Scotland Under-21s need to overcome a two-goal deficit in the second leg of their EURO2004 play-off, after losing 2-0 to Croatia Under-21s in Varazdin. Rainer Bonhof had to make do without injured first-choice keeper Derek Soutar, with Hearts' Craig Gordon deputising. Scotland made a disastrous start in the Varteks stadium as Marko Babic cracked home a volley from Mladen Petric's cut-back just on the seven minutes mark. Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Goran Ljubojevic clinically beat Gordon following Danijel Pranjic's cross.Scotland continued to struggle and nine minutes before the interval Gordon did well to tip away Petric's curling cross-shot.
After the break, sub Shaun Maloney pepped up the visitors' attack, with Brian Kerr firing an early shot wide of target. Gary Caldwell forced home keeper Tomislav Vranjic into a rare save, before Kevin Kyle headed straight at Vranjic from a clear chance. Skipper Ian Murray shot wide when well placed on the hour and Maloney drove a free-kick over the crossbar as the hosts earned a valuable first-leg advantage. Ljubojevic and Petric both could have added to the lead, but the result leaves Scotland with a mountain to climb in the return at Easter Road on Tuesday. Prices for the return leg are just £5 for adults and £2 for children. Tickets can be bought in advance at Safeway stores, or pay at the gate. Kick-off is , and the match will also be shown live on Sky Sports.