Monday, 19 September 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 10 Recap: Dinamo Takes Another 3 Points, Hajduk and Istra Draw at Poljud

September 19, 2022 - The 10th round of the SuperSport HNL was played from September 16 to 18, 2022. This round saw Dinamo take another 3 points, while Hajduk sits behind in 2nd with 11 points less and a game in hand. Here is our SuperSport HNL round 10 recap. 

Slaven Belupo v. Varazdin (1:0)

Belupo and Varazdin opened the 10th round on Friday, September 16, 2022, in Koprivnica in front of 913 fans. 

Crnac scored the only goal of the match in the 37th minute for 1:0. The match otherwise saw 4 yellow cards to the Varazdin team. 

 

Belupo is currently in 3rd place with 17 points, while Varazdin is in 5th with 15. 

Gorica v. Osijek (0:1)

Gorica and Osijek met on Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Velika Gorica in front of 492 fans. 

Grzan scored for the Osijek lead and win in the 19th minute for 0:1. The second half saw Raspopovic receive a straight red card in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. 

 

Gorica is currently in 10th place with 5 points and a match in hand, while Osijek is in 4th with 15 points. 

Hajduk v. Istra 1961 (2:2)

Hajduk and Istra met on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at Poljud Stadium. 

After a scoreless first half, Livaja put Hajduk ahead for 1:0 in the 47th minute. Just five minutes later, Erceg equalized for 1:1. Boultam put Istra ahead in the 64th minute, before Livaja scored his second goal of the match for 2:2 in the 88th minute. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 2nd place with 17 points and a game in hand, while Istra is in 6th with 12 points. 

*Hajduk and Rijeka also played their 2nd round makeup match on Wednesday last week, which Hajduk won 2:0. 

Rijeka v. Sibenik (0:0)

Rijeka and SIbenik met at Rujevica on Sunday, September 18, 2022. 

Rijeka's goal in the 43rd minute was disallowed after consulting VAR, keeping the game 0:0 at the half. Neither team was able to score in the second half. 

 

Rijeka is currently in 9th place with 6 points, while Sibenik is in 7th with 10 points, 

Lokomotiva v. Dinamo (1:2)

Lokomotiva and Dinamo closed out the 10th round on Sunday, September 19, 2022, in Zagreb. 

Ademi scored early for Dinamo to make it 0:1 in the 6th minute. Kulenovic equalized 7 minutes later for 1:1 in the 13th minute. Petkovic opened the second half with a goal for 1:2 in the 47th minute,e which was the final score. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 8th place with 9 points, while Dinamo is in first with 28. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 12 September 2022

Valdas Dambrauskas No Longer Coach of Hajduk Split

September 12, 2022 - Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the HNK Hajduk. 

As of today, Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the HNK Hajduk first team. Mutual termination of cooperation was agreed upon. As a result, his assistants Marius Skinderis and Justinas Gasiunas are leaving with him, announced Hajduk

In the coming period, the team will be led by coach Mislav Karoglan, who, as an assistant coach, participated in the work of the past two professional coaching staff. The Club will inform the public about his assistants.

Coach Dambrauskas took over the first team on November 2, 2021, and Hajduk played 38 official matches under his leadership, achieving 23 wins, eight draws, and seven losses. In total, he recorded 60.5% of victories, and if we look exclusively at league games, he won 71.1% of points. In his debut match, he won against Hrvatski Dragovoljac at Poljud 2:0, and his most significant victory was achieved recently in the championship match against Slaven Belupo, which Hajduk won 5:1.

He will be remembered as the coach who brought the first trophy to Poljud after nine years, defeating Rijeka in the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup final. Until the end of last season, his team fought for both national trophies. The last time he led the team was in Šubićevac, where Hajduk drew 1:1 against Šibenik.

"We would like to thank coach Dambrauskas from the bottom of our hearts for the cooperation so far, and especially for the passion, knowledge, and energy shown by leading Hajduk, and we wish him the best of luck and success in the continuation of his coaching career," said Hajduk. 

Hajduk President Lukša Jakobušić publicly thanked the former coach and explained the reasons for this decision:

"Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the first team, and in the coming period, the first team will be led by his former assistant Mislav Karoglan. Since his arrival, Valdas has brought energy and passion to the Club, and he subordinated his knowledge to Hajduk and created the atmosphere, and thus the game and the result. After a long time, Hajduk fought for trophies in the Cup and the championship. In the end, he succeeded. True, we finished in second place in the championship, but we won the Cup at Poljud. We all know what that means, and we've seen what it means to him. It is almost unimaginable for us that someone who was not born in this climate assimilates and connects with the Club in this way. Unfortunately, the atmosphere and energy we had at the end of last season did not translate into this season, and we were unable to follow the atmosphere and energy we have around the Club with performances and results on the pitch. 

