Saturday, 31 August 2019

30,000 Expected at Poljud for Eternal Derby between Hajduk and Dinamo

August 31, 2019 - On Saturday at 6:30 pm, the 7th round of the Croatian First League will feature the first derby this season between Dinamo and Hajduk. The two teams will meet at Poljud for what is known around the world as the ‘Eternal Derby’. 

It is a chance for Hajduk to reach the top of the standings after 1399 days, with the first victory against Dinamo at Poljud after 1259 days, reports Index.hr.

About 30,000 fans have been announced for the match, making it an ideal opportunity for Hajduk to get a crucial win in front of their fans. Dinamo fan group Bad Blue Boys are also arriving in large numbers, who will be escorted by police from Dugopolje at 4 pm and accompanied to the stadium.

The last time Hajduk celebrated against Dinamo they were led by coach Damir Buric, their coach currently. It was on March 20, 2016, and the winning goal for Hajduk was scored in the 4th minute by Fran Tudor, a footballer who is no longer a member of Hajduk after his contract expired this summer.

"Today, it is worth the same thing. We know how good the opponent is, but we also know what we can do. We have to bring the quality we showed in previous games," Buric said at a pre-match press conference on Friday.

However, Hajduk welcomes Dinamo without Ismajli, Edouk, Posavac, and Juric.

"Their absences have disturbed us a little. Juric is out thanks to a broken bone he didn’t even know he had. We will give those a chance who have not played a lot so far. We hope that Juric and Posavac will be ready for Rijeka. We cannot wait for the match against Dinamo. We don't have a chance to play the Champions League, but now we're going to see how we stand compared to a team playing in the Champions League."

Jakolis returns after suspension for exclusion, will he get a chance?

“I feel sorry for the guy because he is a player who plays with his heart and puts everything into the match. That was the case when he was expelled in Koprivnica. I think it was unfair to him and that exclusion was too strict. For every game, we have a plan. We know what lies ahead, and the most important thing is to design our game,” Buric said.

Dinamo coach Nenad Bjelica also spoke ahead of Saturday's game. 

“We expect to win, as always, no matter what stadium or who we play against. Hajduk has played very well in their last two games at home, defeating Lokomotiva and Gorica 3:0. A difficult task awaits us, but I think we are ready. We have recovered from the match against Rosenborg, as you know we have a very wide bench, we are probably going to use all of it and show our true face,” said the Dinamo coach, who was then asked if he dreamed more about Hajduk’s Caktaš or Kevin De Bruyne. 

"Neither," laughed Bjelica, and spoke about Hajduk's best player. "Mijo was the best goal scorer last season. We respect him very much. He can handle the game with a single action. We will have to pay attention to him and keep him in control from inside the box. But there are other dangerous players in Hajduk, like Jairo, and we will need maximum concentration to win."

With such a deep bench, we can certainly expect a change in Dinamo’s lineup compared to the match in Trondheim earlier this week, but Bjelica did not want to go into detail.

"We will see after training, and we will practice somewhere around Split. There certainly will be. Hajduk is always motivated against Dinamo, they will be carried by a full Poljud, but we have played in such atmospheres in Budapest and Trondheim, where there were also full stadiums with a great atmosphere, and we came out unscathed. I believe we will succeed in Split as well."

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

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Chaos after Hajduk Split Drops Out of Europa League, What's Next?

July 18, 2019 - It was the biggest embarrassment for Hajduk Split in their long history of the Europa League. After a 0:2 victory against Gzira United in Malta, Hajduk managed to lose 1:3 in the return match of the first round of the Europa League qualifiers, in front of over 18,000 of their fans at Poljud stadium in Split. 

Hajduk’s Europa League campaign this season is now over. An outcome not even the most pessimistic Hajduk fan could have anticipated. 

Hajduk fan group Torcida charged the pitch after the game and chased after Hajduk players before the police intervened. An incident in the West Stands also broke out, and dozens of seats were pulled from the North Stands and thrown onto the pitch. It was bound to be an ugly night in Split. 

