Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Dinamo Falls to Manchester City, Eliminated from Champions League

December 11, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb and Manchester City met for the final Group C game of the Champions League on Wednesday at Maksimir Stadium. 

The Zagreb club had the chance to achieve another incredible result in the final game of the Champions League group stage, though their opponent was no piece of cake - Manchester City. 

Dinamo came out with a lineup boasting Livaković, Stojanović, Ademi (C), Dilaver, Moubandje, Gojak, Moro, Olmo, Kadzior, Oršić, and Petković. Manchester City, on the other hand, came out with Bravo, Cancelo, Garcia, Otamendi (C), Mendy, Rodri, Gündogan, Foden, Silva, Mahrez, and Jesus. One thing was certain - Dinamo needed a win against City to secure a spot in the Round of 16. 

Dinamo and City kicked off at 6:55 on Wednesday to a sold-out Maksimir Stadium - and the atmosphere was buzzing despite the cold. The Zagreb club was aggressive at the start while City held back and waited for a counterattack. 

However, it was Dinamo to shock Zagreb when Olmo scored for 1:0 in the 10th minute! The goal certainly woke City up, and they continued to press aggressively for the next 20 minutes. Dinamo’s defense remained stable, that is until the 34th minute when Gabriel Jesus scored the equalizer. The game was now 1:1.

Moments before the half, Gojak's nasty elbow to Rodrigo's cheek should have been a red card, though the ref failed to consult VAR - and Dinamo was lucky.

All in all, Dinamo played bravely throughout the half and managed to hold their own. The game ended 1:1 at the half. 

The second half, unfortunately, didn't get off to the best start for the Zagreb side. Already in the 50th minute, Jesus scored for 1:2 City - and four minutes after that, Jesus secured a hat trick for 1:3. 

City made their first change in the 66th minute - Zinchenko came in for Gabriel Jesus, the hero of the night.

City maintained 71% possession of the game, and it wasn't long for them to score again. Foden made it 1:4 in the 83rd minute. 

With this loss against City and Atalanta's win against Shakhtar, Dinamo has been eliminated from the Champions League and will not compete in the Europa League this spring. 

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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Dinamo Must Improve Poor Record against English Clubs, Beat Manchester City for Spot in Round of 16

December 10, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb is facing Premier League champions Manchester City in the final group stage game of the Champions League on Wednesday. The only way for the Croatian side to join their visitors in the Champions League round of 16 is to beat them while Shakhtar mustn’t win at home against Atalanta. 

Over the weekend, Nenad Bjelica’s side won 1:0 on Friday against Varazdin and extended their league lead over second-placed Hajduk to nine points, while City lost 2:1 at home to their city rivals Manchester United and are now 14 points behind Liverpool who sit comfortably at the top. Despite the bad form in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s team is still considered to be one of the favorites to win the Champions League this season, so a hard task is in front Dinamo who have not won in the competition since a 4:0 home success against Atalanta on Matchday 1. 

While Dinamo is unbeaten in ten home European fixtures, a 2:1 defeat of Arsenal in Zagreb in September 2015 is Dinamo's only win against an English club in 12 previous fixtures, home and away with three successive defeats preceding the victory against the Gunners. Even though City have secured the top spot of Group C, Guardiola insists it will be senior first-team players who will feature in Croatia rather than the kids. 

"[Two years ago] we traveled to Shakhtar already qualified, we fought until the end, 2:0 down and then 2:1, we had chances at the end. We’re going to travel with the intention to win, but you need a real urgency to do that, but to respect Shakhtar and Atalanta we have to do it." 

When the Citizens and Dinamo went head to head at the Etihad in October, the Premier League champions fought hard for the 2:0 victory and scored the only goals of the game through the substitutes Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden in the second half. The brave display of Bjelica’s side away from home against one of the best teams in the world could mean that there is still hope for an upset in Zagreb. 

