Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Hajduk U19s Make History and Advance to UEFA Youth League Semi-final!

March 15, 2023 - Hajduk U19s are in the semi-final of the UEFA Youth Champions League!

In the quarter-final match at Signal Iduna Park in Germany, Hajduk U19s defeated Borussia Dortmund on penalties. After 90 minutes it was 1-1, and Marijan Budimir's team won 9-8 on pens after a wild shootout.

Dortmund maintained possession throughout the match while Hajduk had more chances. Hajduk had its first serious attempt in the 21st minute when Roko Brajković's left-footed shot went just short of the goal post. Hajduk missed an even bigger chance in the 64th minute. 

A more concrete game by Hajduk finally resulted in a goal in the 72nd minute. Brajković precisely crossed from the right side to Mate Antunović who found the back of the net with a beautiful header for the lead! 

However, Borussia came back only four minutes later. Julian Rijkhoff accurately executed the penalty kick after Tomislav Arković fouled Michel Ludwig.  Hajduk was not swayed by that goal, and they were close to winning even before the penalty shootout. Brunner almost shook his own net after Hrgović's cross hit the top of the crossbar and was saved by the Dortmund defense.

The drama of penalties did not prove to be a problem for Hajduk. During the eight rounds, both sides were infallible, but in the ninth, Hajduk's goalkeeper Borna Buljan saved Filippo Mane's shot, while Ante Kavelj scored for the big celebration! 

With this victory against Borussia Dortmund, the Hajduk U19s qualified for the semi-finals of the UEFA Youth League. Hajduk has thus made history and became the first Croatian club to reach the semi-finals of this competition. 

The final tournament will be played in Nyon, Switzerland, from April 21 to 24. In addition to Hajduk, Sporting, AZ Alkmaar, and AC Milan advanced to the semi-finals.

On April 21, Hajduk will play against AC Milan, while Sporting and AZ will compete in the second semi-final. 

The final is scheduled for three days later, on April 24. 

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

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Hajduk Juniors Top Manchester City for UEFA Youth League Quarterfinals!

February 28, 2023 - Hajduk Juniors brilliantly knock out Manchester City and advance to the UEFA Youth League quarterfinals!

The Hajduk juniors side met the powerful Manchester City in the UEFA Youth League round of 16 at Poljud. Recall, Hajduk reached the round of 16 after beating Shakhtar.

Coach Marijan Budimir's team was without its standard stopper Luka Vušković and captain Marko Capan, but welcomed the return of Roko Brajković from the first team.

More than 3,000 tickets were sold for this match until yesterday evening, and many of the Hajduk season ticket holders made their way to Poljud today. Torcida was also in full force. 


Hajduk: Buljan - Đolonga, Jurić-Petrašilo, Arković, Hrgović - Kavelj, Reić - Brajković, Skoko, Vrcić - Antunović

Manchester City: Murray-Jones - Samuel, Burns, Katongo, Galvez - Adam, Charles, Bobb - Mebude, Dickson, Borges

To no one's surprise, the favorites were City in this match, but Hajduk came out to prove they are a force to be reckoned with. 

A great opportunity for Hajduk came already in the 6th minute. Reić found Vrcić through the middle in front of City goalkeeper Murray-Jones, but the shot was saved. 

The first half was even and Hajduk showed that it was a good match for City. In the 15th minute, Mebude broke through the right side and shot, but luckily the ball went over Hajduk's goal. City threatened again a few minutes later, but it was Hajduk to take the lead first.

After Murray-Jones intercepted a long pass about 20 meters from his own goal, Brajković ran onto the rebound and sent it into an empty net from the first touch. Hajduk was up 1-0 in the 24th minute! 

And just when Poljud got done celebrating the first goal - their second found the back of the net! Antunovic found space in the defense to score near post for 2-0! 

Hajduk's defense did well to keep any danger away from their goal, but the 19-year-old wonderkid Oscar Bobb was left alone in the penalty area to score for 2-1 at the half. 

