Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Croatian Clubs in Europa Conference League: Osijek, Rijeka, Hajduk Learn Opponents

June 16, 2021 - A look at the Croatian clubs in Europa Conference League next month. 

After Dinamo found out who they will play in the first and second qualifying rounds of the Champions League (Valur, Omonia), Croatia's remaining three best-placed representatives participated in the draw for the new UEFA competition - the Conference League, reports Jutarnji List. Croatia does not have a single representative in the Europa League this season, but that is why it has three clubs in the Conference League - Osijek, Rijeka, and Hajduk. 

Croatian runner-up Osijek will play against Polish club Pogon Szczecin, where former Hajduk goalkeeper Dante Stipic currently plays. The first match is on July 22 at the Florian Krygier Municipal Stadium, and they return seven days later in Osijek.

Hajduk will play against Kazakhstani club Tobol. The first match will be played on July 22 at Poljud, and the return match is scheduled for July 29 in Kostanaj.

In the second qualifying round of the Conference League, Rijeka will play against the winner of the match between Santa Julia from Andorra and the Maltese club Gzira, which the Croatian football public knows very well for sensationally expelling Hajduk from the Europa League two years ago. The first match is scheduled for July 22 when Rijeka will play away, and the return is scheduled for seven days later.

In case Croatian champion Dinamo suffers a defeat against Valur at the start of the Champions League qualifiers and moves to the Conference League, they would play in the 2nd qualifying round against the loser of the match between Norwegian Bodo/Glimt and the Polish club Legia.

The draw

Rijeka was in group 4 with Viktoria Plzen, CSKA Sofia, and the better between Domžale (Slovenia) - Swift Hesper (Luxembourg), Glentoran (Northern Ireland) - The New Saints (Wales).

Rijeka's possible rivals were thus the winners between Sant Julià (Andorra) - Gzira United (Malta), Honka Espoo (Finland) - NSÍ Runavík (Faroe Islands), Struga (Macedonia) / Liepāja (Latvia), Europa FC (Gibraltar) - Kauno Žalgiris (Lithuania) and Dynamo Brest (Belarus).

Osijek was in Group 7 with Austria Vienna, Ljubljana's Olimpija, Basel, and Feyenoord. Osijek could thus draw the winners of Dečić (Montenegro) - Drita (Kosovo), Racing FC Union Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourg) - Breidablik (Iceland), La Fiorita San Marino) - Birkirkara (Malta), Sfintul Gheorghe (Moldova) - Partizani (Albania), and the most dangerous of all the above clubs Pogoń Szczecin (Poland).

Hajduk was in Group 9 with Vojvodina, Aberdeen, Copenhagen, and Rosenborg, and unlike Rijeka and Osijek, the Split club could already find out who they will play as four teams are known in their group. Hajduk could have thus faced the winner between FH Hafnarfjördur (Iceland) / Sligo Rovers (Ireland), or Tobol Kostanay (Kazakhstan), BK Häcken (Sweden), Torpedo-Belaz Zhodino (Belarus), Panevezys (Lithuania).

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Hajduk Preparations for 2021/22 Season Kick Off at Poljud (VIDEO)

June 15, 2021 - Hajduk preparations for the 2021/22 season kicked off Monday at Poljud with new coach Jens Gustafsson. 

In the Hajduk Salon at Poljud, coach Jens Gustafsson and his assistants gathered the Hajduk A-team players at the beginning of preparations for the new season. The Management Board President Lukša Jakobušić and the sports director Mindaugas Nikoličius spoke to the players along with the head coach before the very beginning of the preparations, announced Hajduk.hr.

The first gathering was attended by 30 players:

Kristian Dimitrov, Alexander Kačaniklić, Stefan Simić, Marko Livaja, Dimitrios Diamantakos, Marin Jakoliš, Josip Elez, Jani AtanasovJairo, Dino Skorup, Stanko Jurić, Luka Škaričić, Stipe Biuk, Karlo Sentić, Ivan Dolček, Toni Silić, David Čolina, Ivan Perić, Mario Vušković, Josip Posavec, Emir Sahiti, Ivan Ćubelić, Marin Ljubičić, Tonio Teklić, Mark Bushaj, Mario Čuić, Tino Blaž Lauš, Madžid Šošić, Ivan Čalušić, Ivan Šarić

 

Samuel Eduok will join the team on Tuesday, and the arrival of Lumbard Dell is expected later.