Most of the public knows what kind of relationship the sports director and I have with the coach. A relationship full of sincerity and respect. That alone made this decision more difficult for us. All three of us have always been guided by the Club's interests, and this decision should be seen in that context.

The public has created an image that second place is a reality for us this season. Maybe that is true, but we will not and cannot be satisfied with that. Second place has yet to be won, and the Club must strive for the highest goals. I repeat, this decision should be viewed in that context because ours is not only to solve but also to anticipate problems.

I wish Valdas Dambrauskas all the luck in life, with the statistics that are almost impossible, the trophy he brought after many years, and his positive attitude, he showed that he loves this Club. Hajduk's doors are always open to him."

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 12 September 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 9: Osijek Brings Rijeka Another Defeat, Dinamo Comfortably in 1st

September 12, 2022 - The 9th round of the SuperSport HNL was played from September 9 to 11, 2022. The biggest match of the 9th round was played between Rijeka and Osijek, resulting in a 0:3 loss for Rijeka at home. Here is our SuperSport HNL round 9 recap. 

Sibenik v. Hajduk (1:1)

Sibenik and Hajduk opened the 9th round on Friday, September 9, 2022, in Sibenik. 

Mlakar was the first to score for Hajduk in the 20th minute though it was called offside after consulting VAR. Mlakar got his chance again in the 49th minute off a Livaja assist for 0:1 Hajduk. It looked like Hajduk was going to win it until Dolcek had other plans, scoring in the 7th minute of stoppage time for 1:1. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 9 points, while Hajduk is in 4th with 13 points and two games in hand. 

Rijeka v. Osijek (0:3)

Rijeka and Osijek met on Saturday, September 10, at Rujevica Stadium. 

Osijek scored first in the 25th minute, but it was disallowed for a handball after VAR. Mierez scored for 0:1 Osijek just 10 minutes later, and Caktas made it 0:2 another 10 minutes after that. Caktas completed the result in the 63rd minute for the final 0:3. 

 

Rijeka is in 10th place with 5 points and a game in hand, while Osijek is in 5th with 12 points. 

Gorica v. Dinamo (0:1)

Gorica and Dinamo met on Saturday, September 10, 2022, in Velika Gorica. 

After a scoreless first half and most of the second, it looked as if the two teams would draw. Dinamo, however, found a way to score, with Orsic finding the back of the net in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for 0:1. 

 

Gorica is currently in 9th place with 8 points and a match in hand, while Dinamo is in first with 25 points. 

Slaven Belupo v. Istra 1961 (0:3)

Belupo and Istra met on Sunday, September 11, in Koprivnica. 

Belupo suffered their second consecutive defeat after an impressive run in the first 7 rounds. Petkovic scored for 0:1 Istra in the 10th minute and Erceg for 0:2 in the 29th. Boultam made it 0:3 in the 67th minute, which was the final score.  

 

Belupo is currently in 3rd place with 14 points, while Istra is in 6th with 11. 

Lokomotiva v. Varazdin (1:2)

Lokomotiva and Varazdin closed out the 9th round on Sunday, September 11, in Zagreb. 

Teklic missed a penalty or Varazdin in the 29th minute keeping the match at 0:0 at the half. Teklic did score for 0:1 in the 51st minute before Maric made it 1:1 in the first minute of stoppage time. Teklic scored in the 5th minute of stoppage time to give Varazdin the win. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 8th place with 9 points, while Varazdin is in 2nd with 15 points. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 5 September 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 8: Hajduk Comes from Behind with 5:1 Win, Rijeka's Struggle Continues

September 5, 2022 - The 8th round of the SuperSport HNL was played from September 2 to 4, 2022. The biggest match of this round was the derby between Dinamo and Rijeka, where we witnessed Rijeka's struggle this season continue as they sit at the bottom of the table. Here is our SuperSport HNL round 8 recap. 

Dinamo v. Rijeka (3:1)

Dinamo and Rijeka opened the 8th round on Friday, September 2, 2022, at Maksimir Stadium in front of 5,894 fans. 

Lauritsen scored for 1:0 Dinamo in the 28th minute, just two minutes before Spikic scored for 2:0. It was 3:0 for Dinamo in the 60th minute when Orsic scored his second goal. While all hope was lost for Rijeka by now, Vlasenko found the back of the net in the 84th minute for the final 3:1. 

 

Dinamo is currently in first place with 22 points, while Rijeka is in last place with 5 points and one game in hand. 

Varazdin v. Gorica (2:1)

Varazdin and Gorica met on Saturday, September 3, 2022, in front of 2,263 fans in Velika Gorica. 

Teklic assisted Elezi for 1:0 Varazdin in the 10th minute, while the same player scored in the 43rd minute for 2:0 at the half. Juric came back with a Gorica goal for 2:1 in the 61st minute. Sego was shown a straight red card in the 74th minute, while Juric was shown his second yellow in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. 

 

Varazdin is currently in 4th place with 12 points, while Gorica is in 9th with 5 points and a game in hand.