Furthermore, Dinamo have lost only one home game since April 2018 (W36 D6), the 2:1 loss to Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League play-off second leg in August 2018, but City are unbeaten in Group C so far, though two consecutive draws have taken the shine off their initial dominance in the tournament. On paper, it might seem like an easy task for City, but with the help from a sold-out crowd of almost 30,000 Dinamo might have the final word. 

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Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Champions League: Dinamo Zagreb Falls to Atalanta in Italy (2:0)

November 26, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb met Atalanta in Bergamo, Italy on Tuesday for the penultimate game of the Champions League group stage. 

Dinamo Zagreb played their fifth round of the Champions League group stage against Atalanta at the legendary Giuseppe Meazza Stadium at 9 pm. 

The calculations were clear before the match - a point was enough for Dinamo to secure at least a third place in the group, that is, for their second consecutive European spring. 

Dinamo was without the suspended Nikola Moro on Tuesday, though the good news was that captain Arian Ademi, Mario Gavranovic, and Amer Gojak returned to the squad.  Coach Nenad Bjelica thus went out with Livakovic, Theophile, Dilaver, Peric, Stojanovic, Leovac, Ademi, Ivanusec, Olmo, Orsic, and Petkovic. 

Atalanta came out in the match knowing it was all or nothing, and a win was their only option on Tuesday. In the first five minutes, Atalanta already had a handful of dangerous attacks, which Dinamo was lucky to escape without conceding a goal. 

Atalanta’s aggression did not fizzle throughout the first half, though Dinamo had their fair few chances when the headers of Stojanovic and Orsic missed the goal.

But Atalanta finally had their chance in the 27th minute when Dinamo defender Dino Peric’s leg wrapped around Luis Muriel for a penalty. Atalanta was up 1:0. 

Dinamo’s defense continued in shambles - and they were lucky Atalanta missed three gifts from the Croatian backline. However, a brilliant shot by Orsic in the 35th minute hit the Atalanta crossbar. 

Atalanta was anxious for a goal and took nearly any shot they could with the hope that it’d hit the back of the net. The game, fortunately for Dinamo, ended 1:0 at the half. 

Dinamo saw perhaps the worst start to the second half they have had in several seasons. Their shaky defense once again to blame, as Alejandro Gomez scored for 2:0. 

Atalanta’s attacking game did not slow down as the second half continued - and Dinamo's drive dwindled. Atalanta had several unlucky chances, while Dinamo was dangerous maybe twice. This was not the Croatian champion we knew. 

By the 86th minute, Atalanta had taken their ninth corner of the match. 

The referee signaled to three minutes of added time, in which two corners for Dinamo proved unsuccessful. One last (and almost promising) Dinamo attack in the final minute kept us on our seat, but the match ended 2:0 for Atalanta.

Dinamo will host Manchester City next on December 11, 2019. 

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Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Champions League: Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Draw 3:3 at Maksimir Stadium

November 6, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhar met in the dramatic fourth round of Champions League Group C on Wednesday at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb. 

Dinamo Zagreb met Shakhtar on Wednesday for perhaps the most crucial match in the club’s recent history. A win would carry Dinamo on the road to the round of the 16. 

Ahead of Wednesday’s games, Manchester City led Group C with nine points. Dinamo and Shakhtar shared second place with four points each, with the Croatian champion having a better goal-differential, while Atalanta was in the last place. 

Dinamo came out with their full lineup on Wednesday, featuring Livakovic in goal, Theophile-Catherine, Dilvaer, and Perić in the defense, Stojanovic, Olmo, Moro, Ademi (captain), and Leovac in the midfield, and Orsic and Petkovic up top. 

Shakhtar was the first to threaten Dinamo when Taison fired from 20 meters out, though the ball went past the right of the goal. Shakhtar looked stronger from the start, and their momentum carried them to the first goal of the game. In the 13th minute, Alan Patrick scored for 0:1 Shakhtar. 

Dinamo’s first real chance of the game came in the 19th minute when an excellent through ball by Theophile-Catherine found the boot of Petkovic on the penalty area, though Petkovic shot weakly at the keeper. 

