Friday, 22 July 2022

Conference League 2nd Qualifying Round: Osijek Beats Kyzylzhar, Djurgarden Beats Rijeka

July 22, 2022 - Osijek and Rijeka played the first leg of the Conference League 2nd qualifying round on Thursday night. 

Osijek beat Kazakhstani club Kyzylzhar 2-1 (0-0) away in the first match of the Conference League 2nd qualifying round. Osijek went into the match as favorites, which is confirmed by the fact that they are six times more valuable than Kyzylzhar.

In the Kazakhstan championship so far, Kyzylzhar played 15 games with only three wins, six draws, and the same number of losses with a goal difference of 15:20.

Osijek thus achieved their first away European victory after five years with goals in the second half. Mihret Topčagić scored a header in the 58th minute, while Laszlo Kleinheisler headed into the net in the 76th to make it 2-0. In the 84th, an incredible own goal was scored by Darko Nejašmić for the final 2-1 Osijek. Osijek even scored a third goal at the very end of the match, but it was disallowed as it was called offside. 

The return match will be played in Osijek next Thursday. 

Rijeka played later Thursday night in the Conference League 2nd qualifying round at Rujevica against Swedish club Djurgarden. Rijeka, unfortunately, lost 1-2 to Djurgarden.

Djurgarden has already played 14 rounds of the domestic championship compared to Rijeka, who have only played the first round of the Croatian championship against Šibenik.

Rijeka started well and took the lead with a goal by captain Haris Vučkić in the 13th minute, but Hampus Finndell equalized in the 38th minute, and Victor Edvardsen, who assisted the first goal, brought a complete turnaround and victory for Djurgarden in the 54th minute. 

The second leg in Stockholm is scheduled for next week. 

Recall, in the first leg of the Champions League 2nd qualifying round, Dinamo and Shkupi drew 2:2 at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb on Tuesday. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Rijeka Tops Osijek in Extra Time for Spot in Croatian Cup Final against Hajduk

March 9, 2022 - Rijeka topped Osijek in the final minutes of a thrilling extra time to secure a spot in the Croatian Cup final against Hajduk on May 26! 

Rijeka and Osijek met in the Croatian Cup semifinal at Rujevica on Wednesday. In the other semifinal played last week, Hajduk beat Gorica for a spot in the final at Poljud on May 26.

Rijeka reached the semifinal by eliminating Pitomača (0:7) in the last 32, Oriolik Oriovac (0:6) in the round of 16, and knocking out Dinamo in the quarterfinal at Maksimir. Goran Tomić's team celebrated 3:1 and it was also the last game for coach Damir Krznar on the Dinamo bench.

Osijek did not concede a goal on their way to the semifinal. They defeated Bednja Beletinec 0:3, then Rudeš 0:2 in the last 16, after which they hosted Slaven Belupo in the quarterfinal. Osijek and Belupo played for 120 minutes before a penalty shootout which Osijek won. 

Before this Cup match, Osijek played 0:0 against Lokomotiva on Friday in the Croatian First League, while Rijeka beat Slaven Belupo 3:0 on Saturday, separating these two teams by only one point.

Lineups

Rijeka: Labrović, Velkovski, Čestić, Krešić, Bušnja, Čerin, Pavičić, Selahi, Vukčević, Vučkić, Drmić

Osijek: Ivušić, Cheberko, Škorić, Lončar. Grgić, Žaper, Kleinheisler, Leovac, Fiolić, Caktaš, Mierez

Recap

Rijeka took the 1:0 lead in the 20th minute with a goal by Krešić. Gnezda Čerin sent a freekick into Osijek's penalty area, which Krešić headed into the goal for the lead. 

Osijek equalized in the 42nd minute for 1:1 thanks to Mijo Caktaš, scoring the 11th goal of his career against Rijeka and the first in the Osijek jersey.

Josip Drmić put Rijeka back in the lead in the 77th minute for his 18th goal of the season. In the 2nd minute of stoppage time, Mance equalized for Osijek to send the match into extra time! 

