Thursday, 25 February 2021

Dinamo Advances to Europa League Last 16 after Defeating Krasnodar

February 25, 2021 - Dinamo advances to Europa League last 16 after defeating Krasnodar in the return match of the Europa League last 32 at Maksimir Stadium on Thursday.

In the first match played seven days ago in Russia, the Croatian champion won 3:2 and thus gained a big advantage before the return match in Zagreb.

Bruno Petković was brilliant with two goals, and the winning goal was the work of Iyayi Atiemwen. Marcus Berg and Victor Claesson scored for Krasnodar, though Berg did not arrive in Zagreb and did not play tonight.

Dinamo has been waiting to play a 'European spring' for 49 years. Now, for the second time in the last three seasons, they have reached the round of 16.

Recall, two years ago, Dinamo knocked out Victoria Plzen in the last 32, and then lost to Benfica in the round of 16.

Even with the advantage going into Thursday's return match, relaxing was not an option for the Zagreb club. Dinamo came out aggressively in the first half, with both dangerous attacking plays and solid defense. But Krasnodar maintained the same momentum, and possession was 50/50.

Krasnodar's keeper was brilliant in goal to keep the Russian side's net clear for most of the first half, while Livakovic was put to work, too. 

But Dinamo got their chance in the  31st minute. In a brilliant attacking play, Jakić found Oršić who scored from ten meters for 1:0! It was Oršić's 14th goal in European matches for Dinamo. 

The second half started with no changes for either side. Dinamo maintained their advantage in the second half, even though Krasnodar seemed to have more ball in possession. The Russian side, however, could not find the way to Livakovic's net.

The ref added three minutes to the end of the match, in which neither team was able to score. With this victory, Dinamo advances to the round of 16!

The last 16 draw will take place on Friday, February 26 in Nyon at 1 pm. 

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

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Exhibition About Maksimir Stadium Opens at Zagreb City Museum

December 23, 2020 – On Thursday, December 24, the Zagreb City Museum opens an exhibition about Maksimir Stadium by Hela Vukadin-Doronjga, also dedicated to the sports architecture of Vladimir Turina, one of the most influential Croatian architects.

As the Museum reports, by fitting into the situation of a relatively cramped plot along Maksimirska Cesta, opening an extraordinary view of the Maksimir forest and Medvednica in the distance, and with the high level of design and details, Maksimir Stadium is an exceptional work of sports architecture.

The exhibition aims to give a historical exhibition, contextualize and emphasize Maksimir Stadium's importance and the surrounding area as an inspiring environment. The goal is to affirm this space as the source point of Zagreb sports, its architecture and urbanism, connection with the club, fans, man, city, and the forest-park Maksimir.

Stadiums and their "spatial enormity" contain a collective, urban identity, emotional factors. Football club Dinamo Zagreb is a sports symbol of Zagreb and much more than that because football is a universal value today. Dinamo is a record holder in the history of the World Cup finals in terms of the number of its former and active players.

The exhibition is a result of many years of scientific research by the author Hela Vukadin-Doronjga, museum advisor. It presents the Maksimir Stadium through history and today, emphasizing the projects of architect Vladimir Turina (1913-1968), and especially his projects of sports architecture.

The exhibition consists of original drawings, photographs, and publications of designing and constructing Maksimir Stadium (1945-1969) and other sports architecture buildings by Vladimir Turina. Also, the exhibition presents various objects that explain the mentioned material: useful items that belonged to Turina, GNK Dinamo trophies, plastic chairs from the stands, grass, "puppets" for free kicks, projections of mythical matches, posters, and catalogs of two big concerts of David Bowie and U2 held at the stadium, etc.

Models of the west and east stands were made for the exhibition. A model of the entire stadium was borrowed from the Faculty of Architecture.

As Hina reports, the architectural legacy of Vladimir Turina is still an inspiration today because his language of architecture is understandable, real, simple, emotional, and strong. Professor Turina looked at architecture decades in advance. After the Second World War, he devoted himself intensively to sports architecture, especially the design of stadiums and swimming pools.

He has won numerous awards and recognitions in Croatia and abroad. As an architectural design professor, he raised generations of students at the Zagreb, then the only Croatian Faculty of Architecture.

The exhibition will be on display until March 28, 2021.

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

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Europa League Recap: Rijeka Finished Group Stage with Win, Undefeated Dinamo Topped CSKA 3:1

December 10, 2020 - Rijeka closed out their Europa League campaign this season with a win against AZ Alkmaar, while Dinamo topped CSKA Moscow 3:1 at home and made European history. 