Hajduk coach Siniša Oreščanin made questionable decisions with the lineup on Thursday, as if the victory in Malta was enough to carry the team through so they could prepare for their first Croatian League match against Istria. What a mistake that was in the end. 

At the Hajduk press conference after the game, which didn’t begin for nearly an hour after the final whistle blew, the Gzira coach - as well as 99% of journalists in the room - was in shock. 

“I can’t believe we did this against a big club like Hajduk,” the Gzira coach expressed. 

While his reaction was expected, we couldn’t imagine how Oreščanin would explain this defeat. 

"We went into the first half well, but our mindset fell in the second half, and we conceded two goals after interruptions. No one expected this," said Oreščanin. "That's sport; it will go on." 

Answering a German journalist's question of what he has to say about the fan reaction after the game, Oreščanin responded briefly: "That's Hajduk." 

Whether Oreščanin will resign is still unknown, as he revealed he would need to speak to the club first and take the next steps accordingly. 

Hajduk will open the Croatian First League against Istria on Sunday, though the atmosphere around the club is looking anything but bright. 

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

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Europa League Qualifiers: Hajduk Split Out After Losing to Gzira United at Poljud

July 18, 2019 - Hajduk Split and Gzira United met in the second leg of the Europa League qualifiers on Thursday night at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

After Hajduk won 0:2 against Gzira United in Ta’Qali, Malta for the first leg of their Europa League qualifications, the two teams met again one week later in the sunny city of Split.

Hajduk featured a different lineup than the game in Malta, and instead came out with Duka, Lopez, Barry, Svatok, Beširović, Delić, Jairo, Bašić, Dolček, Tahiraj, and Jradi for the starting 11. 

While Hajduk fans don't need much reason to make the trip to Poljud, because it was their first home game of the new season, almost 20,000 spectators were expected to fill the stadium - and over 14,000 tickets were sold by 2 pm on game day! The final attendance was 18,326.

The game began at 8 pm and Hajduk came out with momentum. It didn't take long for the Split club to thank their fans for the support after Jradi scored for 1:0 in the 7th minute! 

Gzira was not able to do much against Hajduk in the first 20 minutes and had their first shot on goal only then. Hajduk, however, found ways into the box and had a few chances which hit just wide of the goal. 

In the 29th minute, Hajduk had another golden opportunity from a free-kick outside the penalty area, which Lopez made difficult for the Gzira goalkeeper. Delić hit just over the crossbar moments later. The first half ended 1:0 for Hajduk. 

Gzira seemed to pick up the pace at the start of the second half, though they were unable to capitalize on their few chances. Hajduk's first real chance of the second half was from Tahiraj, though he shanked his shot far from the goal. 

But Gzira's momentum carried them past the Hajduk defense to equalize in the 57th minute. Jefferson scored for 1:1. 

Hajduk had a chance to retake the lead in the 59th minute, but a deflection resulted in a corner instead. Delić had a chance minutes later, but hit wide again - and just minutes after that, Juranović hit the post! 

In the 67th minute, the Gzira goalkeeper denied Hajduk another opportunity in front of the goal, and it was Gzira to capitalize just two minutes later when Kone scored for 1:2. 

Delić once again had the chance to save the day after a brilliant Jurić attack but took one touch too many. Hajduk was pressing but failing to make any gains. 

Six minutes of extra time were added and the game took a nasty turn. Gzira scored in the final 30 seconds for 1:3. With this loss, Hajduk is out of Europa League. 

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

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Hajduk Reveals New Away and Third Kits Inspired by Club's History

July 3, 2019 - Just before the start of the new season, fans of Hajduk were presented the club’s new, third reserve kit. 

While we know that the home kit is always white and the away kit a mix of blue and red, which are the traditional colors of the Split club, the third, reserve kit this season will feature the shades of light purple, or in other words, lavender. It is an ode the Hajduk’s beginnings, in particular, 1912 and 1913, when the first jersey was the same color. Recall, in recent years, the third kit has been grey or black.

Hajduk revealed the change to their fans on Wednesday. 