Hajduk had their first training on the Poljud auxiliary field, since work is underway on the main pitch to change the lawn.

"Today we start with light training, and then throughout the week, we continue with two training sessions a day, until the weekend when we play the first preparatory match in Dubrovnik. First of all, we will dedicate ourselves to working on physical fitness, and then to our style of play, that is, the style we want to play. I feel comfortable at the start of the preparations, we are all very ambitious, I feel a good balance between different personalities in my staff, and I hope that together we will improve Hajduk. We will fight and compete as long as we can and better, we have a long way to go and everyone will demand the maximum from everyone," said coach Jens Gustafsson.

"There are a lot of new, young players, who with their games through the Academy have shown that they deserve to be here with us. They will definitely need a little time to grasp everything, and we seniors will allow them everything to adjust as quickly as possible. I think we all had a good rest together and now we have to dedicate ourselves to our goals, which is to try to enter the groups of the Conference League, if we are able to achieve that, and to better prepare for the championship where we also have high ambitions," added Marko Livaja.

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Thursday, 10 June 2021

#Perišićuvrimeje: After Livaja, Another Hajduk Fan Campaign Launches to Bring Back Perišić

June 10, 2021 - Another Hajduk fan campaign has launched after the successful signing of Marko Livaja. Perišić, it's time! 

After the incredible fan energy that went into Marko Livaja staying at Hajduk for another three years, fans of the Split club are embarking on a new campaign, reports Gol.hr.

The Hajduk Zagreb Society of Friends has launched an initiative on its Facebook page to bring back Ivan Perišić to Hajduk.

"After Livaja, it's time for a new action: #Perišićuvrimeje (#Perišićitstime). Inter has financial problems, and we have a great desire for Perišić to return and, just like Livaja did this year, to play for the Hajduk senior team finally.

You won the Champions League; you were the champion of Germany with both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern; you recently conquered Italy by winning the Scudetto with Inter. Where are you going?

Get rid of the contract with Inter, arrange an amicable termination and return home. The whole of Dalmatia is waiting for you, and we on the continent, there are a lot of us, thank God," DPH Zagreb said.  

Perišić has a contract with Inter for another year, until June 30, 2022, but as Hajduk fans claim, the Nerazzurri have financial difficulties. After all, coach Antonio Conte recently turned them down just after winning the title because he was not on the same wavelength as the club's leaders regarding sports policy, i.e., transfers. The Chinese owners have announced cost-cutting and debt relief, and Conte wanted an extra step forward and new reinforcements to make Inter as competitive as possible in the Champions League.

Recently, Perišić was in Split with Livaja at the Hajduk juniors match when they celebrated the title. He did not make any statements, but the very arrival at the junior game ignited the imagination of the fans so that they could watch them both at Poljud in the upcoming season.

How things will develop, we will see in the coming weeks. Until a few months ago, it seemed impossible for Livaja to return to Hajduk at this stage of his career and look at what happened! 

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Hajduk Split Fans, Rejoice! Marko Livaja Signs Contract until 2024

June 9, 2021 - After a campaign that saw the participation of Hajduk fans worldwide, Marko Livaja has agreed to stay at the Split club! 

HNK Hajduk announced the news on its website on Wednesday: 

"To the delight of its entire fan base, HNK Hajduk is proud to announce that Marko Livaja will continue to defend the colors of our Club.

The club and the player have reached an agreement to extend the contract until the summer of 2024, and Marko will, from now on, wear the number 10 jersey.

Livaja returned to Poljud in February this year, and since then, has played 17 official matches for the Whites, scoring seven goals and eight assists. He delighted the entire public with his performances on the pitch, delighting all our fans, and he was the main wheel and leader of the team in the second part of the season.

Marko will be with the team from the first day of preparations, which officially begins on Monday, June 14 at Poljud."

"First of all, I want to thank all the fans. Since I came, and especially in the last month, you have emitted so much positive energy towards my family and me, countless messages of support, approval, and wishes for my stay. Even if I wanted to leave, it wouldn't be possible with all this you've done. From the very beginning, I desired to try to make something here that will be remembered. I think we still have unfinished business, and I am glad that together we are fighting for the highest goals," said Marko after signing the contract.

"This is a significant day for the Club; we are happy to have signed a long-term contract with Marko Livaja. He was the wish not only of us but of the entire fan base. Thanks to Marko, his wife Iris, and his whole family because they believe in Hajduk and what we do. Thanks also to the mediator who assisted in this work, Vincenzo Cavalieri. Thanks also to all the fans who participated in the #LivajaOstani campaign, which played a crucial role in his decision. Now we continue together, ready for new challenges and the fight for trophies," concluded the sports director of Mindaugas Nikolicius.

