Monday, 26 July 2021

HNL Round 2 Recap: Osijek Better than Hajduk at Poljud, 4:0 Win for Dinamo

July 26, 2021 - The 2nd round of the Croatian First League was played from July 23 to 25, 2021. A look at our HNL round 2 recap. 

Hr. Dragovoljac v. Dinamo Zagreb (0:4)

Dragovoljac and Dinamo opened the 2nd round of the Croatian First League on Friday, July 23, 2021, in Zagreb. 

Dinamo's scoring spree started already in the 19th minute when Majer put them in the lead for 0:1. Sutalo increased Dinamo's lead to 0:2 before the half. 

Gavranović made it 0:3 early in the second half with a goal in the 48th minute, and Majer scored his second goal of the match for 0:4 five minutes later, which was the final score of the match. 


Dragovoljac is currently in the last place with 0 points, while Dinamo is in 4th with 3 points. 

Slaven Belupo v. Lokomotiva (1:2)

Belupo and Lokomotiva met in Koprivnica on Saturday, July 24, 2021. 

Cokaj scored for 0:1 Lokomotiva in the 22nd minute to put them ahead at the half. Krstanović equalized for 1:1 in the 66th thanks to a penalty, but Pivarić put Lokomotiva back in the lead in the 80th minute for the win. 


Belupo is currently in 5th place with 3 points, while Lokomotiva is in 3rd with 4. 

Gorica v. Šibenik (3:1)

Gorica and Šibenik met in Velika Gorica on Saturday, July 26, 2021. 

Babec opened the game with a goal for Gorica in the 26th minute for 1:0 at the half. Dieye increased Gorica's lead to 2:0 in the 67th minute, after which an own goal by Bilić made it 3:0 for Gorica two minutes later! Bilić redeemed himself with a goal for Šibenik in the 87th minute, and the match ended 3:1. 


Gorica is currently in 7th place with 3 points, while Šibenik is in 9th with 0. 

Rijeka v. Istra 1961 (2:0)

Rijeka and Istra met at Rujevica on Sunday, July 25, 2021. 

While the first half went without goals, Rijeka's Drmić made it 1:0 in the 78th minute, before scoring again in the 82nd minute for the final score of 2:0. Pavičić missed a penalty in the 6th minute of added time. 


Rijeka is currently in 2nd place with 6 points, while Istra is in 6th with 3 points. 

Hajduk v. Osijek (1:2)

Hajduk and Osijek closed out the 2nd round at Poljud on Sunday, July 25, 2021. 

While the first half ended 0:0, Hajduk's Livaja was the first to score with a goal in the 63rd minute for 1:0 Osijek's Jurčević equalized 3 minutes later. Pilj scored for the Osijek win in the 87th minute - 1:2. 


Hajduk is currently in 8th place with 1 point, while Osijek is in 1st with 6 points. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE

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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Croatian Cup Final: Dinamo Wins Double Crown with 6:3 Win Against Istra 1961

May 19, 2021 - Dinamo and Istra 1961 met in the Croatian Cup final on Wednesday in Velika Gorica. 

Dinamo defeated Istria 6:3 in the incredible Cup final and reached the 16th title in the Croatian Cup competition.

Dinamo took the lead in the 5th minute with a goal by Mislav Oršić, and Ademi increased it to 2:0 in the 9th minute. Dinamo's third goal was scored by Majer in the 33rd minute.

Istra sensationally reduced Dinamo's lead with two goals by Hara in the 52nd and 53rd minutes for 3:2. 

However, Dinamo returned to a two-goal advantage in the 59th minute with an own goal by Šutalo. 

Gržan reduced the lead to 4:3 in the 63rd minute from the penalty spot, and Mislav Oršić scored for 5:3 after a counter in the 73rd minute. Gavranović increased the lead to 6:3 in the 83rd minute, which was the final score of the match. 

This is the 16th Cup title for Dinamo and the 12th double crown. Istria, on the other hand, played their second Cup final, the last of which was played in 2003 when they lost to Hajduk under the name Uljanik.

Dinamo thus rounded off perhaps the most successful season in the history of the club. The "Blues" won the double crown and reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League, in which they were defeated by the finalists of that competition, Villarreal.

On the other hand, entering the final is a great success for the Pula club, but Istria must now turn to a tough fight to stay in the First League.

On Saturday, Istra plays in the last round away against the runners-up in Osijek. Before the last 90 minutes of the season, Istra has one point more than Lokomotiva, who will visit Hajduk.

Interestingly, after coming to Dinamo in 1995, Damir Krznar won three consecutive double crowns, and now he has won a double crown on the Dinamo bench.

Source: HRT

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Sunday, 9 May 2021

Emir Sahiti Breaks HNL Record Against Istria on Friday!