Osijek v. Sibenik (1:1)

Osijek and Sibenik met on Saturday, September 3, 2022, at City Garden Stadium in front of 2,944 fans. 

Kleinheisler put Osijek ahead for 1:0 in the 38th minute. Burgui equalized in the 78th minute for the final 1:1. 

 

Osijek is currently in 6th place with 9 points, while Sibenik is in 7th with 8. 

Istra 1961 v. Lokomotiva (1:2)

Istra and Lokomotiva met on Sunday, September 4, 2022, at Aldo Drosina Stadium in Pula. 

Pivaric put Lokomotiva ahead for 0:1 in the 24th minute. Istra's goal in the 36th minute was called offside after consulting VAR. Gorican scored for 0:2 in the 66th minute. Erceg got one goal back for Istra for the final 1:2 in the 81st minute. 

 

Istra is currently in 8th place with 8 points, while Lokomotiva is in 5th with 9. 

Hajduk v. Slaven Belupo (5:1)

Hajduk and Slaven Belupo closed the 8th round on Sunday, September 5, 2022, at Poljud Stadium. 

Hoxha put Belupo in the lead just two minutes before halftime for 0:1. Mlakar scored the equalizer for Hajduk in the 51st minute, before Hoxha was shown his second yellow in the 56th minute and thus forced Belupo to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. Colina scored for 2:1 Hajduk in the 60th minute and Atanasov for 3:1 in the 77th. Nikola Kalinic scored Hajduk's final two goals - in the 81st and 3rd minute of stoppage time for the final 5:1. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 12 points and two games in hand, while Belupo is in 2nd with 14 points. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 29 August 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 7: Rijeka Drops to Last Place, Osijek Takes 3 Points against Hajduk

August 29, 2022 - The 7th round of the SuperSport HNL was held from August 26 to 28, 2022. The most exciting match of this round was the Osijek-Hajduk derby at City Garden Stadium, in which Osijek took 3 points. A look at the SuperSport HNL round 7. 

Gorica v. Istra 1961 (0:2)

Gorica and Istra opened the 7th round in Velika Gorica on Friday, August 26, 2022. 

After a scoreless first half, Erceg's goal was disallowed in the 70th minute after consulting VAR. Erceg found the back of the net just 11 minutes later to put Istra in the lead with 0:1. Erceg scored again in the 4th minute of stoppage time for the final 0:2 for Istra. 

 

Gorica is currently in 9th place with 5 points and one game in hand, while Istra is in 6th place with 8 points. 

Lokomotiva v. Slaven Belupo (0:1)

Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo met in Zagreb on Saturday, August 27, 2022. 

The first half was full of yellow cards as Belupo was shown three and Lokomotiva one, though the match went into halftime without goals. The match's only goal came in the 80th minute when Kocijan scored for 0:1, which was the final result. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 8th place with 6 points, while Belupo is impressively in 2nd with 14. 

Rijeka v. Varazdin (1:2)

Rijeka and Varazdin met at Rujevica Stadium on Saturday, August 27, 2022. 

Another scoreless first half was quickly changed at the start of the second when Djouahra put Rijeka ahead in the 47th minute. Pavlovic was shown his second yellow in the 73rd minute, forcing Rijeka to play with a man down for the rest of the match, and Teklic equalized a minute later from the penalty spot. Kolaric made it 1:2 for Varazdin in the 87th minute, and it could have been 1:3 if Peric's goal was not called offside in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. 

 

Rijeka has dropped to last place with 5 points and one game in hand, while Varazdin is in 4th place with 9 points. 

Sibenik v. Dinamo (1:2)

Sibenik and Dinamo met in Sibenik on Sunday, August 28, 2022. 

Ivanusec put Dinamo ahead in the 35th minute for 0:1. Mina equalized just two minutes later for 1:1 at the half. A penalty taken by Petkovic put Dinamo back in the lead in the 68th minute, which was the final score. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 7 points, while Dinamo sits in first place with 19. 

Osijek v. Hajduk (2:1)

Osijek and Hajduk closed out the 7th round at City Garden Stadium on Sunday, August 28, 2022. 

It was an emotional game for Hajduk as Marko Livaja learned of his father's tragic passing early on Sunday morning. Leovac scored Osijek's first goal in the 23rd minute for 1:0, before Beljo scored a penalty for 2:0 just 4 minutes before halftime. Livaja scored a penalty for Hajduk to reduce the score to 2:1 in the 72nd minute. Mlakar's goal was called offside by VAR in the 83rd minute, and the match ended 2:1 for Osijek. 

 

Osijek is currently in 5th place with 8 points, while Hajduk is in 3rd place with 9 points and two games in hand. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Hajduk Drops Out of UEFA Europa Conference League After Play-off Defeat to Villarreal

August 25, 2022 - Hajduk has dropped out of the UEFA Europa Conference League on a 2-6 aggregate to Villarreal. The Split club lost 0:2 at Poljud on Thursday night. 