"The third Hajduk jersey for the 2019/2020 season was inspired by the beginning of the club's activities, more precisely, 1912. After the team formed, they immediately started with the first game. In 1912, goals were set up at Stari Plac for the first time and the team played in purple t-shirts and white trousers

It can be said that it is a jersey of lavender, one of the most recognizable symbols of the Mediterranean. The legendary Luka Kaliterna defended the net of the first team then, and Nikola Gazdić, the first Hajduk footballer to score more than 100 goals for Hajduk, made his debut.

Today, 107 years later, HNK Hajduk presents an almost replica lavender jersey from this important period of the club’s formation, this time created in cooperation with our technical sponsor - Macron, and in which the Hajduk HNK players will play some of their matches in the season ahead. The top is lavender, and the pants are white with motifs of lavender,” Hajduk said on their website. 

The third jersey is retro, decorated with a white polo collar and white embroidered sleeves. On the right side of the chest is Macron Hero, the new icon of the technical sponsor, while on the left is the Hajduk coat of arms. 

The away jersey, or Hajduk’s backup jersey for the 2019/2020 season, also experienced a change inspired by history. Namely, it pays homage to 1971, which has great significance in the club’s history - it is the year that Hajduk won the championship for the first time after a 16-year dry spell. Then, Hajduk’s tops were red and blue with narrow stripes.

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

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

It's Official: Ultra Europe Leaves Poljud, Moves to Park Mladeži for Next 4 Years

June 26, 2019 - Just two weeks before Ultra Europe comes to Split, we finally have official confirmation that the internationally popular music festival is leaving Poljud for Park Mladeži.

“At this point, I can confirm that the ULTRA Europe Festival will be held at the Park Mladeži stadium for the next four years. The new location is more spacious and larger and will allow for the further development of the festival and better visitor experience. The agreement was reached in cooperation with the City of Split and the Public Institution 'Split Sports Facilities', and I believe that we will jointly develop the Park Mladeži into a leading sport and event location in the region. We are opening a new chapter of the ULTRA Europe festival, which will continue to generate many positive changes in the music industry, Croatian tourism, and economy in the coming years,” said Joe Bašić, director of MPG Live, the official organizer of the ULTRA Europe festival.

Recall, since no agreement was signed between Ultra and Hajduk, the festival organizers turned to alternative solutions, and RNK Split’s stadium Park Mladeži (Youth Park) was the first location that came to mind. 

Hajduk often highlighted the destruction of their field after Ultra as one of the biggest problems brought by the festival, which is part of why the two sides couldn't agree. 

Hajduk was looking for Ultra to cover all the costs incurred by the club for holding the festival, and above all to financially cover and secure a new field in time as to not repeat, for example, last year’s catastrophe when the lawn was not brought in on time. The two sides never saw eye to eye. 

More information will be announced on Thursday.

The Ultra Europe festival will be held in Split from July 12 to 14, 2019.

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

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Split Citizens Concerned: Two Weeks Until Ultra Europe, Location Still TBA

The beginning of the tourist season in Croatia is also the beginning of the festival season, and according to the already established tradition of Ultra Europe in Split, it couldn’t pass without a bit of drama. 

Whether Ultra will be organized this year at Poljud or the new location of Park Mladeži, is still unclear. The decision is expected by the end of the week, if not sooner, though some of Split’s citizens in the Skalice neighborhood have expressed their concerns, reports Splitski Dnevnik on June 26, 2019.

RNK Split’s stadium Park Mladeži is an ever more likely option; however it is not sitting well with residents of the area. 

"I'm genuinely shocked, and I do not believe this really will happen. I still have hope that it will agree on something else. Because our buildings will not endure the event and everything that comes with Ultra,” said Zdravko from Split.

"Of course it is dangerous; the houses themselves are old. I mean, even when there's a small game, we cannot stay in the house, let alone withstand this. This is madness, I do not know who controls this city; I do not understand it,” said Marija from Split.

Many wonder if Park Mladeži has the capacity for the number of people attending the festival, and on the other hand, how the residents of the surrounding buildings can handle the noise. According to the organizers, an official announcement that will reveal if Ultra will be held at Poljud or Park Mladeži will come sometime this week.