May 9, 2021 - Šibenik beat Istria 1-0 on Friday, secured their spot in the league, and player Emir Sahiti broke a record, beating Dinamo's Petkovic and Gvardiol.

It was not the best season for HNK Šibenik, as the central Dalmatian team dragged the drama to the final stage of the Croatian championship. On Friday, the team by Sergi Escobar beat Istra 1961 by the minimum score, and mathematically ensured their permanence in the top league. Sahiti scored the only goal of the match in the 48th minute of the second half and this was enough to give the hosts victory at Stadion Šubićevac, in a match that ended with only 10 players after Bailone was sent off in the 73rd minute.

But the joy for Sibenik is not limited solely to this result or their tenure in the First League, as Emir Sahiti broke a fantastic record in the local tournament. The 22-year-old Albanian player on loan from Hajduk II broke the record for most dribbles successfully completed in a single match.

The left-winger and Suad Sahiti’s younger brother successfully completed 10 dribbles against the Istrian team on Friday, thus surpassing two Dinamo Zagreb players: Bruno Petković and Joško Gvardiol, who to date had reached no more than 7 dribbles completed in the same match.

Currently, HNK Šibenik is in sixth place in the table after 33 games played to date. Escobar's team has 35 points, 16 less than Hajduk Split, which is in fifth place. Having been promoted last season, Šibenik beats Slaven by 4 points, Lokomotiva by 6, Varaždin by 8, and Istra 1961, whom they beat on Friday by 10 points.

HNK Šibenik will visit the second of the tournament, Osijek, on Tuesday at 19:05.

Source: Šibenski (Slobodna Dalmacija)

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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Istra 1961 Shocks Rijeka for Spot in Croatian Cup Final!

April 15, 2021 - Istra 1961 shocks Rijeka for a spot in the Croatian Cup final! The Pula club will meet the winner of the second semifinal match between Dinamo and Gorica, which has yet to be scheduled. 

Istra 1961 will play in the final of the Croatian Football Cup! At Aldo Drosina Stadium in Pula on Thursday, Istra defeated Rijeka 3:2 in the semifinal match and qualified for the final, which will be held on May 19 in Velika Gorica. Their opponent will be the winner of the second semifinal between Dinamo and Gorica. The date for that match has not been set yet due to Dinamo's European obligations. 

Istria played a phenomenal first half, one of the best in the club's history, and was ahead 3:0! At the beginning of the second half, Drmic scored Rijeka's first goal, and in the 72nd minute, Muric made it 3:2 thanks to a penalty, after which they continued to press, but Istra successfully defended their net to keep the win!

Istra opened the game well and took the lead in the seventh minute with a goal by Josip Šutal, who scored with a header from a corner.

In the 23rd minute, Japanese striker Taichi Hara escaped the attention of the Rijeka defense, came out in front of Ivan Nevistić and scored with ease.

Before going to halftime, Rijeka was shocked again. Antonio Ivančić beautifully found Gideon Guzina, who scored for 3:0.

At halftime, Rijeka coach Goran Tomić made three changes, and Rijeka relatively quickly reduced the result. In the 53rd minute, Josip Drmić scored from about 15 meters.

In the 71st minute, Robert Murić scored their second goal from a penalty.

There was enough time until the end, but Rijeka didn't have it in them to score the third goal and take the game into extra time.

This Istra 1961 generation will thus try to win the first Cup trophy in the club's history, in a final match scheduled for May 19, against Dinamo or Gorica. So far, Istria has only been in the Cup final once, in 2003 when the club was called Uljanik. In that final, which was played in two games, they were defeated by Hajduk (5:0).

The date of the semifinal clash between Dinamo and Gorica at Maksimir will be known after the Europa League quarterfinal return match, which Dinamo will play against Villarreal on Thursday in Spain.


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Monday, 12 April 2021

HNL Round 28 Recap: Hajduk Defeats Istra 1961, Osijek and Slaven Belupo Draw

April 12, 2021 - The 28th round of the Croatian First League was held from April 10-11, 2021. In this round, Hajduk defeats Istra 1961, Osijek and Slaven Belupo draw, and Rijeka narrowly tops Sibenik. 

Gorica v. Varazdin (0:0)

Gorica and Varazdin opened the 28th round on Saturday, April 10, 2021, in Velika Gorica. 

The first half went without goals, and the VAR called a goal offside for Gorica in the 52nd minute. The match ended at 0:0.


Gorica is currently in 3rd place with 39 points, while Varazdin is in 9th with 24. 

Sibenik v. Rijeka (0:1)

Sibenik and Rijeka met on Saturday, April 10, 2021, in Sibenik. 

The only goal of the match came in the 72nd minute when Drmic scored for 0:1. 


Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 27 points, while Rijeka is in 4th with 45. 

Slaven Belupo v. Osijek (2:2)

Belupo and Osijek met on Sunday, April 11, 2021, in Koprivnica. 