Hajduk and Villarreal met in the second leg of the Conference League play-off at a sold-out Poljud stadium on Thursday. In the first match, Villarreal won 4:2 in Valencia, meaning Hajduk needed to score three goals to have a chance. 

Villarreal is one of the best European teams and was certainly the favorite to move ahead. The Spanish club is last year's Champions League semi-finalist, and Europa League champions the season before that, knocking out Dinamo Zagreb on their way to the title.

Hajduk had met Spanish clubs five times so far in European competitions but failed to move past them. 

"It will be a difficult test because Villarreal likes to control the game and have possession of the ball. We have to be patient and focused for the whole 90 minutes and pay attention to small details," Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas said before the match. 

"In that beautiful stadium, we expect a good atmosphere in which we will try to manage the match," said Villarreal coach Unai Emery. 

Lineups

HAJDUK: Kalinić - Mikanović, Awaziem, Elez, Melnjak - Grgić, Fossati - Sahiti, Krovinović, Biuk - Livaja

VILLARREAL: Reina - Kiko, Mandi, Cuenca, Pedraza - Chukwueze, Parejo, Coquelin, Baena - Lo Celso, Nicolas

Match report

Villarreal had their first attack in the 2nd minute, which went out for a goal kick. Melnjak played a hospital ball to a Villarreal player at the top of the box. Kalinic luckily saved the shot, but Hajduk fouled in the next play. A free-kick awarded to Villarreal found the head of Baena, who went over the post. 

It was a shaky first five minutes for Hajduk, who was playing nervously. 

A quick counter which started from Awaziem found Sahiti on the right and went out for Hajduk's first corner. The ball was played out by the Villarreal defense and sent back in by Sahiti, who found Livaja's head. Marko just missed near post. 

Another attack for Hajduk came in the 10th minute and Fossati managed to get a shot off which was blocked. 

Another shaky instance in the Hajduk defense came a minute later and was luckily cleared by Melnjak. 

Another brilliant attack by Hajduk in the 14th minute saw Livaja get a shot off which was deflected out for a corner. Krovinovic found Livaja again, whose one-touch shot went over the goal.  

Sahiti dribbled through the Villarreal defense in the next play and shot at the keeper. Livaja tried lobbing the keeper from the halfway line in the 16th minute.  And he hit another rocket that went just wide of the far post in the next play. 

Mikanovic was shown a yellow card in the 19th minute. 

Villarreal tried a quick counter in the 22nd minute but shot straight at Kalinic. Hajduk countered back and Biuk got a shot off which was deflected to Reina. 

Hajduk was hungry and had another corner in the 25th minute, followed by another after that. 

Villarreal started to possess the ball and tried to move into the box. Nicolas' fancy footwork couldn't move past Hajduk's defense. 

A Hajduk free kick in the 30th minute was played short to Biuk on the left. The young midfielder cut into the middle and fell for a foul, but the ref said to play on. Hajduk's next attack was called offside. 

A dangerous free kick for Villarreal in the 34th minute was taken in front of the corner spot. Luckily the ball went straight to Kalinic. 

But just a few minutes later, Pedraza had his chance, playing around Hajduk's defense with no one in the block. He shot far post into Kalinic's goal for 0:1 Villarreal. Hajduk's hope had dwindled. 

A Livaja free kick in the 41st minute was taken from about 30 meters out and went just wide of the post. The first half ended 0:1 for Villarreal. 

Villarreal made one sub to start the second half - Capoue went on for Coquelin. Hajduk did not make any changes. 

A dangerous chance for Villarreal came in the 47th minute, which was blocked by the Hajduk defense. A standout save by Kalinic in the 51st minute stopped Villarreal from going ahead by two goals. 

Another attack for Villarreal in the next minute went out for a corner. Hajduk managed to clear any dangerous plays and tried to calmly move the ball into Villarreal's half but could not get a shot off. 

In the next attack, Chukwueze's shot slipped through Kalinic's hands and into the goal for 0:2 Villarreal. Hajduk would now need 4 goals to bring the match to extra time. 

Villarreal made substitutions in the 58th minute - Moreno came on for Jackson and Morales for Lo Celso. 

Hajduk made their first subs in the 59th minute - Lovrencsics came on for Mikanovic and Mlakar for Sahiti. 

Fossati was subbed off for Vukovic in the 65th minute.  

Mlakar had a great chance to score a minute later but just missed the far post. 

Krovinovic was fouled right on the corner of the box in the 71st minute. The same player took the free kick, which went out for a goal kick. 

Hajduk had a free kick and a corner in the 75th minute without a chance for a goal. 

Pau Torres came on for Pedraza and Foyth for Kiko in the 79th minute. Colina came on for Melnjak and Simic for Elez in the same minute. 

