Monday, 28 September 2020

HNL Round 6 Recap: Hajduk Topped Varazdin at Stormy Poljud

September 28, 2020 - The 6th round of the Croatian First League was held on September 26 and 27, 2020. In this round, Hajduk topped Varazdin at a very stormy Poljud, while Osijek was better than Gorica. The games between Dinamo and Rijeka, and Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo were postponed due to obligations in the Europa League.

Istra 1961 v. Sibenik (1:0)

Istra and Sibenik opened the 6th round on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Pula. 

The only goal of the match came in the 39th minute when Ivancic scored for 1:0 at the half. Grzan missed a penalty in the 70th minute and failed to increase Istra's lead. The game ended 1:0.

Istra is currently in 9th place with 4 points, while Sibenik is in 8th with 4 points. 

Osijek v. Gorica (2:1)

Osijek and Gorica met on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at City Garden Stadium. 

Mierez scored a penalty for Osijek in the 3rd minute of the ref's added time, just before the half. A Doka double-yellow saw Gorica play with a man down from the 72nd minute. Gorica, however, was able to equalize in the 84th minute thanks to a Lovric goal. Grgic put Osijek back in the lead in the 7th minute of added time for a final score of 2:1.

Osijek is currently in 4th place with 10 points, while Gorica is in 2nd place with 13 points. 

Hajduk v. Varazdin (2:0)

Hajduk and Varazdin closed out the 6th round on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at Poljud Stadium. 

Gyursco scored an early goal for Hajduk in the 5th minute to put them ahead 1:0. A Pellumbi red card for Varazdin in the 15th minute did not help them equal the score. 

A penalty was awarded to Hajduk in the 50th minute, which Caktas scored for 2:0. A vicious storm erupted in the game's final minutes, which you can see in the video below. 

Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 10 points, while Varazdin is in 5th with 7. 

Dinamo and Rijeka, and Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo, will play their 6th round matches in the first free term.

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Monday, 21 September 2020

HNL Round 5 Recap: Dinamo and Slaven Belupo Draw at Maksimir

September 21, 2020 - The 5th round of the Croatian First League was held from September 18 to 20, 2020.  This round saw Dinamo and Slaven Belupo draw, while the Adriatic Derby between Rijeka and Hajduk was postponed due to commitments in the Europa League this week. 

Sibenik v. Lokomotiva (3:2)

Sibenik and Lokomotiva opened the 5th round on Friday, September 18, 2020, at Stadion Subicevac. 

Ampem opened the scoring for Sibenik in the 11th minute for 1:0. Lokomotiva's Kallaku equalized in the 33rd for 1:1. Juric's goal six minutes before the half put Sibenik back in the lead. 

Sammir equalized for Lokomotiva in the 69th minute, but an 84th-minute goal by Ampem gave Sibenik the 3:2 win. 

Sibenik is currently in 8th place with 4 points, while Lokomotiva is in 9th place with 4 points. 

Gorica v. Istra 1961 (2:2)

Gorica and Istra met in the 5th round on Saturday, September 19, 2020, in Velika Gorica. 

Vuk scored for the Istra lead in the 11th minute, though Spikic scored the equalizer for Lokomotiva in the 29th. A Suk goal for Gorica was called back thanks to VAR just before the half. 

A red card for Steenvoorden in the 73rd minute saw Gorica play a man down for the remainder of the game, while Grzan nailed the penalty to put Istra back in the lead.  In the 89th minute, Delfi scored the equalizer for the final score of 2:2.

Gorica is currently in 2nd place with 13 points, while Istra is in 10th with one point. 

Dinamo v. Slaven Belupo (3:3)

Dinamo and Slaven Belupo met on Saturday, September 19, 2020, at Maksimir stadium. 

An early Belupo goal by Etoundi shocked Dinamo in the first minute of the game. However, Gavranovic equalized three minutes later for 1:1 in the 4th minute. Gavranovic scored again in the 8th minute for the Dinamo lead. A Belupo penalty in the 22nd minute saw Krstanovic score the equalizer for 2:2 at the half. 

Lovro Majer put Dinamo back in the lead for 3:2 in the 69th minute, while Knoll equalized for the final score of 3:3. Belupo's Zirdum received a double-yellow.

Dinamo is currently in first place with 13 points, while Belupo is in 7th with 4. 

Varazdin v. Osijek (0:1)

Varazdin and Osijek closed out the 5th round this weekend Sunday, September 20, 2020, at NK Varteks Stadium. 

The only goal of the match came in the 15th minute when Zaper scored for the Osijek win. 

Varazdin is currently in 5th place with 7 points, while Osijek is in 4th with 7 points. 

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Monday, 14 September 2020

HNS Confirms: Spectators Return to Croatian Football Leagues from September 18

September 14, 2020 - The Croatian Football Federation has confirmed that spectators will return to Croatian football leagues from September 18, 2020. 

The Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation has decided to allow spectators at stadiums from September 18, so long as they meet several conditions to ensure maximum protection of spectators and all actors in the COVID-19 pandemic.