While the first half of extra time went without a goal, with the nerves of penalties on the horizon, Merkulov scored in the 188th minute for the Rijeka lead and ultimate win for a spot in the Croatian Cup final against Hajduk on May 26! 

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

 

Monday, 6 December 2021

Croatian Cup Semifinal Draw: Osijek, Rijeka, Gorica, and Hajduk Learn Opponents

December 6, 2021 - The Croatian Cup semifinal draw was held at the Croatian Football Federation headquarters on Monday. 

In the Croatian Football Cup semifinals, Rijeka will play against Osijek at Rujevica Stadium and Hajduk will face Gorica at Poljud, according to the draw held on Monday in Zagreb.

The semifinal matches will be played on March 1 and 2, 2022. There were no top seeds in the draw and the semifinals will be played in one match.

The Cup final will be played on May 22 next year at Poljud Stadium in Split.

This is a great opportunity for Hajduk, which has played 19 consecutive Cup games away. Hajduk last won the Cup in 2013, which is also the last trophy for the Split club. Hajduk has the chance to play two home games in the Cup and a historic opportunity for their first trophy in eight years. The last time Split hosted the Cup was in March 2016 in the semifinal match against Dinamo.

The Rijeka and Osijek match will certainly be a bit more competitive, though Rijeka will have the home pitch advantage. 

Split will be the seventh different host of the final match for the Croatian Cup since the decision was made in 2016 that only one match will decide the winner of this trophy. The hosts of the previous six finals were Osijek, Varaždin, Vinkovci, Pula, Šibenik, and Velika Gorica.

Recall, in the quarterfinal matches which were played on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, Gorica topped Istra on penalties, Hajduk beat Lokomotiva 6:3, and Osijek beat Belupo on penalties. In the last quarterfinal, Rijeka knocked out Dinamo 3:1, which forced the resignation of Dinamo coach Damir Krznar. 

The sports betting company SuperSport became the title sponsor of the Croatian Football Cup this year. The most massive football competition thus bears the name SuperSport Croatian Football Cup for the 2021/22 season.

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

Thursday, 26 August 2021

No Conference League for Rijeka this Season as PAOK Wins at Rujevica

August 26, 2021 - There will be no Conference League for Rijeka this season as PAOK wins at Rujevica (0:2) on Thursday. 

Rijeka welcomed the Greek club PAOK at Rujevica Stadium on Thursday in the return match of the Conference League playoffs. 

Unfortunately, Rijeka could not overcome PAOK at Rujevica and was left without a place in the Conference League group stage. Goran Tomić's side failed to get ahead after the first match ended 1:1. PAOK was better tonight with goals by Omar El Kaddouri and Thomas Murg.

PAOK furiously entered the game, dominated, and already in the sixth minute, it was clear that Rijeka had a tough match ahead. PAOK hit the post twice. First, Schwab shook the goalpost with a long-range shot before El Kaddouri hit the crossbar.

However, El Kaddouri made up for his miss in the 11th minute. Schwab found the Moroccan who took advantage of a sleepy Rijeka defense to make it 0:1. 

Rijeka started to wake up in the middle of the first half, and in the 32nd minute, they had their first good attempt. Drmić found Abass, who shot from 20 meters. Five minutes later, Abass found Tomečak, who missed a great opportunity.

The post again saved Rijeka in the 41st minute after El Kaddouri tried to increase PAOK's lead. 

Rijeka started to settle in the second half, and PAOK was no longer as dangerous as in the first, but Rijeka still struggled to create opportunities. Selahi had a solid attempt from a distance in the 55th minute, and Tomečak's shot in the 68th minute was blocked. 

As the game drew to a close, Rijeka tried to be more and more offensive, and their concentration in defense dropped. Escoval easily lost the ball in the danger zone in the 80th minute; Kagawa passed to Murg, who calmly pushed it past the helpless Prskalo to seal their fate at 0:2. 

