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Flares, stewards and a handball; Chaotic end in Croatia, Czech Republic draw

Czech Republic v Croatia - Group D: UEFA Euro 2016

SAINT-ETIENNE, FRANCE - JUNE 17: A fire marshal reacts after fireworks are thrown onto the pitch during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group D match between Czech Republic and Croatia at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on June 17, 2016 in Saint-Etienne, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Part of the Croatian end of the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne was emptied by stewards after fans threw flares onto the field during the EURO 2016 between Croatia and the Czech Republic on Friday.

The added time helped give the Czechs a chance to equalize, as a Domagoj Vida handball gave them a PK that Tomas Necid buried to level it 2-2.

One steward on the field appeared to be hit by an exploding flare, and ran off the field. The match was held up for several minutes, and it briefly looked like referee Mark Clattenburg would lead the teams off the field with minutes to play.

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Ivan Perisic scored in the first half and Ivan Rakitic added one in the second as Croatia moved into first place in Group D by a single point before Spain plays Turkey at 3 p.m. ET.

Milan Skoda pulled one back for the Czechs in the 76th minute with a looping header from distance before the penalty evened things up. The Czechs move into third place, one point ahead of Turkey.

Croatia certainly had more moments of attacking danger early, but were a hair off on several occasions.

Whether not getting enough power on a header or Ivan Perisic’s slide missing Mario Mandzukic’s cross, the first 20 minutes were close without success for Vatreni.

Perisic was the first to break through, carrying into the 18 before hammering a low shot past Petr Cech.

He then set up Rakitic’s goal, slipping the ball onto the path of the Barcelona man’s razor-sharp run. Rakitic chipped a splayed Cech to make it 2-0.

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