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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
England U21s 0-3 Croatia U21s
England U21s 0-3 Croatia U21s

Jermaine Pennant, of Arsenal, is sent off during the England U-21s loss to Croatia at Upton Park
Pennant is sent off

Arsenal winger Jermaine Pennant was sent off as England slumped to a disheartening defeat at Upton Park.

With a double header of European Championship qualifiers against Macedonia and Portugal to come next month, this was not the result England boss David Platt wanted.

Goran Ljubojevic scored twice for Croatia, with Danijel Pranjic adding a third in injury time.

Pennant was red-carded just after the hour mark when his arm connected with the cheek of Niko Kranjcar in an off-the-ball incident.

The home side had started well, with Jermain Defoe shooting just wide after a neat one-two with Francis Jeffers after six minutes.

KEY MOMENTS
11 mins: Ljubojevic scores for Croatia
52: Ljubojevic extends the visitors' lead
61: Pennant sent-off for England
90: Pranjic adds Croatia's third

The visitors took the lead five minutes later when Ljubojevic angled a shot past keeper Matt Murray.

Pennant hit the post from a narrow angle before Croatia were also denied by the woodwork when an inswinging free-kick came back off the crossbar.

Jeffers spurned two chances to level for England while Defoe had a goal incorrectly rule out for offside.

Glen Johnson almost scored an own goal on his return to Upton Park following his 6m summer switch to Chelsea, but Murray tipped the ball over.

Croatia continually threatened to add a second as the home team searched for a leveller and duly did so shortly after the interval when Ljubojevic stabbed home from close range.

Pranjic then completed the scoring with time running out.


England: Murray, Johnson, Konchesky, Prutton, Parnaby, Clarke, Pennant, Jenas, Jeffers, Defoe, Barry. Subs: Evans, Hibbert, Jagielka, Sidwell, O'Neil, Tonge, Ambrose, Carlton Cole, Bent, Grant.

Croatia: Vranjic, Buljat, Pranjic, Jese, Lucic, Drpic, Tomic, Carevic, Ljubojevic, Kranjcar, Klic. Subs: Sarlija, Bozic, Mikulic, Dudicin, Cosic, Zahora, Brkic, Zgela.

Referee: Tommy Skjerven (Norway).







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