City tried hard to equalize in the second half, with several opportunities saved by Hajduk's solid defense. Hajduk had a good chance in the 49th minute. Hrgović passed on the left side and found Antunović in the penalty area, but he shot wide of the goal. 

Hajduk made their first substitutions in the 59th minute - Reić and Skoko went out for Čalušić and Nazor. City made their first subs in the 63rd minute - Oboavwoduo came on for Adam.

Hajduk didn't really have a chance at goal in the second half apart from Antunović's in the 49th minute. City had some good chances from dangerous free kicks, but nothing found the back of the net. 

And then a spurt of chaos in the 84th minute - Finley Burns was sent off with a red card. City was playing with a man down for the remainder of the match. 

A dangerous free kick for City in the 86th minute finished without success. Four minutes of stoppage time were added, and Hajduk held their own for the 2-1 victory! 

Hajduk will play in the quarter-finals against the winner of Borussia Dortmund and PSG. If Hajduk advances, they will play away in the quarter-final. 

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

Thursday, 9 February 2023

UEFA Youth League: Hajduk Juniors Among Top 16 Teams in Europe!

February 9, 2023 - The Hajduk juniors team qualified for the UEFA Youth League round of 16 (like the youth Champions League) after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 in the playoff match at Poljud on Wednesday. 

Luka Vušković scored the only goal in the 81st minute. Hajduk captain Capan took a free kick from the right side. The wind carried the ball and found the head of the center-back Vušković, who was at the second post, about 10 meters from Shakhtar's goal. Vušković headed the ball high, over Tvardovski, and into the upper left corner for the only goal of the match. 

Vušković had the best chance for Hajduk even before that goal. In the 27th minute, he had another header which Tvardovski managed to get to in time. 

Unfortunately, Vušković did not see the end of the match because he was sent off in the 87th minute.

Apart from those two chances by Vušković in the second half, Hajduk threatened only at the beginning of the game when Kavelj tried to shoot. 

On the other hand, Shakhtar had the best chances from Rasputko in the 9th minute and Buleza in the 52nd minute. Rasputko tried from a free kick, and Buleza after entering the penalty area, but Hajduk's goalkeeper Buljan was in place on both occasions.

After the victory against Shakhtar, Hajduk juniors coach Marijan Budimir acknowledged all the players, as well as the fans who came to support them in negative temperatures. 

"We were calm, but also concentrated, and we reacted to various situations during the match. Luka Vušković is a phenomenon, but I have to highlight all the other players as well. Don't forget, we had six debutants in the team, so I congratulate everyone, and I hope that the draw will grant us the round of 16 at Poljud," Budimir concluded.

Hajduk will find out its opponent in the round of 16 on Monday. They could possibly face Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris SG, Real Madrid, and Sporting Lisbon, or clubs who won first place in the group stage of the competition back in autumn. The round of 16 will be played on February 28 and March 1. 

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

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

UEFA Youth League Playoff: Atletico Madrid Tops Hajduk Juniors on Penalties at Poljud

February 9, 2022 - The Hajduk juniors team met Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Youth League playoff round at Poljud Stadium in Split on Wednesday. 

In the first two rounds, Hajduk eliminated Tetovo club Shkendija and the Belarusian champions Minsk. They achieved three wins and a draw, with a goal difference of 9:2.

Atletico reached the playoffs as the second-placed team in Group B. Coached by Fernando Torres, Atletico recorded 10 points - three wins, one draw, and two defeats. Porto was behind Atletico in third, while the group winner was Liverpool with 11 points.

Only one game is played in the playoff round, there is no overtime, and in the event of a draw, penalties are taken. The capacity of Poljud stadium was limited on Wednesday due to epidemiological measures (40%). 8,761 fans were in attendance. Hajduk was the host of the match because they were the Croatian champion. 


