Saturday, 22 August 2020

NK Osijek Attacks Hajduk with Ante Erceg

August 22, 2020 - Everything is ready for Sunday's tense clash at City Garden Stadium in Osijek, against an always interesting opponent - Hajduk.

There is a lack of recently sold strikers, especially Mirko Maric, who now defends the colors of Monza, but also Antonio Mance, who was loaned to the Hungarian Puskas Academy. Coach Ivica Kulesevic has not yet decided whether Ante Erceg will play against Hajduk from the first minute. However, the blood count has improved because the recovered Petar Bockaj is returning to the team, and Laszlo Kleinheisler has trained all week, so he is expected to perform much better than in the first round match against Slaven Belupo when he played the last ten minutes.

"Erceg is physically good, he probably lacks competitive matches and training with the team, but we will bridge that quickly. His arrival gives us a wide range of possibilities when it comes to attacking because he can play in more positions," says Kulesevic.

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Slobodan Kadic 

Although practically all the good that Osijek currently has will run on the pitch, there will still be no captain Mile Skoric who was suspended due to a reckless move and exclusion from the beginning of the match against Slaven Belupo. By the way, Skoric recently received a pre-invitation from Zlatko Dalic, the coach of the Croatia national football team for the Nations League matches against Portugal and France, which are scheduled for September 5 and 8 in Porto and Paris. However, he is not in the best shape at the moment.

Osijek residents have high hopes for Erceg, a former Hajduk player who did not really play in Brondby, Denmark. To acclimatize to Osijek, his former teammate from RNK Split, who plays for Osijek - Ante Majstorovic - will come in handy.

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Slobodan Kadic 

"My first wish is to win against Hajduk. I am really glad to be in such a club that is ambitious and growing in every segment. Regardless of the opponent, I now play for Osijek. If I get the chance, it is only logical to do everything I can to make Osijek more successful in that derby in the end," Erceg pointed out.

Ramon Mierez is expected to arrive in Osijek, and sports director Alen Petrovic is constantly looking for new names. He is interested in Kristijan Kahlina, the goalkeeper of Gorica, but also another back midfielder and left-back to strengthen the competition in the team further.

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Slobodan Kadic 

The Osijek pitch will burn on Sunday, and whether the home team will manage to overcome the always challenging Hajduk players who will present themselves in Osijek with a new coach, will be seen soon.

All that remains for Ivica Kulesevic is to arrange the dice together until the end.

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Friday, 21 August 2020

Ivo Grbic to Atletico Fans: "I am from Split, Biggest Club in Croatia with Best Fans"

August 21, 2020 - After the transfer of his life, Croatian goalkeeper Ivo Grbic introduced himself to Atletico Madrid fans.

Croatian goalkeeper Ivo Grbic introduced himself to the fans of Atletico Madrid, where he signed a goalkeeping contract on Thursday. Grbic has signed a four-year contract and will be the reserve goalkeeper for Slovenian first-keeper Jan Oblak.

"I am very happy. I am grateful to all the people at the club who welcomed me. Thank you to the fans for the welcome. My dream has come true. I have come to Madrid and I will play for one of the biggest clubs in the world," said the new Atletico Madrid goalkeeper.

"Atletico is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I watched all their games this season. I like coach Simeone and the character of the team. In all games, all the players give 100 percent of themselves, have a great coach and top fans. My favorite players in Atletico's history are Forlan and Fernando Torres, and today Jan Oblak," Grbic said and continued how much he loves and appreciates the Slovenian keeper.

"All my dreams have come true. I will do every training and learn from one of the best goalkeepers in the world. For me, he is the best. Oblak is from Slovenia near Croatia and I will learn from him every day."

Grbic is a child of Hajduk. He grew up at Poljud and left the club two years ago for Lokomotiva, which brought him for free. Today, he made the biggest transfer in the history of the Kajzerica club.

"I'm from Split, a city that has the biggest club in Croatia, which also has the mentality of always giving 100 percent on the pitch. It has the best fans in Croatia. I know everything about Atletico. Vrsaljko told me everything I need to know; he told me that we have the best coach in the world and I am really happy to play for this club. Aupa Atleti," said Grbic.

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Thursday, 20 August 2020

Ivo Grbic Signs for Atletico Madrid in Record Croatian Goalkeeper Transfer

August 20, 2020 - The 24-year-old Lokomotiva goalkeeper Ivo Grbic has officially signed for Atletico Madrid!

Gol.hr reports that Ivo Grbic has signed the contract of his life. The child of Hajduk is going to famous Spanish club Atletico Madrid, though not from Poljud - but Kajzerica.

