Monday, 4 January 2021

HNL News: Gorica Names New Coach, Hajduk New Sports Director

January 4, 2021 - The latest HNL news, as Gorica brings on a new coach, and Hajduk a new sports director. 

Siniša Oreščanin was named the new coach of Gorica on Sunday. 

Namely, the third-placed HNL team lost coach Valdas Dambrauskas, who went to Ludogorets, Bulgaria, and sports director Mindaugas Nikoličius, who terminated his contract with Gorica and signed with Hajduk Split.

Index.hr reports that the first wish of the President of Gorica, Nenad Črnek, was the former Osijek coach Zoran Zekić, who recently returned from the Moldovan club Sheriff. On Saturday night, Črnko met with Zekić and Oreščanin and offered them his terms. Zekić asked for time to think, then turned down the offer on Sunday. It was then clear that the new coach would be Siniša Oreščanin, who should sign a contract until the summer of 2022 with the option to extend for another year.

Oreščanin should introduce himself to the team on Monday at 1 pm and immediately start preparations for the continuation of the season and a visit to Pula on January 19 near Istria.

Hajduk announced Mindaugas Nikoličius as the new sports director on Monday. Born on October 5, 1983, in Neringa, Lithuania, he has 16 years of experience in football and signed a contract with Hajduk until the summer of 2024.

He started his first job in football by working for the Lithuanian Football Federation in 2005. In 2006, the Scottish Heart of Midlothian hired him as a sports director and he remained in that position until 2008. Then, in 2010, he accepted the invitation of the Lithuanian club Zalgiris, in which he held the position of sports director and member of the Management Board for seven years.

He spent the last three years in the position of sports director and member of the Management Board of HNK Gorica, with which he terminated his contract and accepted Hajduk's invitation.

During his career as a sports director in these clubs, he won a total of 17 different trophies. He is a lawyer by profession and is fluent in Lithuanian, English, German, and Russian. He speaks and knows the basics of the Croatian language, Hajduk explained on their website of Nikoličius. 

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

Monday, 21 December 2020

HNL Round 16 Recap: Winter Season Ends with Dinamo and Osijek on Top of Table

December 21, 2020 - The 16th round of the Croatian First League was held on December 19 and 20, 2020. Only three games were played in the winter season's final round, putting Dinamo and Osijek on the top of the table. 

Osijek v. Sibenik (1:0)

Osijek and Sibenik opened the 16th round on Saturday, December 19, 2020, at City Garden Stadium. 

The only goal of the match came in the 17th minute, thanks to a stellar header by Skoric for the 1:0 Osijek win. 

 

Osijek is currently in 2nd place with 33 points and 16 games played, while Sibenik is in 7th with 13 and only 14 games played.

Dinamo v. Varazdin (4:0)

Dinamo and Varazdin met at Maksimir Stadium on Saturday, December 19, 2020. 

A goal by Orsic in the 23rd and Petkovic in the 31st put Dinamo up at 2:0 at the half. A penalty awarded for Dinamo in the 79th minute scored by Petkovic made it 3:0, and Hajrovic secured Dinamo's victory in the first minute of added time for the final 4:0 result. 

 

Dinamo is currently in 1st place with 33 points, however, with only 14 games played, while Varazdin is in 9th place with 12 points. 

Hajduk v. Gorica (2:4)

Hajduk and Gorica closed out the 16th round on Sunday, December 20, 2020, at Poljud Stadium. 

Dieye scored the first goal for Gorica for 0:1 in the 6th minute. Atanasov equalized for Hajduk in the 24th. A penalty was awarded to Gorica in the 53rd, which Lovric scored for 1:2. Diamanatakos scored for 2:2 in the 63rd. 

Another penalty was awarded to Gorica in the 76th minute, putting them back in the lead for 2:3. Moro scored a final-minute goal for the 2:4 Gorica victory. 

Hajduk is currently in 5th place with 17 points, though with only 14 games played, while Gorica is in 3rd place with 29 points and 14 games played.

Istra 1961 and Lokomotiva already played their last matches this year. They were supposed to meet at Aldo Drosina Stadium in the 16th round, but the match was postponed due to COVID-19 infections in the Istra squad. Istra also had to postpone their two previous games against Sibenik in the Cup and the championship.

HNS also postponed the 16th round match between Slaven Belupo and Rijeka.

The Koprivnica club has four positive COVID-19 cases, and the competent epidemiologist determined a measure of self-isolation for three other players because the contacts of the infected were close. According to the decision of the HNS Competition Commission, any team that has six or more players in self-isolation can request a postponement of the match.