The City of Split is said to be in the process of holding a meeting with the top of the city administration headed by mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, and, among the delegations, Joe Bašić and director of the Public Institution of Sports Facilities Tomislav Borozan. Dalmatinski Portal reports that Ultra was nearly set to be held at Park Mladeži, though the Public Institution was asking for 1.5 million kuna, which the Ultra organizers considered unacceptable.

"The organizers will inform you of the latest news. We are doing everything in our power to maintain this successful festival that has changed the face of tourism not only in our city but Croatia,” said mayor Andro Krstulović Opara.

Recall, since no agreement was signed between Ultra and Hajduk, the festival organizers allegedly turned to alternative solutions, and Park Mladeži was the first location that came to mind. 

Hajduk often highlighted the destruction of their field after Ultra as one of the biggest problems brought by the festival, which is part of why the two sides couldn't agree. 

Hajduk was looking for Ultra to cover all the costs incurred by the club for holding the festival, and above all to financially cover and secure a new field in time as to not repeat, for example, last year’s catastrophe when the lawn was not brought in on time. 

For every unplayed European match at Poljud, Hajduk is forced to relocate (to the significantly smaller stadium capacity in Dugopolje), leaving them with estimated losses of around 1.5 to 2 million kuna, while the price of the new field is between 1.6 and 2.2 million kuna.

"I think that Park Mladeži is not at all suitable for such a big international event. My opinion is that Poljud was created for such events as it promotes our city and the whole of Croatia,” said Suzana from Split.

Maybe the location is still in question, but the festival will go on. Stay tuned. 

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

Monday, 24 June 2019

Hajduk, City of Split, and HNS Meet: National Team WILL Play at Poljud

June 24, 2019 - Hajduk, the City of Split, and HNS held a historic meeting at Poljud to discuss, among a laundry list of items, the Croatia national team’s arrival in Split for the first time since 2015, and just the third time in 20 years. 

The City of Split and the Croatian Football Federation met on Monday at 10:30 at Poljud Stadium in Split. The City, as the majority owner of the stadium, invited representatives of HNK Hajduk to the meeting. The central theme was, of course, the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary on October 10, though equally as important was mending the relationship between Hajduk and HNS to better Croatian football for good. 

Eight HNS representatives came to Split, including Executive Director Marijan Kustić, and Vice Presidents Damir Misković and Ante Kulušić. The President of HNS, Davor Šuker, did not attend the meeting. Hajduk’s delegation was led by Marin Brbić and the City of Split by Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara. The police secured the meeting, and in total, 16 people participated.

The meeting did not end until almost 4 pm and Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara was the first to address the media. 

“I am very pleased to announce that at today's meeting, HNS was able to agree with many of Hajduk's requests. We want to finally solve the problem of non-communication between HNS and Hajduk in favor of Croatian football and football in southern Croatia. I look forward to hosting the Croatia national football team in Split,” said Andro Krstulović Opara.

“I look forward to continued cooperation. I look forward to the Croatia national team at Poljud.”

Hajduk president Marin Brbić addressed the media next. 

"I'm pleased to say that we finally started communicating with HNS. We will discuss each issue individually. We've always wanted the national team here. Today we felt a hint that something might change. The national team was never disputed, and we will continue to monitor the development of the situation.

We had a good, quality meeting. It will take time to solve each item, but it is important that there is a will and desire. I look forward to the arrival of Hungary in Split in cooperation with the City, and we will work to include Hajduk.”

Hajduk will not participate in the organization of the match, and will join the moment problems begin to resolve, Brbić added.

Recall, Hajduk said on Saturday that “without any concrete changes in relations with HNS, they will not change their attitude" and will not participate in the organization of the match.

The City of Split, as the majority owner of the stadium, unanimously voted at last week's City Council session to host the match in Split, but with a preliminary apology from the top of HNS.

The HNS Executive Committee at its session on June 12 decided that the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary would be played at Poljud, but failed to inform Hajduk or the City of Split of their decision, which questioned the game happening in Split at all.

