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Mandzukic hat-trick as six-goal Croatia crush Kosovo

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Football Soccer - Kosovo v Croatia - World Cup 2018 Qualifier - Loro Borici Stadium, Shkoder, Albania - 6/10/16. Fanol Perdedaj (R) and Avni Pepa of Kosovo and Mario Mandjukic of Croatia in action. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic
Football Soccer - Kosovo v Croatia - World Cup 2018 Qualifier - Loro Borici Stadium, Shkoder, Albania - 6/10/16. Fanol Perdedaj (R) and Avni Pepa of Kosovo and Mario Mandjukic of Croatia in action. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

(Reuters) - Mario Mandzukic grabbed a hat-trick as Croatia turned on the style to thump FIFA new boys Kosovo 6-0 in a World Cup Group I qualifier played in Shkodra, Albania on Thursday.

The Juventus forward struck in the sixth, 24th and 35th minutes to take his international goal tally to 27.

The other goals came from Matej Mitrovic in the 68th minute, Ivan Perisic after 83 and Nikola Kalinic in stoppage time.

It was the first 'home' qualifier for Kosovo since they were admitted as a member of world soccer's ruling body FIFA and European equivalent UEFA in May.

Kosovo's debut international, after declaring independence from Serbia in 2008, was a 1-1 draw with Group I rivals Finland last month.

Croatia, who have four points from two games, lead Iceland on goal difference at the top of the table. Ukraine are third on two points while Kosovo are bottom with one.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Tony Jimenez)


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