In the final 6th round of the Europa League on Thursday, Rijeka defeated AZ Alkmaar 2-1 (0-0) at Rujevica in Group F.

Rijeka took the lead with a goal by Menalo in the 52nd minute, but five minutes later, Wijndal equalized. Rijeka sealed their victory with a goal by Tomečak in the third minute of added time. The club bid farewell to the European competition until next season after finishing last in the group. 

Although the match was much more important for the Dutch club, whose victory ensured their passage to the next round, Rijeka was equally motivated on the pitch, even though they had long known that this would be the end.

In the second match of this group, Napoli and Real Sociedad played 1-1 (1-0) at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. Napoli led with a goal by Zielinski (35), and Willian Jose equalized in the second minute of added time. 

Napoli won first place in Group F with 11 points; Real Sociedad finished in second place with nine, AZ Alkmaar remained third with eight points, while Rijeka was last with four points.

In the later match on Thursday, Dinamo, who already won first place in Group K before the final round, defeated CSKA Moscow at Maksimir thanks to goals by Joško Gvardiol in the 28th minute, Mislav Orsic in the 41st, and Lirim Kastrati in the 74th. 

Dinamo was not without motive tonight, as they could have entered European football history as the first team to finish a Europa League group or a Champions League group without conceding a goal. Unfortunately, a late goal by CSKA's Bistrovic (74') cut their dream short.

However, Dinamo still made history tonight for going the longest in the Champions League or Europa League group stages without conceding a goal. Namely, Dinamo did not concede a goal for 527 minutes this season. Manchester United was the last club to hold the record, going 482 minutes without conceding a goal in the 2010/11 Champions League group stage.

In the second match of Group K, Wolfsberger AC defeated Feyenoord 1-0. 

Dinamo thus finished at the top of Group K, Wolfsberger finished in second, Feyenoord in third, and CSKA Moscow in the last place. 

The UEFA Europa League draw for the next round will be held in just a few days, on December 14.

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

Monday, 16 November 2020

HNS Executive Director Marijan Kustic Says Croatia Will No Longer Play at Maksimir

November 16, 2020 - Croatia will no longer play at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, confirmed the executive director of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), Marijan Kustic. reports that this is even though Dinamo started repairing the south stand, which was destroyed in the earthquake.

Recall, there was room for the national team at Maksimir in reduced capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. Still, when the spectators return to the stands, the national team will no longer play at the infamous Zagreb stadium.

"We do not want to question at all that our national team, 2018 World Cup finalists, must have an adequate stadium in the capital. Maksimir is no longer an adequate stadium for the World Cup finalists. The city of Zagreb must give answers to Dinamo and finally find a solution and take action to build a new one. It would be inappropriate for the capital and a club like GNK Dinamo to have such a dilapidated stadium," Kustic said, noting that there are many countries that are neither at the economic nor football level of Croatia, but have better stadiums.

Kustic mentioned that the spectators are a priority for HNS and that they do not have adequate conditions at Maksimir. In Rijeka, Pula, Varazdin, Osijek, and Split, the situation is different, so the national team will play there in the future until the situation in Zagreb is resolved.

According to a rough estimate, more than a billion kuna has been pumped into Maksimir so far. That is why the Croatian Football Federation launched the idea of building a national stadium.

"We want the national team to play all over Croatia, but the stadium in Zagreb is no longer comfortable, half of the stands are not working, everything is closed and depressing. After the earthquake, the situation worsened; we don't know if it is safe. My personal opinion is that the national team's time at Maksimir has passed," Miskovic said.

The national team does not want to play at the stadium either, and in October, after the match against Sweden, Zenit stopper Dejan Lovren spoke about it publicly.

"All the national teams are surprised that we were second in the world, and we have such conditions. Two or three thousand people came to the match against Sweden at the ugliest stadium in Europe. People didn't have umbrellas, they were rained on, and I wanted to shake everyone's hand. It is inadmissible for a national team like ours, which promoted Croatia in the best possible way, to come here and rightly listen to the Sweden coach's insults. Obviously, some priorities in this country are not right. Some priorities, such as the cable car, are irrelevant. I think that hospitals, kindergartens, and schools should be built first, and then maybe a stadium, but we are not looking for that for ourselves, but for the people who come to watch us. I think we will wake up only when Serbia makes a national stadium," Lovren said at the time. 

After the national team campaign in October, coach Zlatko Dalic was also clear about using Maksimir stadium for national team matches.

"I don't know what else to say about it. I've been talking for two years; others have been talking for a decade. Maybe we shouldn't talk anymore but cut and say we won't play there. We keep saying it's not a stadium for the national team, and we keep coming. Maybe HNS should say it a lot; we don't play there anymore, although it would be inconvenient to avoid a city again when hosting the national team," said Dalic.