Rijeka will welcome the winter break with 20 points in 4th place, with five games behind, while Slaven Belupo is 6th with 17 points and one game behind.

The match between Slaven and Rijeka was supposed to be played on Sunday, December 20. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

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

Monday, 14 December 2020

HNL Round 15 Recap: Rijeka and Dinamo Draw, Osijek and Hajduk Suffer Heavy Away Defeats

December 14, 2020 - The 15th round of the Croatian First League was held on December 12 and 13, 2020. This round featured an exciting derby at Rujevica, which saw Rijeka and Dinamo draw, while Osijek and Hajduk suffered two heavy away defeats. 

Gorica v. Osijek (4:1)

Gorica and Osijek opened the 15th round on Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Velika Gorica. 

Dieye was the first to score for Gorica in the 13th minute for the 1:0 lead, which was the result going into halftime. An equalizer by Mierez in the 49th gave Osijek hope before Kalik scored two goals for Gorica in the 54th and. 65th for 3:1. Mitrovic scored the final goal of the game in the 77th minute for the final 4:1 result.  

 

Gorica is currently in 3rd place with 26 points, while Osijek is in 2nd with 30. 

Varazdin v. Hajduk (4:2) 

Varazdin and Hajduk met on Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Varazdin. 

Posavec was the first to score for Gorica in the 4th minute for the early lead. Grgec increased Varazdin's lead in the 32nd minute for 2:0 at the half. Senic increased Varazdin's lead further in the 58th minute for 3:0. It wasn't until the 72nd minute that Caktas gave some hope to Hajduk for 3:1 and scored another goal five minutes later for 3:2. However, a final minute goal by Obregon locked in Varazdin's 4:2 victory. 

 

Varazdin is currently in 9th place with 12 points, while Hajduk is in 5th with 17. 

Lokomotiva v. Slaven Belupo (2:1)

Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo met on Sunday, December 13, 2020, in Zagreb. 

Prce put Belupo in the lead in the 38th minute for 0:1 at the half, though a quick equalizer at the start of the second by Tuci made it 1:1 in the 51st. Ibrahim put Lokomotiva in the lead with a goal in the 72nd minute for 2:1, which was the final result of the match. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 8th place with 12 points, while Belupo is in 6th with 17. 

Rijeka v. Dinamo (2:2)

Rijeka and Dinamo closed out the 15th round on Sunday, December 13, 2020, at Rujevica. 

Dinamo took the very early lead with a goal by Ivanusec in the 1st minute of play for 0:1 Dinamo. Galovic equalized for Rijeka in the 28th minute, before Menalo put Rijeka in the lead in the 35th for 2:1 at the half. Lauristen scored Dinamo's equalizer in the 82nd minute for 2:2. which was the final score of the match. 

 

Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 20 points, while Dinamo is in first place with 30. 

The 15th round match between Sibenik and Istria in 1961, which was to be played on Sunday, December 13 at 3 pm at Šubićevac, was postponed due to players infected with COVID-19 on both teams.

"After testing the complete teams of HNK Sibenik and NK Istra 1961 on December 3, coronavirus was confirmed in a large number of players in both clubs. Since the players have to be in isolation for at least ten days, it was impossible to play the 15th round match at the previously scheduled time," announced Sibenik.

Sibenik and Istra 1961 should also meet in the Cup at Šubićevac, which has been moved a day forward and is scheduled for December 15 at 3 pm.

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

To read more about coronavirus in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Monday, 7 December 2020

HNL Round 14 Recap: Rijeka Better than Hajduk in Adriatic Derby at Poljud

December 7, 2020 - The 14th round of the Croatian First League was held on December 5 and 6, 2020. Only three matches were played in this round, the most exciting of which was the Adriatic Derby at Poljud. 

Osijek v. Varazdin (1:0)

Osijek and Varazdin opened the 14th round on Saturday, December 5, 2020, at City Garden Stadium. 

While the first half went without goals, Bohar gave Osijek the lead and ultimately the win with his goal in the 59th minute for 1:0. 

Osijek is currently in first place with 30 points, while Varazdin is in 9th place with 9 points. 

Slaven Belupo v. Dinamo (1:5)

Belupo and Dinamo met in Koprivnica on Sunday, December 6, 2020. 

Gavranovic scored two early goals for Dinamo in the 5th and 16th minutes, making the score 0:2 for Dinamo at the half. Petkovic increased Dinamo's lead to 0:3 in the 78th minute, while Knoll was able to get one in for Belupo in the 85th. Two more goals for Dinamo in the 4th and 5th minutes of added time by Hajrovic and Ivanusec resulted in a 1:5 victory for the Zagreb club. 