Bogojevic scored the first goal of the match for 1:0. Belupo in the 36th minute. Zaper equalized for Osijek just before the half for 1:1. 

Knoll put Belupo back in the lead for 2:1 in the 52nd minute, and Kleinheisler scored the equalizer in the 71st for the final score of 2:2.


Belupo is currently in 6th place with 27 points, while Osijek is in 2nd with 62. 

Istra 1961 v. Hajduk (0:1)

Istra and Hajduk met in Pula on Sunday, April 11, 2021. 

Simic scored in the 68th minute for the Hajduk lead. VAR called Nayir's goal offside in the final minute of the match. Istra's Blagojevic was booked for his second yellow in the 88th minute. 


Istra is currently in 8th place with 24 points, while Hajduk is in 5th with 43. 

Lokomotiva v. Dinamo (0:2)

Lokomotiva and Dinamo closed out the 28th round on Sunday, April 12, 2021. 

Gvardiol scored for 0:1 Dinamo in the 30th minute. Atiemwen increased Dinamo's lead to 0:2 in the 70th, which was the final score of the match. 


Lokomotiva is currently in the last place with 20 points, while Dinamo is in 1st with 64. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE

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Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Croatian Cup Quarterfinals: Istra 1961 and Gorica Advance to Semis

March 16, 2021 - After the Croatian Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, Istra 1961 and Gorica advance to the semifinals against Rijeka and Dinamo. 

Istra 1961 advanced to the Croatian Cup semifinals after defeating the third division Oriolik from Oriovac 3-0 (0-0). Two goals were scored by Japanese player Taichi Hara (61, 86), while Mario Živatović scored an own goal in the 89th minute.

In the small town of Oriovac, halfway between Gradiška and Slavonski Brod, Istra reached the semifinals of the Cup in tough playing conditions - rain, wind, and a sloppy pitch. 

Third division club Oriolik, for whom this is the greatest success in its 98 years, dominated in the first half. In the first nine minutes, Batalo and Marušić missed nearly guaranteed chances to score.

A penalty came in the 61st minute when Hara escaped from offside and scored for the Istra lead. Hara scored again in the 86th minute, and the final 3-0 was the work of Oriolik's Živatović, who scored an own goal in the 89th minute.

In the second quarterfinal on Tuesday, Gorica topped Hajduk 3-0 in Velika Gorica. Gorica and Hajduk also played just three days ago in the HNL, which ended 1:1

Kristijan Lovrić was Gorica's hero, scoring an early goal in the 9th minute for 1-0 at the half. Lovrić scored his second goal of the match for 2-0 in the 83rd minute, while Nimely made it 3-0 in the final minute of regulation time. Ivan Dolček scored for Hajduk in the 60th minute but it was called offside. 

Advancing to the Cup semis is Gorica's greatest achievement in club history.

In the other quarterfinal matches played at the beginning of the month, Rijeka celebrated at Osijek (2-1) and Dinamo at home against Slaven Belupo (2-0). 

In the semifinals, Gorica will play against Dinamo at Maksimirr, and Istra 1961 will host Rijeka in Pula.

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Sunday, 10 January 2021

Teenage Football Star Rocco Zikovic Joins RB Salzburg For Record €2 Million

January 10, 2021 – Still only 15-years-old, Pula's Rocco Zikovic is following in the footsteps of football megastars Sadio Mané and Erling Haaland with his record teenage transfer to Red Bull Salzburg

Although inside the country Croatians enjoy a wide variety of sports, to outsiders there is only one sport for which Croatia has become known around the world. Football.

The glittering international careers of Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. Their combined efforts in reaching the final of the most recent World Cup sent that reputation into the stratosphere.

Croatian footballing talent has become so well known that the scouting of Croatia's young players is beginning earlier and earlier. However, Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg's recent purchase of promising Pula talent Rocco Zikovic breaks several records. The transfer fee - rumoured to be in the region of an initial €2 million – is the highest ever made to Zikovic's former team, Istra 1961. It is also the highest ever paid for a Croatian player of Rocco Zikovic's age; he is still only 15-years-old.

Rocco Zikovic © NK Istra 1961

But, by all accounts, Red Bull Salzburg have here done a particularly shrewd piece of business in their acquisition of the player. Rocco Zikovic captained Istra 1961 cadets to the top of the national league last year. He has also played for the Croatian National Football Team in the U-15, U-16 and U-17 age categories. Playing in midfield, he was the captain of the Croatian National youth team that recently won the international Vlatko Marković tournament in Osijek, where Rocco Zikovic was judged player of the tournament. It is during his performances there that Red Bull Salzburg are rumoured to have finally decided on making their move.

