Ike Orazi had given Ireland an early lead but an equaliser by Lovo Chelfi and a late winner from Duje Matic were enough to turn the game around. Jason Donohue’s side will play in a play-off on Sunday to determine their final spot in the tournament.
Ireland, heading into their third game in three days, were coming off the back of an impressive 6-0 win over Uzbekistan yesterday.
Their confidence showed as they made the dream start after six minutes when Orazi played a one-two with Afi Adebayo and kept his composure to slot home.
The young Boys in Green were dominant in their play with the attacking three of Orazi, Adebayo and Kyle Fitzgerald causing the hosts problems in the early stages.
However Croatia were to equalise seven-minutes later against the run of play. The home side were able to penetrate the Irish backline with a through ball and while Jack Ellis saved the first effort Chelfi was able to head home the rebound for 1-1.
In the second half Ireland had a chance to go in front when Ivan Graminschii crossed to the back post for Sean Tully. The UCD defender’s header went towards Bez Agbontaen whose goal-bound effort was somehow kept out by Teo Kolar.
But the hosts would complete the turnaround in the 73rd minute when Matic turned in a cross from the right wing to make it 2-1.
Christian Donlon-Goncalves had a chance to equalise in the last minute but unfortunately it went narrowly wide and Croatia were able to hold on for the win.
Croatia advance to the final and Ireland will have to wait discover their opponent on Sunday.
Croatia: Kolar, Mikic, Millisic, Bakovic, Zebic, Puljic, Matic, Simic, Cular, Chelfi, Grgic
Substitutes: Rajic, Bosancic, Durdov, Sokac, Pfeifer, Pavlovic, Tomic, Simurina, Perko, Cutuk, Ora
Republic of Ireland: Ellis, Roche, Tully, Harnett, Graminschii (O’Donnell, 71), O’Sullivan, Sean Moore, Chan (McAndrew 61), Orazi (Hamilton, 61), Adebayo (Agbontaen, 41), Fitzgerald (Donlon-Goncalves, 41)
Referee: Jasmin Horvat (Croatia)
International MU15 friendly fixtures
Sunday, May 15 | Republic of Ireland MU15 v TBC, Play-Offs