In October, Croatia last played in Zagreb in the Nations League matches against Sweden (2:1) and France (1:2), when a third of the stadium's capacity was open. The only match in November that will be played at home, against Portugal, will be at Poljud on Tuesday.

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

Friday, 6 November 2020

Europa League: Rijeka Falls to Napoli, Dinamo Tops Wolfsberger AC

November 6, 2020 - In the 3rd round of the Europa League, Rijeka falls to Napoli, and Dinamo tops Wolfsberger AC.

It was the battle of the Cup winners on Thursday night, as 2020 Croatian Cup winner Rijeka held their own against the 2020 Italian Cup winner and legendary Italian club Napoli. 

Unfortunately, just like two weeks, Rijeka suffered the same fate as they did against Real Sociedad at Rujevica and was left without points.

Rijeka opened the game brilliantly against the favorites, and with aggressive pressing, they forced Napoli to make poor passes, after which they created good chances to score with quick counterattacks.

Rijeka had the first great opportunity in the 4th minute when Menalo shot well from 20 meters, but Napoli goalkeeper Meret managed to defend. However, even that was not enough to wake up the guests who came into the game quite nonchalantly, and in the 13th minute, there was a new counterattack for Rijeka. Menalo and Kulenović brilliantly combined to find Murić, who nailed the helpless Meret's net with a precise shot from the top of the penalty area for 1:0.

Unfortunately, Robert Murić had to come off due to injury in the 24th minute, an exit which greatly affected the further course of the match. With the departure of Murić, Napoli took control of the pitch, and although they did not create any likely opportunity to score, they equalized at the end of the first half. Demme scored off a Mertens assist for 1:1.

Napoli increased their pressure in the second half, which proved to be too tough for Rijeka to sustain. An own goal in the 63rd minute by Filip Braut gave Napoli the 1:2 victory. 

In the second match of the 3rd round, Real Sociedad defeated AZ Alkmaar 1:0 (0:0) with a goal by Porto (58). Thus, halfway through the competition, AZ Alkmaar, Napoli, and Real Sociedad have six points each, while Rijeka is in last with no points.

In the 4th round in three weeks, Napoli - Rijeka and AZ Alkmaar - Real Sociedad will play.

In the second match on Thursday, Dinamo scored their first goal in the 3rd round of Group K and achieved their first victory, defeating Austrian club Wolfsberger 1:0 with a goal by Atiemwen in the 76th minute, which put them at the top of the group.

Dinamo played with a man-up throughout the second half but was not particularly dangerous. However, the first victory and a total of five points in the group was secured by Atiemwen only two minutes after he entered the the pitch in the 74th minute.

Both sides had major problems with COVID-19 infected players before the match. Namely, Dinamo had nine infected players, as well as coach Zoran Mamic, who was replaced by Alen Peternac. The Austrian club had slightly less, or only eight infected players.

Dinamo played without Livaković, Petković, Stojanović, Theophile-Catherine, and Ivanušec, while Wolfsberger did not have Liendl, their best player, scorer, and captain.

In the second game of this group, Nikola Vlašić's CSKA Moscow lost 3:1 to Feyenoord.

The home team scored all three goals in just 10 minutes in the middle of the second half - Haps (63), Kokca (71), and Geertruida (72) scored. Senesi (80) reduced the lead with an own goal for the final 3:1 result.

Dinamo leads the group with five points and a goal difference of 1:0, followed by Wolfsberger and Feyenoord with four points each, while CSKA is last with two points.

In the 4th round in three weeks, Wolfsberger - Dinamo and CSKA - Feyenoord will play.

Source: Rezultati, HRT

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


Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Zoran Mamic and Several Dinamo Players Test Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of Europa League

November 4, 2020 - Coach Zoran Mamic and several Dinamo players test positive for COVID-19 ahead of Europa League on Thursday. 

On Tuesday, GNK Dinamo announced that coach Zoran Mamic and one player had tested positive for COVID-19. 

"GNK Dinamo hereby informs the public that COVID-19 testing resulted in one positive first-team player of GNK Dinamo and two members of the professional staff, including the head coach Zoran Mamic.

They felt mild symptoms upon their return from Russia and were referred for testing, which in their case turned out to be positive," Dinamo said in a statement.

Thus, Dinamo will play against Wolfsberger without coach Mamic on Thursday, and he will not be on the bench on Sunday in the home game match against Istria in the 11th round of the HNL. This is followed by a representative break.