A limited number of spectators will be able to attend the matches of the HT First League, the Croatian Football Cup, the 2nd HNL, and the First HNL for juniors, cadets, and pioneers, up to 30 percent of the capacity of each grandstand or stadium box. Visiting fans will not be allowed to attend the matches.

The host club is obliged to organize each match following the current measures of the competent local civil protection headquarters, and the organization of matches should be carried out in compliance with all prescribed epidemiological measures (maintaining the distance between spectators, ensuring the use of disinfectants, etc.)

In making this decision, the HNS Executive Board took into account the position of Uefa, which will allow the return of a limited number of spectators to the Super Cup match, and the fact that the epidemiological situation varies significantly from county to county. That is why the arrival of visiting fans will not be allowed.

The decision was made known to the National Civil Protection Headquarters and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

If there is non-compliance with the measures, particularly the distance between spectators or the number of spectators being exceeded, the competition commissioner is authorized to decide for the host club to play matches without spectators.

If the competent local civil protection headquarters prohibits the arrival of spectators to a certain host club, 50 people of the host club are allowed to attend HT First League matches, and 30 people of the host club are allowed to attend the 2nd HNL matches, provided that this is following epidemiological measures that city or county.

The decision shall apply from September 18, 2020.

Source: HNS

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Monday, 14 September 2020

HNL Round 4 Recap: Dinamo Tops Hajduk in Eternal Derby at Poljud

September 14, 2020 - The 4th round of HNL was played from September 11 to 13, 2020. This round featured the Eternal Derby at Poljud, where Dinamo was better than Hajduk, while Osijek crushed Rijeka 3:0. 

Slaven Belupo v. Sibenik (0:0)

Slaven Belupo and Sibenik opened the 4th round in Koprivnica on Friday, September 11, 2020. 

Krstanovic missed a penalty just before the half, and the game went without goals.

Belupo is currently in 8th place with 3 points, while Sibenik is in 9th with one point. 

Osijek v. Rijeka (3:0)

Osijek and Rijeka met on Saturday, September 12, 2020, for their 4th round match at City Garden Stadium. 

An early goal by Jugovic had Osijek in the lead in the 5th minute. Rijeka's Arsenic saw a red card in the 37th minute, which drastically changed the game. Osijek scored their second goal one minute later for 2:0 at the half.

Osijek secured their victory with a goal by Mierez in the 75th minute, which was the final score of the game. 

Osijek is currently in 6th place with 4 points, while Rijeka is in 5th with 4 points. 

Hajduk v. Dinamo (1:2)

Hajduk and Dinamo met for the season's first Eternal Derby at Poljud on Saturday, September 12, 2020. 

Kastrati gave Dinamo the lead just three minutes before the half for 0:1. Five minutes into the second half, Orsic scored a stunner for 0:2 

Hajduk's Juric was able to get a header in the back of the net in the 88th minute for 1:2, which was the final score of the game. 

Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 7 points, while Dinamo is in first place with 12.

Istra 1961 v. Varazdin (0:1)

Istra and Varazdin met in Pula at the Aldo Drosini Stadium on Sunday, September 13, 2020. 

The game's only goal was scored by Senic in the 37th minute, which gave Varazdin the 0:1 victory. 

Istra is currently in the last place with 0 points, while Varazdin is in 4th with 7 points. 

Lokomotiva v. Gorica (1:2)

Lokomotiva and Gorica closed out the 4th round in Zagreb on Sunday, September 13, 2020. 

Lovric scored for Gorica in the 32nd minute for 0:1 at the half. Lovric increased Gorica's lead in the 85th minute to 0:2, though Karacic was able to get one in for Lokomotiva for a final result of 1:2. 

Lokomotiva is currently in 7th place with 4 points, while Gorica is in 2nd place with 12 points. 

All games were played without the presence of spectators. You can see the full HNL table here

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Thursday, 10 September 2020

HNS Discusses Returning Spectators to Stadiums, Possible from 5th Round of HNL

September 10, 2020 - Big football news today, as HNS discusses returning spectators to stadiums in the Croatian league.

24 Sata reports that about two months after the Croatian Football Federation decided that spectators could not visit stadiums "to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus at matches" and bring last season's competition to a successful end, fans should fill the stands of HNL stadiums soon.

"We have a working group that will propose the return of spectators to the stands, one third as allowed with the prior approval of the County Civil Protection Headquarters and, of course, with compliance with all epidemiological measures," said HNS Executive Director Marijan Kustic.

Unfortunately, there will be no fans for the biggest Croatian derby between Hajduk and Dinamo, which will be played on Saturday at Poljud. However, spectators should be allowed again, starting from the fifth round.

It should be reminded that in the 29th round of the HNL last season, HNS allowed spectators before the last round, when coronavirus cases were growing in Croatia. The last round, however, was played without fans. 

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Monday, 31 August 2020

HNL Round 3 Recap: Dinamo Tops Osijek, Hajduk and Belupo Draw

August 31, 2020 - The 3rd round of the Croatian First League was held from August 28 to 30, 2020. This round saw Dinamo top Osijek 4:1, and Hajduk and Belupo draw at Poljud. The 3rd round was played without the presence of spectators. 