Petkovic’s chance came not long after, and a brilliant cross from Theophile-Catherine found Petkovic’s head for the equalizer. The game was 1:1 in the 25th minute.

Dinamo was awarded a free-kick from 20 meters out in the 33rd minute, though Orsic hit high over the goal. The Zagreb club was playing more open and calm after they equalized, and were continuing to threaten Shakthar’s goal. 

But Shakhtar wasn’t shying away from Dinamo’s goal either. Another chance for Alan Patrick resulted in a corner, though Shakhtar failed to capitalize. 

Two penalties were in question for Dinamo moments later, though referee Felix Brych called for the game to play on, which put Dinamo’s team and bench in hysterics. The game ended 1:1 at the half accompanied by the whistles of Dinamo fans.

The second half began with no changes on either side. 

Dinamo came out attacking at the start of the second half though Shakhtar’s defense remained solid. A dangerous Shakhtar attack in the 58th minute proved unsuccessful, though a quick counter by Dinamo saw Leovac hit the crossbar. 

Moraes shot on goal for Shakhtar in the 71st, though Livakovic had no difficulties defending. Dinamo made their first substitution in the 71st minute - Ivanusec came on for Stojanovic. 

But Dinamo’s luck wore thin just a few minutes later when Nikola Moro was given his second yellow card of the game. Dinamo had to play with a man down from the 73rd minute. 

A quick attack by Shakhtar almost resulted in their second goal of the match, though the game remained 1:1. 

However, Dinamo had their dose of luck in the 79th minute when Moraes was shown his second yellow of the match. Both teams were playing with ten men for the final 10 minutes. It didn't take long for the momentum of the game to change.

Dinamo coach Nenad Bjelica confirmed he made the right call by subbing in Ivanusec in the second half, who went to score his first-ever Champions League goal in the 83rd minute for the Dinamo lead. The game was now 2:1. 

But Dinamo wasn't done yet. An incredible play by Dani Olmo found Ademi across the box for 3:1 in the 89th minute! The referee added five minutes of injury time.

Shakhtar managed their second goal in the third minute of injury time for 3:2, and a dramatic final minute saw Shakhtar awarded a penalty, which Tete scored for the equalizer. The game ended 3:3 in Zagreb. 

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Friday, 1 November 2019

City of Zagreb and Dinamo Reach Agreement on New Maksimir Stadium

November 1, 2019 - The representatives of the City of Zagreb and the football club Dinamo Zagreb agreed at a meeting on Thursday that a new Maksimir stadium would be built on the site of the existing stadium.

Gol.hr reports that a meeting between representatives of the City of Zagreb and representatives of football club Dinamo Zagreb was held on Thursday, where they decided to build a new stadium on the site of the existing Maksimir Stadium. The new stadium would be built in partnership between the City and the Zagreb club. 

While there has been a lot of talk over the past year about building a new stadium in the Croatian capital, it seems that Thursday’s meeting has finally taken a step to move things forward. 

The press release from the city office reads in its entirety:

"The Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Milan Bandic, and his associates met at the City Administration today with representatives of GNK Dinamo, led by President Mirko Barisic and President of the Executive Board Vlatka Peras, and discussed plans to build a new Maksimir football stadium.

It was concluded that this space is viewed as a complex entity through an urban competition that will resolve the issue of a football stadium with auxiliary grounds and an athletic stadium with the appropriate infrastructure.

It was agreed that Dinamo would make a final decision at its Assembly with clear guidelines defined by FIFA and UEFA about the standards for the construction of a new stadium at the site.

It was also defined that the new stadium project would be built in partnership between the City and GNK Dinamo.

Following the decision of the Dinamo Assembly, further steps can be taken regarding the realization of this historical project that is extremely important for Dinamo - an icon of Zagreb sport, essential for the city of Zagreb, its sports memory, and for all Zagreb and sports fans," concludes the statement by the City of Zagreb.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Champions League: Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Draw in Kharkiv (2:2)

October 22, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk met in the third round of Champions League Group C on Tuesday in Kharkiv as one of the key matches for the Croatian champion in the prestigious European competition this season. The winner would open the doors to the round of 16. 

