetheless went on to claim their fourth straight victory when Vida collected a pass from Kalinić and scored. Despite losing Mario Maloča to a second yellow card in added time, Croatia held on and move two points clear of their hosts.