There were no dangerous chances for either team in the final 10 minutes. The ref added 3 minutes of stoppage time, in which no one scored.

Hajduk has thus dropped out of the UEFA Europa Conference League. 

Post-match comments 

Villarreal coach Unai Emery

"We played against a team that is good today but also has a rich past. The atmosphere created by the fans was special, and we enjoyed it. I'm sorry when a team like Hajduk is left out of the European competition. With this kind of atmosphere and fans, it deserves to be in the European competition. I have to repeat that in the first game, we made several mistakes, and now we managed to improve some things that we did in the first game at a lower level. This is Europe; we have to be concentrated and satisfied with this kind of game."

Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas

"I can't fault the players. We were ready and better than in the first game. The difference in class between us and Villarreal is too big, especially in two games. We turn to Osijek, which for us as the final, will not be easy, but we have to focus. We showed a level we can be proud of, but we have to improve," said Dambrauskas.

"A big thank you to the fans for their support during and after the match. It's a big responsibility. I'm not afraid to say it, and I know it sounds like a cliché, but we really have the best fans in Europe. We really do. Someone compares us to Napoli and Marseille, but we are not even the first in Croatia, we do not play in the European League nor the Conference League, and we have such support. The players and we are very proud to have this kind of support."

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Tough Night for Hajduk as Villarreal Dominate in Conference League Play-off First Leg

August 18, 2022 - Villarreal dominates in the Conference League play-off first leg, beating Hajduk 4:2 in Spain. 

Villarreal and Hajduk met on Thursday in Valencia, Spain, for a spot in the Conference League group stage. 

Hajduk has been waiting 12 years for a spot in the group stage of a European competition. Tonight, they met last year's Champions League semi-finalist and Europa League champions the season before that, knocking out Dinamo Zagreb on their way to the title.

Villarreal had not seen defeat in their last ten games and recorded victories against Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, and Inter. Villarreal is led by Unai Emery, who managed Sevilla, PSG, and Arsenal before Villarreal. 

"Hajduk Split is a big name; it has a history, and it commands maximum respect and admiration. I know that. Kalinić, Simić, and Livaja, are players who have an international reputation and are recognized around the world. It is important for us to win. I talk about Hajduk to my players with great respect,'' Emery said before the game.

According to estimates, over a thousand Hajduk fans arrived in Valencia for Thursday night's match. 

Lineups

Villarreal (4-4-2): Reina - De la Fuente, Mandi, Pau Torres, Pedraza - Chukwueze, Parejo, Capoue, Baena - Morales, Jackson

Hajduk(3-5-2): Kalinić - Elez, Borevković, Awaziem - Mikanović, Grgić, Krovinović, Sahiti, Melnjak - Biuk, Livaja

Match report

Villarreal had their first chance of the match already in the 2nd minute, but Chukuweze shot wide of the goal.

Not even a minute later, Hajduk countered and shocked Villarreal. Livaja found Stipe Biuk, who ran into the penalty area at the perfect time to put the ball into the back of the net for 0:1 Hajduk! 

Melnjak and Livaja played a one-two in the 7th minute, which saw Melnjak get a shot off, but it was saved by the Villarreal keeper Reina.

A dangerous situation in front of Kalinić's goal in the 10th minute, but Mikanović calmly played it out for a Villarreal corner.

Livaja was shown a yellow card in the 13th minute, which is his second in this play-off. 

Villarreal equalized in the 15th minute. Morales shot from 10 meters, checked Kalinic, and scored for 1:1. 

Three minutes later, it was 2:1 for Villarreal off of a Livaja own goal. 

A corner for Villarreal in the 22nd minute was cleared by the Hajduk defense.

Villarreal took control of the game and dangerously attacked Hajduk's half. Hajduk struggled to get possession of the ball.

Hajduk had a corner in the 28th minute. The play ended in Krovinovic crossing to Melnjak in the box, who played the keeper. Hajduk countered in the next minute and Krovinovic shot from 20 or so meters out after seeing Livaja was offside. Another shot went to Reina.

"Hajduceeee" was all you could hear from the Spanish stadium. The commentators said that "Villarreal may be dominating the game, but Torcida is dominating the stands."

Chukuweze tried finding Morales' head in the 34th minute, but his attempt went over the goal. Two minutes later, Hajduk's shaky defense allowed too much space for yet another goal. Morales scored 3:1 in the 36th minute. 

Mikanović tackled Morales on the edge of the penalty area in the 41st minute for a Villarreal free kick which went out for Hajduk's ball. 

Villarreal was just too good for Hajduk in the first half and totally controlled the game. Hajduk struggled to hold onto the ball and relied on quick counters to attack. 

A free kick was awarded for Hajduk in the 44th minute, which went off Villarreal for a Hajduk corner. One minute of stoppage time was added to the end of the half. Villarreal capitalized on a quick counter. Moreno found himself 1-on-1 with Kalinic to score for 4:1. 

