ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) Croatia took control of Group I in the 2018 World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 victory over Ukraine as their fans had a first chance to celebrate a victory at the Maksimir Stadium.
It was the first home match Croatia was allowed to play in front of their fans in the campaign. FIFA had ordered the stadium in the capital to be closed to fans when Croatia hosted Turkey and Iceland last year as punishment for previous incidents of racism and disorder.
Croatia opened a three-point lead, midway through the qualifying, with 13 points from five games and four straight wins. Croatia didn't concede a single goal in those victories as a team known for its creative power also developed a reliable defense.
Nikola Kalinic scored the only goal of the match in the 38th minute, firing high into the net after a good move from midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
Croatia and Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic hit the post in the first half.
After what was the first defeat for coach Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine was on eight points together with Turkey, two behind Iceland in second.
Also in Group I:
TURKEY 2, FINLAND 0
Forward Cenk Tosun struck twice in four minutes to keep Turkey in contention to reach the 2018 World Cup.
Tosun needed just nine minutes to find the back of the net with his first from close range and headed in the second just four minutes later. The forward, who has scored 20 for Besiktas this season, has a total of five goals for Turkey.
Perparim Hetemaj hit the post late in the first half in Finland's best chance.
KOSOVO 1, ICELAND 2
Kosovo's misery in its first major qualifying competition continued with a fourth straight defeat.
The match was played in Albania's Shkoder as Kosovo does not have a FIFA-certified stadium.
Kosovo looked determined to record its first win in the opening stages and showed some decent attacking effort, with Valon Berisha's shot bouncing off the bar. But the visitors began to expose Kosovo's weakness in defense, something they did to their opponents at last year's European Championship in France.
Iceland took the lead in the 25th. Kosovo goalkeeper Samir Ujkani parried Gylfi Sigurdsson's attempt but only suceeeded in deflecting the ball to the feet of Bjorn Sigurdarson, who tapped in from six yards for his first international goal.
Sigurdsson doubled the lead 10 minutes later from the penalty spot.
Kosovo didn't give in. It had a goal disallowed early in the second half before Atdhe Nuhiu headed in in the 52nd in his first international game to please the roaring fans.
It was only Kosovo's second goal in the qualifying. Berisha had scored its first at Finland from the spot.
Kosovo pressured till the end but Iceland held firm.
Kosovo and Finland have a point each at the bottom of the table.