Gorica v. Sibenik (3:2)

Gorica and Sibenik opened the third round of the Croatian First League on August 28, 2020, in Velika Gorica. 

Mudrinski opened the scoring for Gorica with a goal in the third minute for 1:0. Bulat had the chance to equalize in the 45th minute though he missed a penalty. 

Lovric increased Gorica's lead to 2:0 in the 65th minute, and Babec made it 3:0 in the 75th. Rak scored in the 87th minute for 3:1, and Anocic in the third minute of added time for the final score of 3:2. 

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

Rijeka v. Istra 1961 (2:1)

Rijeka and Gorica met on August 29, 2020, at Rujevica Stadium in Rijeka. 

Andrijasevic scored the first goal of the game in the 13th minute for the 1:0 at the half. Andrijasevic scored again in the 69th minute for 2:0, though Guzina got one for Istra in the 70th for the final score of 2:1. 

Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 6 points, while Istra is in the last place with 0 points. 

Hajduk v. Slaven Belupo (2:2)

Hajduk and Belupo met on Saturday, August 29, 2020, at Poljud Stadium in Split.

Krstanovic scored a Belupo penalty in the 38th minute for 0:1 at the half. Diamantakos scored in his Hajduk debut for 1:1 in the 52nd minute. 

Gyursco put Hajduk in the 2:1 lead in the 65th minute, though Bacelic-Grgic equalized for 2:2 six minutes later. Jairo received a double-yellow in the 85th minute, forcing Hajduk to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. 

Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 8 points, while Belupo is in 7th with 2 points. 

Varazdin v. Lokomotiva (1:1)

Varazdin and Lokomotiva met on Sunday, August 30, 2020, at NK Varteks Stadium. 

Mehdikhani scored just before the half for 1:0 Varazdin. However, an own goal by Rodin made it 1:1 in the 49th minute, which was the final score of the game. 

Varazdin is currently in 5th place with 4 points, while Lokomotiva is in 6th with 4. 

Dinamo v. Osijek (4:1)

Dinamo and Osijek closed out the 3rd round at Maksimir Stadium on Sunday, August 31, 2020.

Gavranovic opened the scoring spree for Dinamo with a goal in the 5th minute for 1:0. Majstorovic missed a penalty for Osijek right before the half. 

Grezda equalized in the 48th minute for 1:1, though Ademi put Dinamo back in the lead with a goal in the 71st minute. Two penalties secured Dinamo's victory - one by Andric in the 81st and Tolic in the 86th. 

Dinamo is currently in 1st place with 9 points, while Osijek is in 8th with 1.

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Monday, 24 August 2020

HNL Round 2 Recap: Hajduk Better than Osijek, Lokomotiva Tops Rijeka

August 24, 2020 - The 2nd round of the Croatian First League was held from August 21 to 23, 2020. This round saw big wins for Lokomotiva, Dinamo and Hajduk.

Lokomotiva v. Rijeka (1:0)

Lokomotiva and Rijeka opened the 2nd round on Friday, August 21, 2020, in Zagreb. 

The first half went without goals, and it wasn't until the 53rd minute that Halilovic scored the only goal of the game for the Lokomotiva win. 

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

Istra 1961 v. Dinamo (0:1)

Istra and Dinamo met at Aldo Drosini Stadium in Pula on Friday, August 21, 2020. 

After another scoreless first half, a double yellow for Kastrati saw Dinamo play with a man down from the 57th minute. Nevertheless, a Dinamo penalty was scored by Bruno Petkovic in the 87th minute for the 0:1 win.

Istra is currently in the last place with 0 points, while Dinamo is in first place with 6 points. 

Slaven Belupo v. Gorica (1:2)

Belupo and Gorica met in Koprivnica on Saturday, August 22, 2020. 

While Belupo was the first to score with a goal by Glavcic seconds before halftime, two late goals by Mudrinski in the 86th and 93rd minutes gave Gorica the win. 

Belupo is currently in 8th place with 1 point, while Gorica is in 2nd with 6 points. 

Sibenik v. Varazdin (0:1)

Sibenik and Varazdin met on Saturday, August 22, 2020, at Subicevac Stadium in Sibenik. 

After Sibenik's Spanja received a red card in the 85th minute, Varazdin scored a late game-winner thanks to Benko in the 89th minute. The game ended 0:1.

Sibenik is currently in 9th place with 0 points, while Varazdin is in 5th place with 3. 

Osijek v. Hajduk (1:2)

Osijek and Hajduk closed out the 2nd round on Sunday, August 23, 2020, at City Garden Stadium. 

Hajduk was the first to score thanks to a header by Jairo in the 34th minute. A Caktas penalty two minutes later put Hajduk up 0:2 in the 36th minute. Jugovic scored for Osijek in the 43rd minute for 1:2, which was the final score of the game. 

Osijek is currently in 7th place with 1 point, while Hajduk is in 3rd with 6 points. 

All games were played without the presence of spectators. You can see the full HNL table here

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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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