The second half began without any changes. 

Hajduk held possession in the first few minutes, and Biuk's diagonal shot in the 47th minute was deflected for a Hajduk corner. 

Kalinic made a brilliant save on Baena's shot in the 54th minute. 

Hajduk's defense continued allowing too much space for Villarreal. 

Biuk again dribbled into the box and won a corner for Hajduk in the 60th minute. 

Pau Torres and Lo Celso entered for Pedraza and Moreno in the 62nd minute. 

Villarreal was dangerous again in the next few minutes, with a corner in the 65th minute. 

Hajduk made their first subs in the 69th minute - Lovrecsics came on for Mikanović and Mlakar for Sahiti. Morales was subbed off for Jackson in the 73rd minute. 

Two more changes for Hajduk came in the 78th minute - Fossati and Nikola Kalinic entered the match for Elez and Livaja.  

The result didn't matter - Torcida was still the loudest in the stadium. 

A minute after Kalinic was subbed on, he entered a nasty tackle with Mandi, resulting in what looked like a split-open cheek. The Hajduk player was covered in blood, and Atanasov was subbed on. Hajduk was awarded a penalty which Fossati scored for 4:2 Hajduk in the 85th minute. 

A free kick was awarded to Hajduk two minutes later, which went out for a corner. Hajduk had a few minutes left to get another goal and not concede one, which would be huge going into the match next week in Split. 

Krovinovic struck the near post with his left foot in the 89th minute. 

The ref added four minutes of stoppage time to the match. Neither team was able to score.

The return match will be played on Thursday, August 25, at a sold-out Poljud Stadium. 

Post-match comments

"The next game should be easier to prepare for. Players can only improve by playing games like this. It started great for us, but we were naive, and we could have reacted much better. I would have preferred that they didn't score goals like that. We will have to be better in Croatia," said Hajduk coach Dambrauskas.

"We wanted to have better coverage in the midfield because Villarreal is integrated into the middle and in the space. Awaziem is a very calm player with the ball. I think he played a pretty good game," said the Hajduk coach.

"You won't believe what I'm going to tell you, but when you watch the next game, the atmosphere will be completely different, and our mentality will be different. With God's help, anything can happen. We will focus on the next game, analyze the opponents and try to win."

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 15 August 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 5: Dinamo Shocks Hajduk, Rijeka Drops to 9th, Bjelica on Way Out

August 15, 2022 - The SuperSport HNL 5th round was held last weekend, bringing some surprising results - especially amongst the traditionally top clubs. And we're not only talking about the Eternal Derby. A look at the SuperSport HNL round 5. 

Sibenik v Istra 1961 (0:0)

The 5th round opened on Friday, August 12, 2022, at Stadion Šubićevac in front of 1296 fans. 

This match wasn't too exciting to watch, as it finished without goals. Sibenik had eight shots compared to Istra's 9, while Sibenik held 44% possession to Istra's 56%. Sibenik committed 17 fouls to Istra's 7. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 5th place with 6 points, while Istra is in last place with 6 points. 

Gorica v. Lokomotiva (3:2)

Gorica and Lokomotiva played the next match on Saturday, August 13, 2022, at Radnik Stadium in Velika Gorica.

A bit more exciting than Friday's game, Vasij put Lokomotiva ahead for 0:1 in the 9th minute, which was the result at the half. Kalik equalized for 1:1 in the 60th minute before Fruk made it 2:1 six minutes later. Da Cruz made it 3:1 for Gorica in the 79th. Five minutes later, Tuci scored for the final 3:2. 

 

Gorica is currently in 6th place with 5 points and one game in hand, while Lokomotiva is in 4th with 6. 

Dinamo v. Hajduk (4:1)

Dinamo and Hajduk met for their first big derby of the season on Saturday, August 13, 2022, at Maksimir Stadium. Fourteen thousand three hundred one fans were in attendance. 

After continuous pressure from Dinamo in the first half, Hajduk went ahead thanks to Livaja and Atanasov, who scored in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for 0:1 Hajduk. And then things went downhill for the Split club, especially after coach Valdas went in with fresh legs in the defense. Dinamo was up 2:1 with goals by Baturina and Ademi in the 61st and 64th minutes. Gojak made it 3:1 in the 84th minute, and Orsic 4:1 in the 90+1'. 

 

Dinamo sits in 1st place with 13 points, while Hajduk sits in 3rd with 8 points but two games in hand. 

Osijek v. Varazdin (2:2)

Osijek and Varazdin met at City Garden Stadium on Sunday, August 14, 2022.

After a scoreless first half, Jugovic made it 1:0 for Osijek in the 57th minute and Brodic 1:1 eight minutes later. Beljo put Osijek back ahead in the 77th minute for 2:1, and Peric made it 2:2 in the 81st. 

