Red card fear cuts Rangers defender's World Cup qualifier short with half-time substitution

Borna Barisic was substituted at half-time of Croatia's 1-0 defeat to Slovenia in their opening FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier.

And the Rangers left-back’s international boss Zlatko Dalic has revealed the reasons behind the replacement – he feared Barisic would be sent off if he wasn’t substituted.

Croatia already trailed at the interval when Dalic made the tactical move to ensure his defender would be eligible for the country’s further qualifiers with Cyprus and Malta next week with Barisic cautioned for a challenge on Josip Ilicic after 26 minutes and then on his last warning with referee Antonio Lahoz.

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The 28-year-old, capped 16 times and expected to feature for his country in this summer’s Euro 2020 Championships, was replaced by Dinamo Zagreb’s Mislav Oršić at the break.

The Croatian boss explained: “Barisic received a yellow card early and then committed a foul on the red card border and we had to react and make a change.

"I asked for more penetration on the left flank, with Oršić entering we wanted to fix it, so that [Ivan] Perišić came from the background and had space in front of him."

Barisic was not alone in being replaced at the interval on international duty – Old Firm rival Moi Elyounoussi was also a starter sacrificed halfway through Norway's 3-0 win over Gibraltar.

Kristoffer Ajer and Shane Duffy were unused international substitutes on the opening night of World Cup qualifying fixtures across Europe.

Slovenia's midfielder Josip Ilicic (L) fights for the ball with and Croatia's defender Borna Barisic during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H qualification football match between Slovenia and Croatia at The Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Slovenia's midfielder Josip Ilicic (L) fights for the ball with and Croatia's defender Borna Barisic during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H qualification football match between Slovenia and Croatia at The Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Rangers’ Glen Kamara was the only Scottish-based player to complete 90 minutes on Wednesday night. The midfielder featured in the entirety of Finland’s 2-2 draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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