Even before the game against CSKA, Dinamo had one infected player who did not travel with the team. Zoran Mamic noticed his first symptoms and fever on Monday, after which he went for testing and was positive.

Dinamo's coach did not appear at the presentation of Dinamo's "No Surrender" foundation, which was held before the news was announced that he was positive. 

But that's not the end of the bad news for Dinamo ahead of their 3rd round Europa League match on Thursday. 

The team was tested for COVID-19 again on Tuesday, according to the regular UEFA protocol. Thus, before the match against Austrian club Wolfsberger, four more players tested positive, bringing the number to five.

"With four positives from before, GNK Dinamo has a total of nine players on the UEFA list who will not play in the match due to COVID-19."

While assistant coach Damir Krznar should have been on the bench to replace Mamic, there has been a change there as well.

"The test results of several professional staff members are also positive, and Alen Peternac will lead the match from the bench," Dinamo announced.

Dinamo will play against Wolfsberger Thursday at 9 pm at Maksimir.

Source: GNK Dinamo website, HRT

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


Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Tickets for Croatia Matches Against Sweden and France On Sale Today!

October 7, 2020 - Tickets for Croatia matches against Sweden (October 11) and France (October 14)  at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb will begin on Wednesday, October 7, at 10:00.

The Croatia national football team will play two consecutive Nations League matches, both at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, against Sweden on October 11 at 6 pm, and against France on October 14 at 8:45 pm. Ticket sales for both matches are organized exclusively via the Internet at the following prices:

Tribune west middle lower: 250 kn

Tribune west lower: 150 kn

Tribune west upper: 100 kn

Tribune north lower: 60 kn

Tribune north upper: 60 kn

Ticket sales include e-tickets that the buyer must download online and print out. Only citizens of the Republic of Croatia, regardless of residence address, have the right to purchase by filling in the required personal information.

Due to special epidemiological measures in the stands, one person can buy only two (2) tickets, no less, no more. In addition to their data, the customer also enters data of the other ticket holder, who does not necessarily have to be a citizen of the Republic of Croatia.

The deadline for purchasing tickets online is:

October 11, 2020, until 12:00 for the match against Sweden, or October 14, 2020, until 12:00 for the match against France or until the games are sold out. 

Tickets will be available online on the HNS ticket portal, where you can find detailed information on ticket sales and payment methods.

HNS warns fans that when entering the stadium, the security will check the accuracy of personal data on the tickets. Fans who try to enter the stadium with a ticket in another name will be denied entry. Therefore, fans should not buy tickets from scalpers with someone else's information on the ticket.

As a reminder, UEFA allowed the return of spectators up to 30 percent of the stadium's capacity, which in the case of Maksimir was reduced by closing the east and south stands that were damaged in the earthquake.

Anyone entering the stadium must disinfect their hands as often as possible and maintain the recommended physical distance between themselves and other spectators.

More information can be found on HNS HERE.

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Sunday, 4 October 2020

HNS Announces Tickets for Croatia Matches against Sweden, France in Zagreb

October 4, 2020 - After UEFA decided that fans can return to stadiums at 30% capacity, HNS announces tickets for Croatia matches against Sweden and France in Zagreb. 

HNS announced that following UEFA's decision to allow spectators to fill 30 percent of the stadium's capacity in UEFA competitions, the Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation decided to use this opportunity and allow spectators to come to the Nations League matches against Sweden, France and Portugal. By UEFA's decision, the arrival of fans to away matches is not allowed.

Croatian fans will once again have the opportunity to watch and support the Croatia national team at home games, after a break of almost a year thanks to COVID-19. The UEFA Executive Board, with the participation of HNS President Davor Suker, decided to allow the national federations to return spectators to a maximum of 30 percent of the available capacity of the stadium.

Although there is little time left for Maksimir Stadium to organize the matches against Sweden (October 11) and France (October 14)  and despite the numerous requirements that the organizer must comply with UEFA, the HNS Executive Board decided that the Federation will do everything for Croatian fans to watch Croatia play in a few weeks. After these games in October, Croatia will host Portugal in Split in November, also with spectators.

Spectators will be able to buy tickets for the West and North stands for the matches against Sweden and France, while the East and South stands will be closed to the public because of the Zagreb earthquake in March.

Ticket prices are as follows:

West middle lower: 250 kuna
West lower: 150 kuna
West upper: 100 kuna
North lower: 60 kuna
North upper: 60 kuna

Tickets can be purchased exclusively online, with ticket printing at home.

At the beginning of next week, HNS will inform the public about the manner and start time of ticket sales. Also, the Federation will inform the public about all organizational details of the match, i.e., strict measures that all spectators will have to follow to protect their health, the health of other spectators and in general - the concept of returning spectators to stadiums.