Hajduk: Silić, Letaj, Capan, Čuić, Brkljača, Hrgović, Pukštas, Prpić, Krolo, Bradarić, Ljubičić 

Atletico: Iturbe, Diez, Navarro, Kamara, Kostis, Curras, Gismera, Corral, Barrios, El Jebari, Martin


We saw a very even first half with one attempt on goal for Hajduk compared to Atletico's two. However, a highlight of the first half came for Hajduk in the final minute when a free kick was awarded outside the box.  Capan sent the ball into the box which Cuic headed into the crossbar. With chaos in front of the Atletico keeper from the rebound, Hajduk ultimately sent the ball over the goal line, which the ref called back for an offensive foul. 

The match ended 0:0 going into halftime. 

Atletico came our far more aggressive to start the second half, with two corners in the 56th and 58th minutes. 

Hajduk made its first substitutions in the 61st minute - Lazar came on for Krolo, and Vrcic for Cuic. Less than 10 minutes later, Vladusic replaced Brkljaca. 

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second half, either, bringing the match to penalties.


Ljubicic went up first for Hajduk and hit the post. 

Curras scored Atletico's first penalty 0:1.

Hrgovic scored Hajduk's next penalty - 1:1.

Atletico missed their second penalty to keep it 1:1! 

Vrcic scored for 2:1. 

Atletico made their next one for 2:2.

Capan missed to keep it 2:2. 

Atletico took the lead again thanks to Martin for 2:3. 

Hajduk missed their last penalty for Atletico to move ahead in the Youth League. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 31 July 2020

Hajduk Hits Back at HNS: Yet Another Farce, This Time a Detriment to Children

July 30, 2020 - Last week, the HNS Executive Board concluded a long-running saga about the Junior Champions League at a session of the Executive Board. They decided that the Dinamo juniors would go to the elite competition, even though Hajduk was in first place at the time the Junior First HNL was suspended. Hajduk had two more points than the second-placed Dinamo at the time, though Dinamo had played one game less.

Namely, when the junior championship was interrupted in March due to the coronavirus epidemic, Hajduk had 42 points, but also a game more than Dinamo, which collected 40 points. The Blues did not manage to play the match against Dugopolje before the break.

This caused a rift between Dinamo and Hajduk, a match was proposed, and the HNS Competition Commission sought advice from UEFA and sent a proposal to the Executive Board that the Zagreb club goes to the Champions League next season based on a better average of points played this season.

UEFA did not respond to the HNS inquiry, so the bodies of the Federation proposed that Dinamo go to the junior Champions League. The proposal was accepted.

At the time of the break, the Hajduk team had 42 points in 17 games played (2.47 points per game), and the Dinamo team had 40 points in 16 games played (2.5 points per game). HNS clarified the decision with the opinion of UEFA, which stated earlier in the letter that other countries that were in similar situations used the method of the ratio of points won and rounds played, i.e., coefficients.

Hajduk responded to the decision on Thursday:

"We are witnessing another farce directed by the Croatian Football Federation, which this time attacked our juniors, and whose decision was confirmed today by the HNS Arbitration Court. Unfortunately, we did not expect a different decision from the Federation, and HNS once again showed its true face, despite stories and promises of change and transparency by the Federation and its executive director Marijan Kustic. Decisions are always made in the interest of one and the same club. We are sending a beautiful message to our future generations.

Apart from the introduction of VAR, we have not seen any significant changes and shifts in the development of Croatian football, let alone the fulfillment of demands made by HNK Hajduk, which were presented for more righteous and fairer relations for all clubs, not just Hajduk. We can't help but ask ourselves and use the quote of the legendary captain Frane Matosic to the FSJ: "Do you have at least a gram of honesty here?"

Mr. Kustic has, on several occasions, denied himself on the topic of the junior champion, so we have attached his statements to the entire public over the last three months, which speak more than anything about the functioning of the Croatian Football Federation, but also the people who represent it.