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

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Hajduk, City of Split, and HNS to Hold Historic Meeting at Poljud on Monday

June 23, 2019 - On Monday, June 24, at 10:30 am, a meeting between the City of Split and the Croatian Football Federation will be held at Poljud. The City of Split, as the majority owner, invited representatives of HNK Hajduk to attend the meeting, the Split club officially confirmed on Saturday. 

In their recent statement, Hajduk presented their position on relations between the Club and the Federation and consequently where the Euro 2020 qualifier between Croatia and Hungary would be held. 

“On this occasion, HNK Hajduk clearly emphasizes how they firmly stand behind their statement and that their attitude will not change without any concrete changes in the relationship.

The Club is ready to actively participate in the meeting on Monday at Poljud exclusively to talk about the first steps towards more transparent and fairer relations with all clubs, to overcome the problems that have accumulated over the years. Only when these changes occur, or when we are convinced that the HNS leaders have translated their words into concrete actions, HNK Hajduk is ready to take on an active role in the process of organizing one of the next national team games,” Hajduk concluded on their official website

Recall, HNS announced that the Croatia national team would play their next home qualifier for Euro 2020 against Hungary at Poljud, though they failed to inform Hajduk or the City of Split of the news. As you can imagine, this was considered poor play by the Federation who is allegedly ‘trying’ to mend the relationship with Hajduk and Split. You can read more about that here. 

Whether the game would be played in Split at all seriously came into question as a result of the saga, and Hajduk released a statement rejecting that they were the obstacle standing in the way of it happening at all. 

“We have repeatedly stated that we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud. However, how HNS communicates with the Club and its supporters, the City of Split and its inhabitants, has been the reason why for several years, and especially recently, we have reason to doubt whether the Federation’s decision is sincere and of good intentions. Moreover, the question is whether the Croatian Football Federation is aware of the real mood of the fans in Split and Dalmatia,” Hajduk said. 

About the fans in the region, the club went on to say that the game shouldn’t be forced under these circumstances or organized at all costs, and that the national team does not deserve to be exposed to such division, but an atmosphere of communion and the unity of fans.

“The Croatian national team has not played in Split for too long. From 1998 until now, there were 66 official matches in Croatia, of which only two were played in Split! Of these two, one was played without fans. Therefore, the next national team appearance at Poljud deserves an atmosphere of strong support, without the unresolved problems in Croatian football. The Croatian Football Federation must accept its part of the responsibility for it, and not incorrectly transfer all of the responsibility to HNK Hajduk and the City of Split with the view that ’it is all on them, whether they want the national team in Split or not’.

We can achieve this goal, but only in an atmosphere of mutual respect, reasoned dialogue, and clear and measurable goals for the prosperity of all Croatian football. Croatia is ours and we want it at Poljud."

You can read the statement in its entirety here

HNK ended by inviting HNS's executive director Marijan Kustić to a meeting where HNK Hajduk would present their attitudes and intentions.

“Open conversations and an atmosphere of real dialogue have no alternative. They are a prerequisite for solving the accumulated problems.”

A few days after Hajduk’s press release, the Split City Council announced the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud but also expects changes at the root of HNS. 

With 25 votes for (from 26 councilors), the council unanimously decided that Croatia would play against Hungary at Poljud. However, changes at the root of HNS's relationship with the City of Split and Hajduk was demanded, as is an apology from HNS and a quick agreement from the Federation that all sides would get together as soon as possible.

You can read the City of Split’s statement in full below:

The Split City Council wants the Croatia national football team in our town for the official qualification match against the national team of Hungary at Poljud stadium.

The Split City Council demands from the Croatian Football Federation a rooted change in the current relationship between the leadership of the Croatian Football Federation towards the City of Split and the Croatian football club Hajduk, which is best reflected by the fact that Croatia has only played two official matches in Split in the last 20 years, one of which was played without the public.

Due to the many years of an inappropriate and unacceptable relationship with our city and club, an apology by the Croatian Football Federation is needed as an act of goodwill and a step towards recovering Croatian football and strengthening its communion.