Dinamo coach Nenad Bjelica had minor problems with player injuries on Tuesday. However, captain Ademi started from the first minute, while Petkovic started on the bench with Gavranovic in his place. The Croatian champion played in a 5-4-1 formation with three stoppers, and Olmo and Orsic playing the wings.

Shakhtar came out attacking from the start, with a dangerous play in Dinamo’s box within the first minute. However, it didn’t take long for the Zagreb side to find their form, maintain possession and move for the attack. Dinamo did, however, commit four fouls by the 10th minute, with Stojanović booked for a yellow. 

Shakhtar picked up their attacking game again with another dangerous play in the 13th minute, which was cleared out by Dinamo’s defense for a corner. While they were unlucky then, Shakhtar finally had their chance in the 16th minute for 1:0. 

Conceding the goal seemed to be the wake-up call the Zagreb side needed, who continued to press in Shakhtar’s half for the following five minutes. After Gavranovic failed to finish in the box, Orsic took the ball down the left wing to find the boot of Spanish wonder kid Dani Olmo for the equalizer. The game was 1:1 in the 24th minute. 

Both sides had chances in the minutes that follow as the intensity of the game increased. The game was equal, though Shakhtar maintained slightly better possession (55%). 

Dinamo opened the second half with a stellar chance in the 49th minute when Olmo hit the crossbar. Shakhtar’s defense had to save their goal from Olmo yet again in the 55th. Moments later, a penalty was awarded to Dinamo, which Orsic scored for 1:2. 

Shakhtar had an epic chance to make it 2:2 in the 65th minute, but Moraes just missed. In the 75th minute, however, Shakhtar’s Dodo equalized for 2:2. 

Olmo was unlucky in the final minute of regulation time and the game ended 2:2. 

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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Champions League: Manchester City Tops Dinamo Zagreb 2:0 at Etihad Stadium

October 1, 2019 - Manchester City was better than Dinamo Zagreb (2:0) at Etihad Stadium in the second round of the Champions League on Tuesday. 

Dinamo Zagreb met Manchester City in the second round of the Champions League Group C on Tuesday at Etihad Stadium. Recall, Dinamo topped Atalanta 4:0 in Zagreb in the first round. Both teams secured three points after their first-round matches. 

Dinamo coach Nenad Bjelica had no problem with injured players for Tuesday’s match, while Pep Guardiola was left without Kevin de Bruyne, one of his best. Furthermore, the famous coach still could not count on the John Stones - Aymeric Laporte stopper duo.

Dinamo once again came out with three stoppers. As against Atalanta, in front of Livakovic was Theophile, Peric, and Dilaver, with Stojanovic and Leovac as the backs. In the midfield were Moro, Ademi, Olmo, and Orsic with Petkovic on offense.

Over 1,500 fans traveled from Zagreb to see the spectacle against the Premier League champions. 

Dinamo held their own in the first half, which ended without goals thanks to a stellar defense that made sure Aguero, Mahrez, and David Silva saw none of Dinamo's goal. 

 

However, whether Dinamo would be able to keep up this stamina in the second half was in question. 

While Dinamo had a few chances to attack at the beginning of the first half, which failed to come to fruition thanks to careless mistakes, City piled on the pressure and put Dinamo’s defense to work much harder than in the first. 

Guardiola subbed Raheem Sterling on for Bernardo Silva in the 57th minute in the hope of some action, and you could tell the celebrated coach was uneasy his side hadn't scored yet.

But then it finally happened for City in the 66th minute - Raheem Sterling scored for 1:0. City dominated and held the majority of the possession in the second half, and Dinamo struggled to get past the halfway line. Dinamo's defense continued denying some of football's biggest players, though a quick counter in extra-time saw Phil Foden score for 2:0, which was the final score of the game. 

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Thursday, 29 August 2019

Champions League Draw: Dinamo Zagreb in Group C with Manchester City

August 29, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb will play in Group C against Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Atalanta. 