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Saturday, 5 June 2021

Works Continue on Long-Awaited New Poljud Pitch (VIDEO)

June 5, 2021 - Good news for Hajduk fans - works are currently underway on a brand new Poljud pitch that will soon crown the beloved Split stadium! 

Hajduk announced that installing the new hybrid lawn on the main Poljud pitch is in full swing. In accordance with the planned deadlines, the first planned phase of works, removing the lawn and preparing the substrate in cooperation with the company Jadro, has been completed.

In addition, 11 centimeters of old quartz sand were removed for better drainage, and the base for laying new quartz sand was leveled. Among other things, the grass surfaces of the warm-up area and the entire surrounding part outside the tartan track are being renewed.

The field was taken over by the Croatian Football Federation on Friday together with the contractor. In the next phase, they will lay the new pitch! 

 

The latest generation hybrid lawn will eventually cover the current field sand, and Hajduk will soon get the national team-worthy pitch it deserves.

Hajduk's new coach, Jens Gustafsson, will gather the team on June 14 and lead them at the beginning of preparations for the new competitive season.

Hajduk will train until June 17 in Split, when they will head down south to Konavle for three trainings before the first preparatory match. Hajduk will be guests at the 100th-anniversary celebration of HNK Slaven Gruda on June 19 at 5 pm at the Gnjila Sports Center playground.

After visiting the Dubrovnik surroundings, Hajduk will return home to train at Poljud until June 23. The team will then leave for fifteen-day preparations in Slovenia. This year, Hajduk's expedition will stay and do a series of training in the new preparation base in Zreče.

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Friday, 28 May 2021

Swedish Expert Jens Gustafsson Named New Hajduk Coach!

May 28, 2021 - HNK Hajduk has named its new coach, Swedish expert Jens Gustafsson, after parting ways with Paolo Tramezzani earlier this week. 

Hajduk's statement transmitted in full:

"HNK Hajduk and Jens Gustafsson have agreed on a two-year contract, based on which the 42-year-old Swedish expert will take over the position of the first-team coach.

Jens Gustafsson was born in Helsingborg on October 15, 1978. He started his football career in Helsingborg and also played for the Swedish clubs Brage and Falkenberg.

He started his coaching career with the U-17 team of Halmstad, where he was very quickly promoted to the first team coach and stayed there for three and a half years. He was the coach of the U-21 national team of Sweden and was hired as an assistant coach at AIK. For the last four and a half years, he has been the head coach of Norrköping, with whom he has achieved excellent results in the Swedish league.

In addition to graduating from the football academy and passing the UEFA PRO license, Jens Gustafsson also has a university degree in Behaviorism.

He is a modern coach who prefers an attacking style of football, and in Sweden, he excelled in working with young players with whom he regularly raised their value and playing abilities. In his seven-season coaching career so far, he has led over three hundred first-league games.

During his last tenure as Norrköping coach, he led a total of 166 games, recording 91 wins, 38 draws, and 37 losses. His team averaged 1.87 points, averaging 1.90 and conceding 1.19 goals.

We wish Mr. Gustafsson a lot of luck and success in Hajduk!" Hajduk concluded. 

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Thursday, 27 May 2021

Stipe Miočić: "I Want the UFC Title Fight at Poljud" (VIDEO)

May 27, 2021 - Stipe Miočić revealed to Croatian Sports that he wouldn't mind having the UFC title fight at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

Legendary UFC fighter Stipe Miočić is not giving up on his career and hopes to return the UFC champion belt he lost against Francis Ngannou.

As UFC boss Dana White recently hinted, Miočić should soon be in the ring against the winner of the Francis Ngannou - Derrick Lewis fight. 

Gol.hr reports that Miočić recently interviewed with Croatian Sports, a Croatian media portal in the United States, and revealed that he should soon arrive in Croatia soon and wishes to fight at Poljud.

"Oh yeah, that would be amazing. I love that Croatian fan mentality, Croatia is a perfect country… I am for the fight in Croatia, at Poljud, let's do it," said Miočić for Croatian Sports.

Journalist Ante Kvartuč asked Miočić if he had watched his beloved Hajduk live. Recall, Miočić was at Poljud during his last visit to Croatia and often pointed out that he was a fan of the famous Split club.

