Football: Croatia hold Yugoslavia in first meeting

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YUGOSLAVIA AND Croatia drew 0-0 in a politically-charged Euro 2000 qualifier in Belgrade yesterday, the first match between the two sides.

A power failure early in the second half raised tensions by plunging the stadium into darkness but the atmosphere calmed once play resumed.

Predrag Mijatovic almost gave Yugoslavia the lead in the opening minute when he hit the post from close range, but the visitors regained their composure midway through the first half and struck the woodwork twice themselves before the interval.

Impatient fans began shouting anti-government slogans when the lights failed - including calling for the Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, to resign.

Tear gas was thrown into the crowd and fans began rushing towards the gates. Police donned gas masks but later removed them as the gas dispersed. It was not immediately clear who had thrown it.

The draw kept undefeated Yugoslavia top of Group Eight on 10 points. Croatia moved to third with eight, one point behind Ireland.

Slovenia can start thinking of securing second place in Group Two behind Norway and a place in the play-offs as they are now three points clear of third-placed Latvia.

Zlatko Zahovic shot home their first goal after 49 minutes and Milan Osterc got the second with a great header 10 minutes from time.

There were no goals but plenty of action in Copenhagen where Denmark drew with the Netherlands in a friendly match. The Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert missed two great chances, while Denmark's best effort came from Jon Dal Tomasson.

Belgium, who co-host Euro2000 with the Dutch, were beaten 4-3 at home by improving Finland, Belgium's fourth straight home defeat. Rangers' Jonatan Johansson hit two for the Finns with Jarkko Wiss and Mika Lehkosuo also on target.