Lokomotiva is responsible for the colossal transfer, selling Grbic to Atletico for six million euro. The Zagreb club brought him from Hajduk for free.

As the Spanish portal Goal has learned, Grbic, accompanied by his manager, went by plane to Madrid on Wednesday, where he will undergo medical examinations and sign a historic contract for Croatian football.

The most expensive transfer of a Croatian goalkeeper was six million euro when Ghent sold Lovre Kalinic to Aston Villa, and even before that transfer, Kalinic also held the record for the most expensive Croatian goalkeeper. Hajduk sold him to Ghent for 3.7 million euro.

Thus, Lokomotiva breaks Hajduk's club record, and soon Kalinic's six million will become the second-largest goalkeeper transfer in Croatian history.

Namely, some sources say that Grbic's transfer could increase up to eight million euro thanks to bonuses, but these are still just speculations and there is no official confirmation of the news.

Goal revealed that Slaven Bilic almost agreed on Grbic's transfer to WBA, but at the last minute, Atletico offered the most and sealed the deal on the promising 24-year-old goalkeeper. The Spaniards write that Bilic put an offer on Grbic's table, and the young goalkeeper was in favor of going to England, but Atletico swooped in and ruined the plans of the former Croatia coach. 

Atletico is sending Alex Dos Santos, a goalkeeper from their football school, to Lokomotiva, and Lokomotiva will also receive 15% of Grbic's sales to another club in the future, Spanish media reports. 

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Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Dinamo Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus

August 19, 2020 - Dinamo Zagreb released a statement Wednesday morning that one player tested positive for coronavirus, but did not reveal the identity of the player.

We have transmitted the club's press release in its entirety below:

"We hereby inform the public that one player from the GNK Dinamo system is positive for COVID-19. Pursuant to the Personal Data Protection Act (GDPR), we cannot disclose the identity of a person positive for the coronavirus.

The player who had symptoms immediately informed the GNK Dinamo medical service about his condition, which informed the competent epidemiological service about the situation in accordance with all prescribed measures. Today, the player received a positive result and was given a measure of strict self-isolation, in accordance with the recommendations of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia and the working group of the Croatian Football Federation.

According to the assessment of the medical service of the club and the epidemiological service at this time, there is no need for self-isolation of other players or members of the professional staff, given that the infected player was not in close contact with other people indoors, within the confines of the stadium.

Clubs participating in the UEFA competition are required to perform COVID-19 tests before each match in accordance with all prescribed measures, twice before the match. All members of the first team will be tested on COVID-19 on Thursday, August 20, and a few days later, the second test will be done.

GNK Dinamo will carry out intensified supervision in the coming days and will closely monitor the situation within the club in order to protect the players, the professional staff and all employees."

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Monday, 17 August 2020

HNL Round 1 Recap: Dinamo Crush Lokomotiva, Hajduk Better than Istra at Poljud

August 17, 2020 - The Croatian First League first round of the 2020/21 season was held from August 14 to 16, 2020. The opening round saw Dinamo embarrass 2019/20 season runners-up Lokomotiva, while Hajduk started with a win at home. Due to epidemiological reasons, all games were played without spectators. 

Varazdin v. Gorica (1:5)

Varazdin and Gorica opened the 1st round on Friday, August 14, 2020, in  Varazdin. 

Spikic scored the first goal for Gorica in the 39th minute for 0:1 at the half. Djurasek equalized in the 63rd for 1:1. A Mudrinski goal in the 81st put Gorica back in the lead, which was followed by three goals from the 90th minute by Doka, Canadjija, and Mudrinski for a final score of 1:5. 

Varazdin is currently in 9th place with 0 points, while Gorica is in 2nd with 3. 

Rijeka v. Sibenik (2:1)

Rijeka and Sibenik met on Saturday, August 15, 2020,  at Rujevica stadium. 

It was Sibenik to take the lead in the 9th minute thanks to a goal by Bulat - and Rijeka's Yakete didn't equalize until the 84th minute! A 90th-minute goal by Muric ultimately gave Rijeka the win. 

Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 3 points, while Sibenik is in 7th with 0. 

Osijek v. Slaven Belupo (0:0)

Osijek and Belupo met on Saturday, August 15, 2020, at City Garden Stadium.

A double yellow for Skoric has Osijek playing with 10 men from the 30th minute. Neither team was able to score. 

Osijek is currently in 5th place with one point, while Belupo is in 6th with one point. 