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Thursday, 12 March 2020

Maksimir Stadium to be Demolished, New Dinamo Stadium Construction Begins in 2022

March 12, 2020 - The city of Zagreb plans to demolish the existing Dinamo stadium in Maksimir and build a new one with 30,000 seats, with an auxiliary stadium of 3,000 - 4,000 seats, and athletic fields and various outdoor courts alongside the pool complex. reports that the head of Zagreb's Office for Strategic Planning and Development, Sanja Jerkovic, said Wednesday at the presentation of a public urban-architectural competition program for SRC Svetice that matches at all European and world standards could be played at the new Dinamo stadium, which has not been the case so far.

"As this is an extremely important city facility, it is a priority to embark on the construction of a new stadium systematically. Delaying such a decision has led to a disrupted static state of the stadium and an inability to bring any changes to the standards required by FIFA and UEFA, that is why it is inevitable that we must demolish the current stadium and design a new one,” Jerkovic told reporters.

Asked if Zagreb would be a partner to Dinamo in the construction of the new stadium, she said that "Dinamo and Zagreb are inseparable" and she cannot say anything about the value of the project.

The meeting is one of the last to prepare a call for proposals for an urban-architectural solution for the entire Svetica zone, covering about 23 hectares in the narrow area and 32 hectares in the wider range.

"A new football stadium is planned along with ancillary grounds and office space, and a large athletic grandstand with athletic fields and various outdoor courts will be planned in addition to the pool complex," Jerkovic says.

Because it is one of the most demanding competitions, it will last six months, and Jerkovic believes that by the end of the year, there will be known results. Construction on the new stadium should begin in 2022.

Asked about the planned construction of the football stadium in Kajzerica and Blato, Jerkovic said that these were other projects related to the construction of the national football stadium.

GNK Dinamo President Vlatka Peras recalled that on March 9, the Dinamo Assembly unanimously adopted a decision to demolish the existing Maksimir Stadium structure.

When the Maksimir stadium is demolished, Dinamo will play on Rujevica or at the stadium in Osijek, if it is built by then.

"We are looking forward to a partnership and a new stadium," Peras said, adding that they would like the stadium built as soon as possible, but they can't speculate on whether it will open in 2023 or 2024.

When asked how they would finance the construction of the Dinamo stadium, she said that they had to negotiate a partnership with the City, but they still needed to define it.

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

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Dinamo Falls to Manchester City, Eliminated from Champions League

December 11, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb and Manchester City met for the final Group C game of the Champions League on Wednesday at Maksimir Stadium. 

The Zagreb club had the chance to achieve another incredible result in the final game of the Champions League group stage, though their opponent was no piece of cake - Manchester City. 

Dinamo came out with a lineup boasting Livaković, Stojanović, Ademi (C), Dilaver, Moubandje, Gojak, Moro, Olmo, Kadzior, Oršić, and Petković. Manchester City, on the other hand, came out with Bravo, Cancelo, Garcia, Otamendi (C), Mendy, Rodri, Gündogan, Foden, Silva, Mahrez, and Jesus. One thing was certain - Dinamo needed a win against City to secure a spot in the Round of 16. 

Dinamo and City kicked off at 6:55 on Wednesday to a sold-out Maksimir Stadium - and the atmosphere was buzzing despite the cold. The Zagreb club was aggressive at the start while City held back and waited for a counterattack. 

However, it was Dinamo to shock Zagreb when Olmo scored for 1:0 in the 10th minute! The goal certainly woke City up, and they continued to press aggressively for the next 20 minutes. Dinamo’s defense remained stable, that is until the 34th minute when Gabriel Jesus scored the equalizer. The game was now 1:1.

Moments before the half, Gojak's nasty elbow to Rodrigo's cheek should have been a red card, though the ref failed to consult VAR - and Dinamo was lucky.

All in all, Dinamo played bravely throughout the half and managed to hold their own. The game ended 1:1 at the half. 

The second half, unfortunately, didn't get off to the best start for the Zagreb side. Already in the 50th minute, Jesus scored for 1:2 City - and four minutes after that, Jesus secured a hat trick for 1:3. 

City made their first change in the 66th minute - Zinchenko came in for Gabriel Jesus, the hero of the night.

City maintained 71% possession of the game, and it wasn't long for them to score again. Foden made it 1:4 in the 83rd minute. 

With this loss against City and Atalanta's win against Shakhtar, Dinamo has been eliminated from the Champions League and will not compete in the Europa League this spring. 

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

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