1. "Let's go step by step. We are waiting for the commissioner's report and then we will make a final decision. If you ask me personally, I am always that such things are handled on the pitch, not administratively." - Dnevnik Nova TV, May 6, 2020

2. "The decision has so far been made as it is, I have said that I am in favor of resolving this on the pitch, but because of various decisions, we have made a decision according to the principle used in Europe." - Dnevnik Nova TV, July 23, 2020

3. 2020-07-30-17-00-1842-.jpg

- HNS's response to the lawsuit to the Arbitration Court, July 28, 2020

The competition commission, composed of Ante Vucemilovic-Simunovic, Neven Sprajcer, Zeljko Mihalj, Pero Vican, Ivan Novak, Ivan Peraic, Bozidar Sikic and Zeljko Bel, proposed to the HNS Executive Board that according to the only criterion in favor of GNK Dinamo (average coefficient) points won with regard to the number of matches played), which is also debatable, send a proposal to UEFA that the Zagreb club represents Croatian football in the junior Champions League. Let us remind you once again, Neven Sprajcer is a final convict in the "fair trial" affair. Transparent and fair, above all, in line with the HNS's predictable actions so far.

In its statement, HNS listed the leagues and federations that decided in favor of GNK Dinamo, ignoring other federations and leagues in which this criterion was not taken in terms of decision-making. Such an argument is completely missed for several reasons, primarily because it is completely irrelevant what decisions were made in other leagues, which, indisputably, have their own special regulations different from the regulations of the HNS (including a separate organization of first league clubs) and in particular since such a criterion in cases in those countries did not deprive any of the clubs covered by those decisions of the right to participate in UEFA club competitions. All the more so, as there are many other federations/leagues in which such a criterion has not been used to decide on the right to participate in UEFA club competitions.

On this occasion, we clearly articulate once again the arguments that make it quite clear that the decision of the HNS Executive Board is contrary to the opinion of Uefa, which has continuously, in all its instructions to national football federations, stressed the need "to determine places in European competitions by results and that decisions should be based on objective, transparent criteria without discrimination."

1. At the time of the suspension of the First HNL Championship for juniors, Hajduk was in first place with a game more and two points more than Dinamo.

2. Hajduk's juniors were first at the end of the mid-season,

3. In the only direct clash this season, Hajduk beat Dinamo 1:0

4. Hajduk had a total of 11 goals better than the second-placed Dinamo.

5. At the time of the break of the First HNL for juniors, Hajduk played 17 games, of which 9 home and 8 away games, while Dinamo played 16 games, of which as many as 10 home games and only 6 away games. So, if the Federation applied the same coefficient method separately for domestic and away matches of clubs (which it obviously should have done given the determined disproportion of played domestic and away matches of clubs) Hajduk would have achieved a coefficient of 3 points for domestic matches and a coefficient of 2.12 for away matches, while Dinamo would achieve a coefficient of 3 points for domestic matches and a coefficient of 1.67 for away matches, which would mean that the junior team of Hajduk has a total coefficient of 2.56 (5.12:2), and the junior team of Dinamo has a total coefficient 2.33 (4.67:2).

You can judge for yourself whether the decision of the Federation is objective and with transparent criteria without discrimination, considering all the arguments we have stated.

Following all the above, we will consider whether our juniors will play in the First HNL competition for juniors in the 2020/21 season, because it is obvious that Croatian football can only be represented by one club in the Junior Champions League. We all remember the situation from 2015, when the juniors of RNK Split won the championship, and in that situation, the Federation enabled Dinamo to participate in the UEFA Youth League through legal stunts.

HNK Hajduk will take and use all legal steps and opportunities to protect their children who, by diligent work on the pitch, have earned something that is taken away from them in the HNS offices. We repeat, the Club maintains that playing the so-called "Masters" was the best and fairest solution, and which would ultimately satisfy the basic principle in choosing the right to play in the UEFA club competition, the principle of sports results."

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