Hajduk v. Istra 1961 (2:0)

Hajduk and Istra met at Poljud on Sunday, August 16, 2020. 

While the first half went without goals, it was Dimitrov to put Hajduk in the lead for 1:0 in the 72nd minute. Gyursco increased Hajduk's lead to 2:0 with a goal in the 83rd minute, which was the final result. 

Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 3 points, while Istra is in 8th with 0. 

Dinamo v. Lokomotiva (6:0)

Dinamo and Lokomotiva closed out the first round on Sunday, August 16, 2020, at Maksimir stadium. 

Two quick goals by Majer in the 6th and 27th minute put Dinamo in the 2:0 lead at the half. Gavranovic increased Dinamo's lead to 3:0 in the 50th minute, while goals by Orsic and Ivanusec in the 78th and 79th minutes made it 5:0. Andric scored the final goal of the match ten minutes later for the 6:0 result. 

Dinamo is currently in first place with 3 points, while Lokomotiva is in last with 0. 

You can see the full HNL table here

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Monday, 10 August 2020

HNS Confirms: 2020/21 Croatian Football Season Without Spectators Until Further Notice

August 10, 2020 - The HNS Executive Board has decided that the matches of the Croatian First League, the Second HNL, the Croatian Football Cup, and the youth competition will be played without the presence of spectators.

HNS announced on its website:

"At the proposal of the Competition Commission of the HNS and the Working Group for the Return of Football, the Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation decided that the matches of the Croatian Telecom First League, Croatian Football Cup, Second Croatian Football League, First Croatian Junior Football League and First Croatian Football league for pioneers and cadets in the competition year 2020/21, will be played without spectators until further notice.

This decision builds on the decision made by the Executive Board on July 20, 2020, which determined that the end of the 2019/20 competition year will take place without the presence of spectators in stadiums, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new season of the Croatian First League will be opened by Varazdin and Gorica, who will meet on August 14 at the NK Varazdin stadium."

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Monday, 10 August 2020

Dinamo Zagreb and Lokomotiva Learn Opponents for Champions League Playoffs

August 10, 2020 - A draw was held for the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Among the names were Croatian clubs Dinamo Zagreb and Lokomotiva.

Index.hr reports that the Croatian champion was the top seed in the draw for the champions and drew the winner of Romanian club Cluj or Maltese club Floriana. Lokomotiva, which participated in the draw of teams that did not win national championships, drew Vienna Rapid, the easiest possible rival in the competition of Plzen and Besiktas.

Dinamo was unlucky in the home draw, too, and will play away on August 25 or 26, because only one game is being played at this stage of the competition. Lokomotiva will host its rival.

The new season starts in Romania on August 22. Cluj won the title for the third year in a row last season, this time with a five-point advantage after losing just one game in the Champions League play-offs. The team's top scorer is 34-year-old Ciprian Deac, who scored 18 goals in 42 games.

This season, as the second-placed team, Cluj passed the Europa League group, which included Lazio, Celtic and Rennes, and was eliminated by Seville in the knockout phase thanks to an away goal.

On the eve of the draw, Lokomotiva had two wishes - to draw Rapid and be the host. Both wishes came true for the Croatian runner-up, so at the end of the month in Kranjceviceva, they will be chasing a spot in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. By eliminating Rapid, Lokomotiva would secure at least the group stage of the Europa League.

The night before the draw, Dinamo found out about its potential rivals - Romanian Cluj, Maltese Floriana, Hungarian Ferencvaros, Swedish Djurgarden, Slovak Slovan or the representative of the Faroe Islands KI. Cluj, Ferencvaros and Slovan were at the top or in the top half of the clubs, meaning that the Zagreb club could not get tougher rivals.

In the third qualifying round, one game will be played. Dinamo would be the leader in that phase, as well as in the play-off, which is played in two games. Clubs that are eliminated in the Champions League qualifiers continue to compete in the Europa League.

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Monday, 10 August 2020

Lokomotiva Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus

August 10, 2020 - A Lokomotiva footballer has tested positive for coronavirus, whose name has not been released. The club issued a statement on Sunday evening. 

"A Lokomotiva player who returned to Zagreb with a fever after a five-day break was tested for COVID-19 and the result was positive. According to the Personal Data Protection Act (GDPR), we are unable to disclose the identity of an infected person. The competent epidemiological service was immediately notified, which imposed a measure of strict self-isolation on the player, all following the recommendations of the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters and the HNS working group," Lokomotiva said.

This is the first case of coronavirus infection in the HNL, reports Index.hr.