Will Osijek coach Nenad Bjelica finally get sacked? With unimpressive results round after round, his sacking seems inevitable. Croatian media reported on Monday morning that Nenad Bjelica would sit down with the president of Osijek, Ferenc Sakalje, to negotiate the best option for parting ways. 

 

Osijek is currently in 7th place with 5 points, while Varazdin is in 8th with 5. 

Rijeka v. Slaven Belupo (0:1)

Rijeka and Belupo closed the 5th round on Sunday, August 14, 2022, at Rujevica Stadium.

After a scoreless first half, Crnac scored for Belupo in the 70th minute, giving Belupo a massive three away points and pushing Rijeka to the bottom of the HNL table in second to last place. 

 

Rijeka is currently in 9th place with 4 points and one game in hand, while Belupo is in 2nd place with 8 points. 

You can see the HNL standings here

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Hajduk and Villarreal to Meet in Europa Conference League Play-off!

August 10, 2022 - Hajduk and Villarreal will meet in the Europa Conference League play-off! Hajduk advanced past Vitoria in the 3rd qualifying round with a 3:2 aggregate on Wednesday in Portugal. 

Vitoria and Hajduk met in the second leg of the Conference League 3rd-round qualifiers. Several thousand members of Hajduk fan group Torcida were in attendance. 

Hajduk came to Dom Afonso Henriques stadium with a two-goal advantage after defeating Vitoria 3:1 in the first match at Poljud. Recall, the away goal rule is no longer in force.

"We have a plan that we want to implement. We have to have the same approach as in the home game. I am sure that Vitoria will play a different match than the one in Split; I believe that they are a better team than what they showed at Poljud," said coach Valdas Dambrauskas before the match. 

Lineups

Vitoria Guimaraes: Varela, Miguel, Amaro, Mumin, Ogawa, Andre Almeida, Pains, Tiago Silva, Lameiras, Anderson, Antonin

Hajduk: 
Kalinić, Mikanović, Simić, Elez, Melnjak, Vuković, Grgić, Krovinović, Sahiti, Livaja, Čolina

Live match report

Vitoria had a dangerous free kick just outside the box in the 2nd minute, which was cleared by the Hajduk defense.

Just two minutes later, the worst-case scenario happened for Hajduk - Ogawa dribbled up the left wing and found Anderson alone at the top of the box. The Brazilian footballer brilliantly scored with his back to the goal, finding the upper right corner of Kalinic's goal for 1:0 in the 5th minute. 

Hajduk had their first attack of the match in the 11th minute when Grgic flew up the left wing but crossed into the Vitoria defense. 

Hajduk played nervously when in possession and could not connect more than a few passes at a time. Vitoria's pressure did not stop, and there were a few close calls in the next 10 minutes of play. Hajduk's defense was tested.

Hajduk continued playing unsuccessful long balls from the back, and by the 22nd minute, Vitoria had 8 attacks compared to Hajduk's 3. 

Hajduk's best chance of the match came in the 23rd minute - Sahiti received the ball in the midfield and played a flawless ball through the Vitoria defense to Colina, who was one-on-one with the Vitoria keeper. Colina chipped the keeper and just went over the goal post.

Hajduk, at least, had stabilized their play. Much better than what we saw in the first part of the match. 

Another chance for Hajduk came in the 26th minute. Krovinovic crossed to Colina whose header went over the goal.

Anderson tried to surprise Kalinic by shooting from 30 meters in the 30th minute, but the Hajduk keeper defended without any problems.

Another close call for Hajduk came a few minutes later in front of Kalinic's goal, but the ball luckily couldn't reach Anderson in the box. 

Colina sent the ball into the box in the 38th minute, which was cleared by the Vitoria defense. 

Hajduk had another chance in the 44th minute, but Sahiti was called offside. The match erupted into a mini brawl after the Vitoria keeper forcefully picked Sahiti up from the pitch. Vukovic ran over in Sahiti's defense, and Tiago Silva slapped Sahiti in the head, which the ref failed to see. There is no VAR in Conference League, and if there was, it could have easily been a red card for Silva. Instead, the ref gave Silva, Varela, and Vukovic yellow cards. 

The match was 1:0 going into the half. 

The second half started with one sub for Hajduk - Borevkovic came on for Simic, who has a yellow card. 

Vitoria's first chance came in the 46th minute, which was cleared out for a Vitoria throw-in. 

Vitoria had a free kick in the 52nd minute, which fortunately went out for a goal kick. One minute later, Jota nutmegged Hajduk's defense to find Anderson at the top of the box. His shot was blocked by Elez and went out for a corner. 

Hajduk had a free kick in the 57th minute, which was cleared by the Vitoria defense, and the next play was a corner or Hajduk. Krovinovic crossed into the Vitoria keeper's hands. 

Elez blocked Anderson's attempt a minute later, going out for a Vitoria corner, and was deflected out for another corner. 

Colina was subbed off for Biuk in the 62nd minute. 