"No, I'm more of a guy who follows the national team," Stipe said honestly.

Croatia has Cro Cop, bronze and silver at the football World Cup, Goran Ivanišević, Marin Čilić, water polo players, basketball players… What do they have to achieve such great success?

"It can't be explained; it's all up to the mentality. You get into something, and you don't go out without achieving something," explains Miočić.

Back in March, and for the second time in his career, Stipe Miočić lost the UFC heavyweight title. Stipe suffered a heavy defeat in the fight for the UFC title in a rematch against Francis Ngannou. The Cameroonian defeated Miočić with a brutal knockout at the beginning of the second round. 

UFC president Dana White recently said that Miočić would fight the winner of Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis, a highly anticipated fight that should be held this August. Miočić said he is only waiting for the contract to make it real. 

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Saturday, 22 May 2021

HNL Final Round Recap: Hajduk Tops Lokomotiva for 4th Place Europa League Spot!

May 22, 2021 - The 36th and final round of the Croatian First League was played on Saturday. All games but Dinamo v. Sibenik started at 5 pm. A look at our HNL final round recap. 

While the final round did not determine the Croatian First League winner, it was crucial for three clubs as a Europa League spot was on the line - Hajduk, Rijeka, and Gorica were in focus. 

Hajduk v. Lokomotiva (2:0)

Hajduk and Lokomotiva met at Poljud for their final match. A win was imperative for Hajduk to secure the 4th-place spot which leads to Europa League. 

Marko Livaja scored far post in the 29th minute to settle Hajduk's nerves before the half. Hajduk's wunderkind Stipe Biuk sealed Croatia's victory in the 82nd minute for 2:0!

With this victory, Hajduk finishes in 4th place and locks in the final Europa League spot!  Lokomotiva finishes in 8th. 

Osijek v. Istra 1961 (1:1)

Osijek and Istra met at City Garden Stadium for their final match. Osijek had already secured 2nd place in the league, though the match had more importance for Istra who was closer to the bottom of the table. 

Kleinheisler scored for Osijek in the 34th minute for 1:0. Istra equalized in the 40th minute thanks to Ivancic. Istra finished in 9th. 

Rijeka v. Gorica (2:1)

Rijeka and Gorica met at Rujevica for their final match. A win would put Rijeka ahead of Gorica in 3rd, but a draw or loss would knock them down to 5th if Hajduk won.

Rijeka's Andrijasevic scored in the 10th minute for the early Rijeka lead. Gorica's Babec equalized ten minutes later for 1:1. Rijeka increased their lead in the 80th minute thanks to a Menalo goal for 2:1. With this result, Rijeka knocks Gorica out of 3rd place and secures a Europa League spot! Gorica thus finishes 5th. 

Slaven Belupo v. Varazdin (1:0)

Slaven Belupo and Varazdin met in Koprivnica for their final match. Belupo scored in the 57th minute but VAR ruled no-goal. Varazdin's goal was also called back minutes later. Zvonarek scored for Belupo in the 88th minute. With this result, Varazdin finishes 10th in the relegation spot. 

Dinamo v. Sibenik (play at 19:30) - result unimportant 

You can see the HNL table HERE

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Monday, 17 May 2021

HNL Round 35 Recap: Hajduk Tops Sibenik, Rijeka Defeats Varazdin to Stay in 4th

May 17, 2021 - The 35th round of the Croatian First League was held on May 15 and 16, 2021. This round saw Hajduk defeat Sibenik, while Rijeka topped Varazdin to remain in 4th place. Here is our HNL round 35 recap. 

Istra 1961 v. Slaven Belupo (1:0)

Istra and Belupo opened the 35th round on Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Pula. 

While the first half went without goals, the only goal of the match came at the start of the second half when Vuk scored for 1:0 and the eventual Istra victory. 

 

Istra is currently in 9th place with 29 points, while Belupo is in 7th with 31. 

Lokomotiva v. Osijek (0:2)

Lokomotiva and Osijek met in Zagreb on Saturday, May 15, 2021. 

Zaper scored Osijek's first goal which was called offside thanks to VAR in the 14th minute. The first half ended at 0:0. Kleinheisler scored in the 60th minute to finally put Osijek in the lead, though Mierez missed a penalty 13 minutes later to keep the game 0:1. Bohar scored for 0:2 in the 3rd minute of added time. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 8th place with 30 points, while Osijek is in 2nd with 74. 

