Niko Kranjcar’s injury a headache for Croatia

Zagreb, May 26 (IANS): Saturday was a day for celebration in Croatian camp in the Austrian resort of Bad Tatzmannsdorf after Luka Modric won UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and Niko Kranjcar earned a promotion to English Premier League with Queens Park Rangers.

Yet, there was some bad news Sunday, as well. Kranjcar started the play-off match against Derby County at Wembley Stadium but in the 33rd minute he was forced to leave the field due to injury, reports Xinhua.

Everybody in Croatian camp, including coach Niko Kovac, hope that Kranjcar left the field as a precaution after he felt a pain in his hamstring.

Kranjcar will have MRI on his injured leg Monday in Zagreb and after the exam, medical staff will evaluate his status.

This could be one more blow for Kovac’s team as he already lost left-back Ivan Strinic and forward Ivo Ilicevic due to injuries.

The 29-year old Kranjcar is an experienced, one of only five footballers from current squad that represented Croatia at its last World Cup appearance in Germany 2006. His creativity would be a big asset in the Croatian midfield and his ability of sharp shooting would be a clear danger for Croatia’s opponents.

There were also some good news for Kovac from his medical staff. Team captain, 32-year old Darijo Srna was not seriously injured in his last match of the season for Donetsk Shakhtar and that 24-year-old defender Domagoj Vida from Dynamo Kyiv, who sustained the injury in the same match as Srna, will be back to full strength in a day or two.

Croatian team continues to work hard with two practice sessions scheduled for each day.

“We have to use time that we will spend here to work both on tactics and physical preparation of our players. I am very satisfied how the players reacted so far in the practice,” Kovac said Sunday.

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