Croatian First League Returns with Hajduk v. Inter Zapresic at Poljud

June 5, 2020 - After a nearly three-month break due to COVID-19, the Croatian Football League returned on Friday for the 27th round match between Hajduk and Inter Zapresic at Poljud. TCN was there. 

While the football season in Croatia continued with the semifinals of the Croatian Cup last weekend, football fans in Croatia could hardly wait for the return of the Croatian Championship. The last game of the Croatian First League was played on March 9, when Lokomotiva celebrated in Gorica 3:1.

Exactly 88 days later, Hajduk was hungry for points to ensure second place and the Champions League qualifiers against the second-to-last place Inter, a club fighting to stay alive. Hajduk had celebrated in seven consecutive games against Zapresic in Split before tonight.

TCN reported live from a much quieter Poljud on Friday, as only journalists and a select few others were invited to witness the return of Hajduk outside of club members. Temperatures were checked upon entering the stadium, and no dilly-dallying was allowed - you were meant to go straight to your seat once inside. 

The pre-game protocol was also a bit different for players, who were not allowed to line-up or touch hands before kick-off. 

While the raging jugo wind and quiet stands didn't help either side on Friday, Hajduk dominated most of the first half - and Torcida even found a way to cheer outside of the stadium in the 25th minute - with fireworks! 

Unfortunately, Torcida's display couldn't help much - Inter's Mamut scored from a free-kick in the 37th minute for 0:1, which was how the first half ended. 

The ref consulted VAR in the 56th minute which saw a Hajduk penalty and a red card for Inter's Soldo. Caktas missed, though was given a second chance after the ref called that the keeper was off his line. Caktas scored this time for 1:1. 

Hajduk spent the remainder of the match in Inter's half, missing key chances for 2:1. And then it happened in the 7th minute of added time - Dimitrov scored for 2:1, which was the final score of the game. 

Slaven Belupo and Gorica will play on Saturday at 7 pm, and Varaždin and Dinamo at 9 pm, while the matches between Istra 1961 - Rijeka and Lokomotiva - Osijek will end the round on Sunday.

The Championship continues without spectators, but since the epidemiological situation in Croatia is good, the return of fans to the stadiums can be expected.

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

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