Slaven Belupo is currently in 6th place with 17 points, while Dinamo is in second with 29.

Hajduk v. Rijeka (1:2)

Hajduk and Rijeka closed out the 14th round on Sunday, December 6,  2020, with the Adriatic Derby at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

Hajduk first took the lead in the 10th minute thanks to a Caktas penalty for 1:0. Rijeka's Loncar equalized five minutes before the half for 1:1. 

The second half was reminiscent of a water polo match, as the teams played in pools of water on the pitch during a constant downpour. A goal by Menalo in the 70th minute gave Rijeka the lead and ultimately the 1:2 win. 

Hajduk is currently in 5th place with 17 points, while Rijeka is in 4th place with 19 points. 

Two 14th round matches, between Lokomotiva - Šibenik, which was to be played on Saturday, and Istra 1961 - Gorica, which was scheduled for Monday, were postponed due to COVID-19 in the teams of Šibenik and Istra 1961. Šibenik and Istra 1961 have six players infected with the coronavirus.

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

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

  

Monday, 30 November 2020

HNL Round 13 Recap: Rijeka and Osijek Draw at Rujevica

November 30, 2020 - The 13th round of the Croatian First League was held from November 27 to 29, 2020. This round saw Rijeka and Osijek draw, while the highly-anticipated Eternal Derby between Dinamo and Hajduk was postponed. 

Sibenik v. Slaven Belupo (0:3)

Sibenik and Slaven Belupo opened the 13th round on Friday, November 27, 2020, in Sibenik. 

A goal in the first-minute by Lulic gave Belupo the early 0:1 lead. Thirty minutes later, Etoundi increased Belupo's lead to 0:2, which was the score at the half. The final goal of the match was scored in the 80th minute by Knoll, for the 0:3 Belupo victory. 

Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 13 points, while Belupo is in 6th place with 14. 

Varazdin v. Istra 1961 (1:1)

Varazdin and Istra met on Saturuday, November 28, 2020, in Varazdin. 

While the first half went without goals, Obregon was the first to score for the Varazdin lead in the 51st minute. A penalty for Istra in the 7th minute of added time was scored by Grzan for the equalizer and final 1:1 result. 

Varazdin is currently in 9th place with 9 points, while Istra is in 10th with 9 points. 

Gorica v. Lokomotiva (1:1)

Gorica and Lokomotiva met on Saturday, November 28, 2020, in Velika Gorica. 

Lovric put Gorica in the lead in the 13th minute for 1:0 at the half. Tuci scored the equalizer in the 50th minute for the final 1:1 result. 

 

Gorica is currently in 3rd place with 23 points, while Lokomotiva is in 8th place with 9. 

Rijeka v. Osijek (1:1)

Rijeka and Osijek closed out the 13th round at Rujevica Stadium on Sunday, November 29, 2020. 

While the first half went without goals, a double-yellow for Pavicic forced Rijeka to play with a man down from the 60th minute. However, Andrijasevic scored for Rijeka just four minutes later for the 1:0 lead. An 83rd-minute equalizer by Bockaj ended the game 1:1. 

Rijeka is currently in 5th place with 16 points, while Osijek is in 1st with 27. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

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

 

Monday, 23 November 2020

HNL Round 12 Recap: Osijek Topped Dinamo, Hajduk Better than Belupo

November 23, 2020 - The 12th round of the Croatian First League was held from November 20 to 21, 2020. In this round, Osijek topped Dinamo 2:0, and Hajduk won away at Belupo.

Lokomotiva v. Varazdin (2:2)

Lokomotiva and Varazdin opened the 12th round on Friday, November 20, 2020, in Zagreb. 

Delic scored the first goal for Varazdin in the 7th minute, though Chajia was quick to equalize for Lokomotiva with a goal three minutes later for 1:1. An own goal by Hendija gave Varazdin the 1:2 lead in the 60th, but a last-minute equalizer by Papadopoulos ended the game 2:2. 

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

Sibenik v. Gorica (1:3)

Sibenik and Gorica met for the second match on Friday, November 20, 2020, in Sibenik.

While Ampem gave Sibenik the lead in the 7th minute and through the first half, Gorica woke up in the second and scored all three of their goals - Cabraja in the 62nd, Suk in the 81st, and Lovric in the 3rd minute of added time. 

Sibenik is currently in 6th place with 13 points, while Gorica is in 3rd with 19. 

Osijek v. Dinamo (2:0)

Osijek and Dinamo met on Saturday, November 21, 2020, at City Garden Stadium.