Hajduk's best chance of the second half came in the 69th minute - Biuk crossed into the box from the left wing, which was a second too quick for Livaja.

Hajduk had a quick counter in the 70th minute after a few dangerous Vitorira attacks.

Jota shot near post in the 72nd minute. 

Dambrauskas decided to play defensively from the 73rd minute, adding an extra stopper. Awaziem came on for Sahiti. 

Good news for Hajduk came in the 78th minute - Tiago Silva was shown his second yellow card and sent off, forcing Vitoria to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. 

Krovinovic shot at the keeper in the 83rd minute and Jota had a chance for Vitoria in the next play. 

Mikanovic and Vukovic were subbed off for Lovrencsics and Atanasov in the 86th minute. 

Biuk had a shot on goal in the 88th minute but hit near post and was ultimately called offside. Four minutes of stoppage time were added. Vitoria had a corner in the final seconds, but could not score.

Hajduk thus advanced to the Conference League play-off against Villarreal!

Post-match interview

Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas said that they expected a tough game.

"We didn't have the control we wanted in the first half; the second half was better. We are happy that we passed, but I am not the happiest coach because of how we played, but I am happy that we passed," he said. 

"We knew the match would be difficult. We have experienced players, but we don't have an experienced team. This group of players is playing together in Europe for the first time. Vitoria is a good, young team."

Villarreal is next

"This club has tradition, history, and great victories in the past. We don't go to Spain to take pictures with Villarreal players and post them on Instagram. Let's go there and compete; I believe we are not without chances.

Before that, Hajduk will face Dinamo.

"We are Hajduk; we are playing the biggest derby on Saturday. We have 23 players who are registered; I believe that every player will be looking forward to the next game. I think that now is a very good time to be a Hajduk player, first Dinamo, and then playing in Spain."

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 8 August 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 4: Bad Weekend for Dinamo, Osijek, and Rijeka

August 8, 2022 - The SuperSport HNL 4th round was held from August 5 to 7, 2022. This round was without the originally scheduled Hajduk and Gorica match, as Hajduk requested a postponement due to Conference League obligations. And it wasn't a good weekend for Croatia's top clubs, Dinamo, Osijek, and Rijeka. A look at SuperSport HNL round 4. 

Varazdin v. Dinamo (1:1)

Varazdin and Dinamo opened the 4th round in Varazdin on Friday, August 4, in front of 7,132 fans. Dinamo went into the match coming off of a 2:1 win against Ludogorets in the Champions League qualifiers earlier in the week. 

The Croatian champion was the first to score with a goal from Spikic just before the ref blew the whistle to end the first half. But former Hajduk player Sego made sure they didn't stay ahead, scoring the equalizer in the 63rd minute for 1:1 and the final result. 

 

Varazdin is currently in 8th place with 4 points, while Dinamo sits in first with 10 points. 

Slaven Belupo v. Sibenik (0:0)

Belupo and Sibenik met in Koprivnica on Saturday, August 5, in front of 473 fans. 

The match was uneventful, displayed in the 0:0 final result. 

 

Belupo is currently in 5th place with 5 points, while Sibenik is in 4th with 5 points. 

Istra 1961 v. Osijek (1:0)

Istra and Osijek met on Saturday, August 6, in Pula. 

Tensions are already high among Osijek supporters who have been calling for coach Nenad Bjelica to be sacked. Losing to Istra on Saturday did not help. 

Istra scored first in the 62nd minute when Bakrar found the back of the net, though his goal was ultimately called offside after consulting VAR. But that didn't stop Bakrar from killing Osijek's hopes again with a goal in the match's final minutes (90+4') for the 1:0 Istra win. Coach Bjelica has yet to resign, nor has he been asked to step down as coach by the club. 

 

Istra is currently in 9th place with 3 points, while Osijek is in 6th with 4. 

Lokomotiva v. Rijeka (3:1)

Lokomotiva and Rijeka closed out the 4th round on Sunday, August 7, in Zagreb. 

Lokomotiva took the lead in the 14th minute when Gorican scored for 1:0, and Cokaj made it 2:0 just five minutes later. Karrica gave Rijeka some hope in the 34th minute scoring for 2:1, but Vasilj settled all doubts about the winner with Lokomotiva's goal in the 79th minute for the final 3:1. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 3rd place with 6 points, while Rijeka is in 7th with 4. 

Hajduk v. Gorica (Postponed)

Hajduk asked to postpone their 4th-round match against Gorica due to Conference League obligations. After beating Vitoria at Poljud on Thursday 3:1, Hajduk plays the return match against the Portuguese club on Wednesday in Portugal. Hajduk has played only two rounds in the SuperSport HNL thus far, as Rijeka postponed their 2nd round match against Hajduk due to Conference League obligations. 

 

As it stands now, Hajduk is in 2nd place with 6 points and only two games played, while Gorica is in the last place with 2 points and three games played. 

You can see the HNL standings here

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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