"Even though the player was not in contact with the players of the first team after returning from vacation, intensified supervision will be carried out in the next period, and they will react promptly based on the epidemiological situation. In the coming period, the first team will train in strict conditions, without the use of locker rooms, with regular temperature measurements in accordance with the protocols of UEFA and HNS. The players and the professional staff will be tested for COVID-19 during the week, and on two more occasions before the match of the 2nd qualifying round for the Champions League, in accordance with UEFA protocol.

The rest of the team, according to the instructions of the epidemiological service, does not have to go into self-isolation, but all activities in the club will be held under stricter protection measures. The competent epidemiologist estimated that there were no elements of additional risk for the club, but the Working Group for the return of HNS competition recommended increased supervision and additional hygienic and epidemiological measures," reads the statement published by Lokomotiva on its website.

Lokomotiva will continue its preparations for the upcoming season, but under special protection measures. The training match in Karlovac, which was supposed to take place on Monday night, was canceled, as well as the trip to Mreznica, to the hotel-restaurant Mirni kut in Zvecaj, where the team was supposed to stay until Wednesday. All training will be held at Kajzerica.

For now, there is no danger that UEFA will expel Lokomotiva from the qualifications for the Champions League because of this case. UEFA can, however, apply rigorous measures to a certain club in case that club does not have 13 healthy players.

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Thursday, 6 August 2020

Croatian First League Playoffs: Istra 1961 Loss Enough to Keep Spot in Top League

August 6, 2020 - For the third year in a row, Istra 1961 has managed to maintain its first league status through additional qualifications and will continue to play in the company of the best next season.

While Istra celebrated 3-0 in the first match at Kantrida Stadium in Rijeka, they lost the return qualifying match to Orijent 0-1 (0-0). Ilicic scored the only goal in the match in the 49th minute. 

As Istra 1961 convincingly won the first duel, it seemed that the return would be just a formality. However, Orijent played a great game in Pula and only needed to better realize their shots for a big turnaround. Already in the first 15 minutes, the guests created two great opportunities, but their inaccuracy and home team goalkeeper Condric kept the score at 0-0.

At the beginning of the second half, Orijent took the lead, and in the 49th minute, stopper Mulac sent a diagonal ball into the penalty area, where Ilicic reacted brilliantly and beat Condric with a first touch shot.

By the end of the match, Orijent had the initiative and several opportunities, of which Maruzina stood out in the 85th minute when Condric saved his strike with the utmost effort, and Fumic's attempt from the second minute of the referee's added time, which was stopped by the post.

Recall, in the first round match at Kantrida Stadium in Rijeka, the first two Istra goals in the match were scored by Grzan, in the 8th minute from a penalty kick and the 64th minute, while Maganjic secured the final result in the third minute of added time.

Istra 1961 will play against Hajduk in 10 days in the 1st round of the new season, while Orijent will play against Osijek II in the 1st round of the Second HNL.

Source: HRT

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Monday, 3 August 2020

Croatian First League Playoffs: Istra 1961 Tops Orijent in First Match at Kantrida

August 3, 2020 - In the first match of the playoffs for the Croatian First League, Istra 1961, as a guest at Kantrida stadium, defeated Orijent 3-0 (1-0) and took a big step towards remaining in the company of Croatia's football best.

The first two goals in the match were scored by Grzan, the first in the 8th minute from a penalty kick, the second in the 64th minute, and Maganjic secured the final result in the third minute of the referee's added time.

Istra gained the advantage very early after Smolcic clumsily and unnecessarily knocked down Guzina in the penalty area. Grzan made sure the ball went nowhere but the net for the 1-0 lead.

Already in the 22nd minute, Orijent began losing hope as Ivancevic was sent off with a red card due to a dangerous play. Orijent was forced to play with a man down for the rest of the match.

The second goal of the match was scored by Grzan in the 64th minute, when in the race for a deep ball, Grzan was quicker than the Orijent goalkeeper Berkovic, found his way around him and hit the empty net diagonally.

At the very end of the match, the questionable referee Jovic showed two more red cards. First, after a rough foul, he only showed Istra 1961 player Ivancic a yellow card. After Orijent player Gerc pointed out that it was a red card foul, Jovic first showed Gerc a yellow card for objecting, and as it was his second yellow card, he was excluded from the game. Jovic then consulted VAR, and after watching a recording of Ivancic's offense, he excluded him as well.

At the very end of the match, Maganjic locked in Istra's final and convincing 3-0 lead.

The return match will be played in Pula on Wednesday.

Source: HRT

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