On Thursday in Monte Carlo, the Champions League draw was held at 6 pm, reports Gol.hr.

Croatian champion Dinamo also took part in the draw. The Zagreb club has yet another historic opportunity to compete in the elite club competition, a competition it has already participated in seven times.

Dinamo was placed in the third strongest group and could not be drawn with Lyon, Bayer Leverkusen, Red Bull Salzburg, Olympiakos, Club Brugge, Valencia, and Inter.

Thus, Dinamo was drawn into Group C with Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Atalanta.

The Champions League group stage will be played in the following terms:

1st Round: 17-18 September

2nd Round: 1-2 October

3rd Round: 22-23 October

4th Round: 5-6 November 

5th Round: 26-27 November 

6th Round: 10-11 December 

During the draw, the best players of the Champions League last season were also announced. Namely, the best goalkeeper is Alisson Becker, the best defender went to Virgil Van Dijk, best midfielder to Frenkie de Jong, and best forward to Lionel Messi. The UEFA President's Award went to Eric Cantona.

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Thursday, 29 August 2019

New Stadium for Maksimir? Dinamo and City of Zagreb Partner Up

Could the famous Maksimir stadium in Zagreb soon be bidding us farewell in favour of a brand new construction?  As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of August, 2019, by all accounts, it seems that the City of Zagreb and Dinamo Zagreb are embarking on a joint action to build a brand new stadium in place of the current one.

After Dinamo's recent move to the Champions League, club president Mirko Barišić made a statement to the press.

"The decision is that Dinamo stays on at Maksimir, an entire complex is being constructed. The construction of an athletic stadium in Svetice is one, and an underground garage is being built. This stadium is being demolished and a new one is being built," he announced to the public in a very straightforward manner.

Zagreb's longtime Mayor Milan Bandić also commented on this topic.

"Dinamo sent the proposal the other day. Talks and arrangements will follow. The City of Zagreb will build the most beautiful stadium suitable for the 21st century at the existing stadium's location. It will create the best athletic track in Svetice, one of an Olympic scale, and we have already made the pool," the mayor stated encouragingly.

Could the widely celebrated Dinamo Zagreb soon be playing in one of the most beautiful stadium's possible, in Mayor Bandić's own words? As with the majority of other projects in Zagreb, which without mentioning specific names, dates and places, which didn't quite go to plan - only time will tell.

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Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Champions League Play-offs: Dinamo Zagreb Tops Rosenborg, Moves to Group Stage

August 27, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb and Rosenborg played 1:1 in the second leg of the Champions League play-off round on Tuesday. Recall, Dinamo won 2:0 at Maksimir last week, thus defending their lead from the first game which secured them a spot in the Champions League group stage, reports Gol.hr.

Dinamo lived dangerously in Trondheim, played a disastrous first half, but was rescued thanks to a brilliant move and a goal by Amer Gojak 19 minutes before the final whistle. Rosenborg proved to be a tough opponent, they played well in the first half, but in the second they fell both physically and mentally, which the Croatian champion used to their advantage to advance to the prestigious European competition.

Interestingly, Dinamo has not lost in the qualifications for the European Cup for eight years, that is, since their appearance against Malmo. 

For the seventh time in the history of the club, Dinamo has advanced to the Champions League group stage. However, they have never gone further in their six appearances so far, and in their 36 games played, they have won four, drawn five and managed 27 defeats with a 22:82 goal difference.

The Champions League group stage draw will be held on Thursday at 6 pm at Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. Dinamo Zagreb has already secured around 25 million euro by placing into the Champions League. 

Lineups:

ROSENBORG: Hansen - Hedenstad (Ceide, 84), Reginiussen, Hovland, Meling - Jensen, Lundemo (Trondsen, 73), Konradsen - Akintola (de Lanlay, 74), Soderlung, Adebenro

DINAMO: Livaković - Stojanović, Dilaver, Perić, Leovac - Moro - Hajrović (Gojak, 66), Ademi, Olmo (Gavranović, 90+1), Oršić (Atiemwen, 81) - Petković

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