While the first half went without goals, Osijek's Pilj gave the home team the lead in the 54th minute, and Zaper increased their lead to 2:0 in the 89th for the final score of the match. 

Osijek is currently in 2nd place with 23 points, while Dinamo is in first with 26.

Slaven Belupo v. Hajduk (0:2)

Belupo and Hajduk closed out the 12th round on Saturday, November 21, 2020, in Koprivnica. 

Hajduk Nayir scored the first goal of the match just before the half for 0:1. An own goal by Soldo increased Hajduk's lead to 0:2 in the 56th minute, which was the final result. 

Belupo is currently in 7th place with 11 points, while Hajduk is in 5th with 14. 

At the request of Rijeka, which counted seven footballers positive for coronavirus, the Croatian Football Federation postponed their 12th round match against Istria 1961, which was to be played on Saturday, November 21, in Pula. 

See the full HNL table HERE

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

 

Monday, 9 November 2020

HNL Round 11 Recap: Hajduk and Osijek Draw at Poljud, Dinamo Crush Istria 5:0

November 9, 2020 - The 11th round of the Croatian First League was held from November 7 to 8, 2020. This round saw Hajduk and Osijek draw at Poljud, while Dinamo toppled Istra 5:0. 

Varazdin v. Sibenik (1:3)

Varazdin and Sibenik opened the 11th round on Saturday, November 7, 2020, in Varazdin. 

Juric scored two goals for Sibenik in the first half (8', 26') for 0:2 at the half. A hattrick in the 57th minute made Juric the hero of the game. Varazdin's Benko slightly reduced Sibenik's lead with a goal in the 70th minute for the final result of 1:3. 

Varazdin is currently in last place with 7 points, while Sibenik is in 5th place with 13. 

Hajduk v. Osijek (1:1)

Hajduk and Osijek met in the second match on Saturday, November 7, 2020, at Poljud stadium in Split. 

Osijek took the lead in the 23rd minute thanks to a goal by Mierez for 0:1 at the half. Hajduk's Colina equalized for 1:1 in the 55th minute. Hajduk missed a last-minute penalty, resulting in a 1:1 draw. 

Hajduk is currently in 7th place with 11 points, while Osijek is in 2nd place with 20. 

Dinamo v. Istra 1961 (5:0)

Dinamo and Istra met at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb on Sunday, November 8, 2020. 

Gavranovic opened the scoring spree for Dinamo in the 6th minute, followed by a Jakic goal just before the half for 2:0. Gavranovic scored again in the 75th minute, followed by another quick goal one minute later by Orsic for 4:0 in the 76th minute. Tolic secured Dinamo's 5:0 victory with the final goal in the 87th minute. 

Dinamo is currently in first place with 26 points, while Istra is in 8th with 8. 

Rijeka v. Lokomotiva (1:0)

Rijeka and Lokomotiva closed out the 11th round on Sunday, November 8, 2020, at Rujevica stadium. 

Muric scored the only goal of the match, which happened in the 17th minute from a penalty to give Rijeka the win.

Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 15 points, while Lokomotiva is in 9th with 7. 

Recall, Gorica was supposed to host Slaven Belupo on Sunday, November 8, at 19:10, though the match was postponed again due to COVID-19. 

Several members of the Koprivnica first league squad tested positive, including players and members of the professional staff, so the entire team was ordered by the competent epidemiologist to go into self-isolation until Thursday, November 12. 

Gorica thus did not play for the third round in a row, as their previous two matches were also postponed (against Rijeka and Varazdin) because of COVID-19. 

You can see the full HNL table here.

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

 

Monday, 26 October 2020

HNL Round 9 Recap: Only Two Games Played, Wins for Dinamo and Slaven Belupo

October 26, 2020 - The 9th round of the Croatian First League was held from October 23 to 25, 2020. In this round, only two out of the five games were played, with wins for Dinamo and Slaven Belupo. 

Varazdin v. Slaven Belupo (1:2)

Varazdin and Belupo opened the 9th round in Varazdin on Friday, October 23, 2020.

Krstanovic scored in the 18th minute for Belupo to make the game 0:1 at the half. Bacelic-Grgic increased Belupo's lead in the 50th minute for 0:2. 

Petkovic was able to get one for Varazdin, making the final result of the match 1:2 

Varazdin is currently in 7th place with 7 points, while Belupo is in 5th with 10 points. 

Sibenik v. Dinamo (0:2)

Dinamo and Sibenik closed out the 9th round on Sunday, October 25, 2020. 

While the first half ended 0:0, Petkovic scored a penalty for Dinamo in the 54th minute for 0:1. Orsic increased Dinamo's lead in the 72nd minute for the final score of 0:2.

Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 7 points, while Dinamo is in 1st with 22 points. 

Recall, three 9th round Croatian First League matches meant to be played this weekend were postponed.

HNK Gorica announced on Friday that after testing the entire team and the professional staff of HNK Gorica, 13 players and three staff members are coronavirus-positive. Due to several infected players, the 9th round match against Rijeka was postponed. 

In addition to Gorica, Lokomotiva Zagreb announced they could not compete. After postponing the match against Osijek in the 8th round, the 9th round match against Hajduk, which was supposed to be played on October 24, at Kranjčevićeva, was also postponed. 

The same happened with the match between Istria and Osijek, as seven players of the Osijek Football Club tested positive. 

All matches will take place on the first possible date, which will be decided later.

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

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Corona Plagues Croatian First League: HNS Commissioner Responds

October 25, 2020 - The coronavirus permeated throughout the Croatian First League and disrupted the HNL schedule. This weekend, only two of the five games of the 9th round are being played, though the HNS commissioner claims that everything is under control.

"Obviously, we live in such a time that it had to happen," said Josip Brezni, adding: "So far, there is no reason to panic."

Gol.hr reports that five matches were postponed in the first two months of the new season because of COVID-19, and three more due to the European obligations of individual clubs.

"Thus, after the 9th round, only Varazdin and Sibenik will have the maximum number of games played. Dinamo, Slaven Belupo, Gorica and Istra will have one game behind, Osijek and Hajduk are two matches behind, and Rijeka and Lokomotiva are three," he said. 

As the Europa League continues in autumn, Rijeka could see even more delays.

"Even before the start of the Championship, we knew that if any of our clubs qualified for the group stage of Europe and postponed any match, as Rijeka postponed two due to the UEFA competition and now one due to the coronavirus, they could only make up games in the spring," says Brezni.

The regularity of the championship is not in question, for now.

"If we are possibly held back from the Headquarters or anything, and the situation worsens, resulting in further interruptions, of course, we will then adjust and possibly think about some next steps," Brezni points out.

Therefore, the HNL is deciding on possibly shortening the championship; however, the deadline for such a decision is strict.

"The last option for possibly changing the way this year's championship is played would be to play two more rounds in the spring part of the Championship."

Even if the situation worsens, Brezni does not see a realistic option for the HNL to be played in the same city, without spectators, and for the teams to be in a "bubble" modeled on the NBA or the Champions League final.

On Saturday, the Istrian headquarters received a recommendation to postpone all inter-county competitions, which would mean that Istra 1961 cannot play its HNL matches. 

The HNL commissioner commented:

"I personally think that there is really no reason for professional clubs to be restricted from playing matches. Eventually, it is realistic to think that the stadiums will be closed again and that we will play without spectators for most of the championship," he concluded. 

The worst situation is in Gorica, which has 13 infected players, followed by Osijek with seven coronavirus-positive players. Some postponed matches will start to be played next week.

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

Saturday, 24 October 2020

13 Players and 3 Staff Members Are Coronavirus-Positive at HNK Gorica

October 24, 2020 - 13 players and 3 staff members are coronavirus-positive at HNK Gorica, the club announced on Friday evening.

HNK Gorica announced on Friday that after testing the entire team and the professional staff of HNK Gorica, 13 players and three staff members are coronavirus-positive.

Everyone infected is immediately referred to self-isolation; everyone feels good and has no pronounced symptoms, the club added.

Due to a large number of infected players, the 9th round match against Rijeka was postponed this weekend. Furthermore, the 10th round match of the Croatian First League between HNK Gorica and NK Varazdin, which was supposed to be played on October 30, has also been postponed.

Following the regulations of the HNS and the decision of the HNS Competition Commission, individual matches can be postponed in the event there are six or more players of the same club in self-isolation. According to the provisions of the Ordinance on football competitions and the Proposal of the competition, postponed matches must be played in the first possible free period.

As things stand now, HNK Gorica will play their 11th round of the Croatian First League against Slaven Belupo, on Sunday, November 8, at 19:00. It was originally supposed to be played two days earlier, but the date was changed due to new circumstances.

Recall, three 9th round Croatian First League matches meant to be played this weekend have been postponed.

In addition to Gorica, Lokomotiva Zagreb announced they still cannot compete as the coronavirus has penetrated its dressing room. After postponing the match against Osijek last weekend, the 9th round match against Hajduk, which was supposed to be played on October 24, at Kranjčevićeva, is also postponed. The match will take place on the first possible date, which will be decided later.

The same happened with the match between Istria and Osijek, as seven players of the Osijek Football Club have tested positive. 

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

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