In the interest of Croatian football, we are looking for an agreement at a meeting between the Croatian Football Federation and HNK Hajduk, in the presence of representatives of the City of Split, related to achieving a solution for the numerous deviations and the accumulation of problems that have burdened Croatian football for a long time, as well as an agreement on organizing the desired football match in our city of Split, said the Split City Council.

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

City of Split Votes for Croatia National Team at Poljud, Asks for Apology from HNS

The Split City Council announced the arrival of the Croatia national team at Poljud but also expects changes at the root of HNS.

It was a marathon session of the Split City Council, where the decision of whether the Croatia national team would play against Hungary at Poljud was finally revealed around 8 pm on Wednesday, reports Gol.hr on June 19, 2019. 

With 25 votes for (from 26 councilors), the council unanimously decided that Croatia would play against Hungary at Poljud.

However, changes at the root of HNS's relationship with the City of Split and Hajduk was demanded, as is an apology from HNS and a quick agreement from the Federation that all sides would get together as soon as possible.

You can read the City of Split’s statement in full below:

The Split City Council wants the Croatia national football team in our town for the official qualification match against the national team of Hungary at Poljud stadium.

The Split City Council demands from the Croatian Football Federation a rooted change in the current relationship between the leadership of the Croatian Football Federation towards the City of Split and the Croatian football club Hajduk, which is best reflected by the fact that Croatia has only played two official matches in Split in the last 20 years, one of which was played without the public.

Due to the many years of an inappropriate and unacceptable relationship with our city and club, an apology by the Croatian Football Federation is needed as an act of goodwill and a step towards recovering Croatian football and strengthening its communion.

In the interest of Croatian football, we are looking for an agreement at a meeting between the Croatian Football Federation and HNK Hajduk, in the presence of representatives of the City of Split, related to achieving a solution for the numerous deviations and the accumulation of problems that have burdened Croatian football for a long time, as well as an agreement on organizing the desired football match in our city of Split, said the Split City Council.

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

Friday, 14 June 2019

Negotiations with Hajduk at Standstill: Is Ultra Europe Moving to Park Mladeži?

The drama between Ultra Europe and Hajduk continues, as negations remain at a dead end. Radio Split reported on Friday morning that the Ultra Europe festival would be held at the RNK Split stadium, also known as Park Mladeži, instead of the current location at Poljud stadium, Slobodna Dalmacija announced on June 14, 2019. 

Since no agreement has been signed between Ultra and Hajduk, the festival organizers have allegedly turned to alternative solutions, and Park Mladeži was the first location that came to mind. 

As Radio Split reported, the negotiations between representatives of Ultra and Javne ustanova športski objekti Split (Public Institution Sports Facilities Split) have begun, though the City of Split still does not want to confirm this information, and all inquiries from the media remain unanswered.

RNK Split, the concessionaire of Park Mladeži, was also unable to provide any official information on where the Ultra Europe festival would be held this year. Allegedly, all official reports on the state of Ultra Europe will be released at the beginning of next week.

“We've been working intensely over the last few weeks. I believe we will have quality information next week. We are looking for a win-win situation in which everyone will be satisfied; Hajduk and the interest of sport, then the development of tourism and the further stimulation of Ultra, which we know will stay here for a few more years, as well as the many tourists, which we expect this year too and we will host,” said the mayor of Split Andro Krstulović Opara on Thursday. 

Recall, Hajduk has highlighted the destruction of their field after Ultra as one of the biggest problems brought by the festival, which is part of why the sides have been unable to agree. 

Hajduk was looking for Ultra to cover all the costs incurred by the club for holding the festival, and above all to financially cover and secure a new field in time as to not repeat, for example, last year’s catastrophe when the lawn was not brought in on time. 

For every unplayed European match at Poljud, Hajduk is forced to relocate (to the significantly smaller stadium capacity in Dugopolje), leaving them with estimated losses of around 1.5 to 2 million kuna, while the price of the new field is between 1.6 and 2.2 million kuna.

And it's already too late to buy and deliver a new field if you're looking to have it installed right after Ultra...

Stay tuned. 

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

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