Rocco Zikovic is following a long line of youth talent to have been picked up by Red Bull Salzburg

Red Bull Salzburg have a strong reputation for scouting international youth talent and picking them up at the right time. They bought Senegalese player Sadio Mané for €4 million while he was only a teenager before selling him on into the UK Premier League for €13.5 million after just two years. Red Bull Salzburg bought Norwegian international Erling Haaland, one of Europe's most exciting young players, before selling him to Borussia Dortmund in 2019 for a fee reported to be in the region of €20 million. Haaland completed the move having become the first teenager ever to score in five consecutive UEFA Champions League matches

FC_RB_Salzburg_versus_Wolfsberger_AC_(10._August_2019)_11.jpgErling Haaland playing for Red Bull Salzburg in 2019. The club sold him to Borussia Dortmund later that year for a fee reported to be in the region of €20 million © Werner100359

Rocco Zikovic's move to Red Bull Salzburg is all but a done deal. He still has to undergo a final medical and wait until 21 January before he can be announced – that's his 16th birthday. Additional fees earned by his former club Istra 1961 could bring their total from the sale to as much as €3.5 million. It may be too early to place too much expectation on the young player's shoulders just yet, but something tells us that we'll be closely watching this young Croatian footballing talent for many more years to come.

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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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Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Coronavirus in Croatian Football: Rijeka and Istra Without Fans, Lokomotiva Limiting Spectators

March 10, 2020 - A closer look at how the coronavirus outbreak is effecting Croatian football.

Following the announced measures of the Croatian Civil Protection Staff from March 9, the relevant bodies of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) issued instructions for playing football matches in the following period.

The following instructions have been determined by the leadership of the Croatian Football Federation, headed by President Davor Šuker and Executive Director Marijan Kustić, HNS Executive Board, HNS Medical Commission with President prof. Dr Dragan Primorac, HNS Competition Commission led by President Ante Vučemilović-Šimunović, Commission of Football Referees with President Anto Kulušić, HT First League Competition Commissioner Josip Brezni and HNS Security Commissioner Miroslav Marković:

1. It is obligatory to adhere to all decisions, measures and recommendations which he has prescribed and which will be prescribed by the Civil Protection Staff of the Republic of Croatia or other competent state institutions.

2. Considering the HNS competition calendar, all competitions under the HNS's jurisdiction shall continue with or without spectators.

3. Match organizers are obliged to fully respect and implement the measures of the Civil Protection Staff of the Republic of Croatia.

4. We emphasize the obligation of the organizers to obtain the consent of the County Civil Protection Headquarters and the competent Institute of Public Health regarding the fulfillment of the prescribed conditions for the organization of the match before the matches.

The Croatian Football Federation will continue to closely monitor the situation with the epidemic of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and will, if necessary, determine new measures and issue new instructions, which will be notified to the football family and the public promptly.

In accordance with the recommendation of the Civil Protection Staff, the opinion of the County Institute of Public Health of Istria County and the decision of the Croatian Football Federation to continue the competition, Istra 1961 announced that its 27th and 28th round HNL games, scheduled on March 14 and 21, will be played without spectators.

On Saturday, March 14, Rijeka will visit Pula to play Istra, while a week later, Hajduk will visit Aldo Drosina Stadium.

"Both games will be played without the presence of spectators and there will be no ticket sales," the first-league team from Pula said.

The Istrian Institute of Public Health on Tuesday issued special recommendations to prevent the coronavirus epidemic, which, among other things, delays all outdoor and indoor gatherings, from children's events and birthdays, to sports, cultural, business and other events.

The Istra decision was only the first since Rijeka and Varazdin later came forward. Both have suspended ticket sales for their next home games.

Varazdin will host Dinamo on Sunday, March 15, and three days later, Rijeka will host Osijek in the Croatian Cup semi-finals. Both Varazdin and Rijeka have stopped selling tickets for those duels.

Lokomotiva will host Osijek at Kranjceviceva stadium on Friday from 6 pm.

'According to the published measures of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia, NK Lokomotiva, as the host of the match, will adhere to the maximum extent and implement all instructions, measures and recommendations regarding the organization of the match by the County Civil Protection Headquarters and the Institute of Public Health.

The maximum number of viewers will be 1,000.

NK Lokomotiva will provide checkpoints with disinfectants and urges viewers to refrain from the usual non-verbal communication that involves shaking hands and avoiding closer social contact.'

The club also urges fans with respiratory illness and/or fever (greater than 37.5 C) not to attend the match.

Tickets are purchased exclusively at the stadium ticket office on the day of the match, two hours before the start of the meeting (from 4:00 pm). 

Hajduk will play against Inter Zapresic at Poljud on Sunday at 3 pm as part of the 27th round. It is the first of two championship matches to be played in front of the empty stands because of the penalty that HNK Hajduk received for violations committed during the Hajduk - Dinamo match played on March 4.

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