Varazdin v. Rijeka (2:3)

Varazdin and Rijeka met in Varazdin on Sunday, May 16, 2021. 

Obregon scored the first goal for Varazdin in the 34th minute for 1:0 at the half. Rijeka's Menalo equalized in the 62nd minute, and Capan put Rijeka ahead five minutes later for 1:2. Drmic made it 1:3 for Rijeka in the 79th minute, and Novoselec scored in the 84th for a final score of 2:3.

 

Varazdin is currently in last place with 28 points, while Rijeka is in 4th with 58. 

Sibenik v. Hajduk (0:2)

Sibenik and Hajduk met in Sibenik on Sunday, May 17, 2021. 

While the first half went without goals, a Livaja header made it 0:1 for Hajduk in the 58th minute. Jakolis increased Hajduk's lead to 0:2 in the 70th. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 6th place with 35 points, while Hajduk is in 5th with 57. 

Gorica v. Dinamo (0:3)

Gorica and Dinamo closed out the 35th round in Velika Gorica on Sunday, May 16, 2021. 

The Croatian champions were too strong for Gorica with two goals by Gavranovic already in the first half (3', 36'). Lovric missed a penalty for Gorica in the 87th minute. Gavranovic secured a hat-trick with a final goal in the 3rd minute of added time for 0:3.

 

Gorica is currently in 3rd place with 59 points, while Dinamo became already became Croatian champions this season, with 82 points in 1st place. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE

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Thursday, 13 May 2021

HNL Round 34 Recap: Hajduk Shocks Gorica at Poljud with 4:0 Win, Osijek Tops Sibenik 3:0

May 13, 2021 - The 34th round of the Croatian First League was held on May 11 and 12, 2021. In this round, Hajduk shocks Gorica at Poljud with a 4:0 victory while Osiejk topped Sibenik 3:0 at home. A look at our HNL round 34 recap. 

Istra 1961 v. Lokomotiva (1:1)

Istra and Lokomotiva opened the 34th round on Tuesday, May 10, 2021, in Pula. 

Pivaric scored a penalty in the 38th minute to put Lokomotiva in the lead before Gonzalez equalized for Istra just before the whistle for halftime (1:1). Neither team was able to score in the second half. 

 

Istra is currently in 10th place with 26 points, while Lokomotiva is in 8th with 30. 

Osijek v. Sibenik (3:0)

Osijek and Sibenik met at City Garden Stadium on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. 

Osijek's Zaper scored from offside in the 28th minute to keep the match 0:0 at the half. Mierez missed a penalty in the 58th minute, but Santini finally got a goal in for Osijek in the 65th minute for 1:0. Mierez got his chance 8 minutes later when he scored for 2:0. Gyursco scored in the final minutes of added time for a final score of 3:0

 

Osijek is currently in 2nd place with 71 points, while Sibenik is in 6th with 35. 

Slaven Belupo v. Rijeka (0:2)

Belupo and Rijeka met on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Koprivnica.

Andrijasevic put Rijeka in the lead just before the half with a goal in the 40th minute for 0:1. Drmic scored in the 69th minute for 0:2, which was the final score of the match. 

 

Belupo is currently in 7th place with 31 points, while Rijeka is in 4th with 55. 

Dinamo v. Varazdin (2:2)

Dinamo and Varazdin met at Maksimir Stadium on Wedneday, My 12, 2021. 

Ivanusec scored an early goal for Dinamo to make it 1:0 in the 9th minute, but Elezi equalized in the 34th for 1:1. Peric put Dinamo back in the led for 2:1 at the half. Herrera equalized for Varazdin in the 59th minute for the final 2:2 result. 

 

Dinamo has already clinched the Croatian Championship title and sits in 1st place with 79 points, while Varazdin is in 9th with 28. 

Hajduk v. Gorica (4:0)

Hajduk and Gorica closed out the 34th round on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

Hajduk's first goal was thanks to a steller free-kick by Mario Vuskovic for 1:0 in the 14th minute. Kacaniklic made it 2:0 after a brilliant display by Hajduk wonderkid Duje Biuk. Only 7 minutes later, Marko Livaja scored a penalty to make it 3:0, and Biuk got his chance after humiliating the Gorica defense for 4:0 in the 39th minute. 

An own goal for Hajduk happened in the final seconds of the game, which was ultimately called offside by VAR. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 5th place with  54 points, while Gorica is in 3rd with 59. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE

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