Croatia will thus remain with one representative in European club competitions this season. Dinamo will play in the Europa League, and Rijeka failed to qualify for the Conference League group stage. 

Source: Index.hr

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Tuesday, 30 March 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia Tops Malta 3:0 in Rijeka

March 30, 2021 - In their 3rd qualifier for the 2022 World Cup, Croatia tops Malta 3:0 in Rijeka.

Croatia met Malta at Rujevica Stadium in Rijeka in the 3rd round of Group H of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Zlatko Dalic's side had a shocking display in Ljubljana on Wednesday, losing to Slovenia to open the qualifications and immediately complicated their road to the World Cup. Recall, only the group winner qualifies directly for Qatar.

Two days later, however, Croatia changed tactics and managed to defeat Cyprus in a comfortable win. Mario Pašalić scored the only goal for the Vatreni during the first half. It surely wasn't Croatia's best performance, but it was enough to secure the team's first three points.

Dalić repeats the 4-3-3 formation used against Cyprus but decided to give many of his players some rest. From the last game, only Livaković, Ćaleta-Car, Pašalić, and Budimir returned the squad. Vida, Kovačić, and Vlašić made a comeback to the starting lineup after being benched the last match. Juranović, Melnjak, Badelj, and Oršić started for the first time. Vida replaced Modrić as the captain.

Lineups

Croatia (4-3-3): Livaković, Juranović, Ćaleta-Car, Vida, Melnjak; Kovačić, Badelj, Vlašić, Pašalić, Oršić; Budimir

Malta (3-4-3): Bonello; Shaw, Pepe, Borg; Mbong, Guillaumier, Kristensen, Camenzuli; Teuma, Satariano, Pisani

Recap

Croatia put a lot of pressure on the opposite team from the start, and it was Vlašić who got the first shot of the game in the second minute that went out, but very close to the post. Both teams started quite aggressively.

In the 14th minute, Vlašić again showed up to dribble past two defenders and put a very dangerous cross into the box. Pašalić hit the ball with a great header, but the shot went against the crossbar. This was Croatia's clearest attempt during the first half. 

Despite the early pressure from Croatia in the first 18 minutes, it didn't seem like enough to take the lead or dominate the ball possession. Shortly after, the Croatia midfield seemed to find the patience necessary to initiate the attacks in a more orderly manner, getting 64% of the possession in the 25th minute.

Although the Croatia side became the superior team in terms of possession and attempts afterward, the Malta defense did not give ground. Once again, a nice combination between Budimir and Vlašić in the 31st minute of the game gave the latter a great chance to put an interesting cross in the box, but no one was there to tap it in.

They continued to look for scoring opportunities through the end of the first half, but despite Vlašić's great first half and Oršić, Pašalić, and Kovačić's individual display; the visitors did not lower their arms and defended their goal fiercely.

Just one minute was added to the end of the first half, but the result did not budge. Both teams reached the halftime break drawing 0-0.

The Vatreni began the second half just like the first one, searching for the lead by pressuring their rivals from the start. And who else but Vlašić, who in the 46th minute shot to goal to complete his third attempt of the night, however, saved by the keeper.

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Slobodan Kadic

A couple of minutes later, another great opportunity came for the home team when Juranović's long ball reached Oršić, and the Dinamo midfielder found himself in a 1v1 situation with the goalkeeper. Oršić tried to lob the keeper, but he managed to stop the shot.

In the 53rd minute, Dalić decided to make a triple substitution. Modrić came on for Badelj, Brekalo for Pasalić, and Perišič for Budimir.

In the 58th minute, Barišič replaced Melnjak in the left-back position.

Reaching the first 15-minute of the second half, Croatia struggled to find more attempts. However, in the 61st minute, Barišić's entrance delivered more offensive situations, and he managed to put a beautiful cross that found Perišić completely alone in front of the goal. The veteran player scored the first goal of the game and became Croatia's fourth all-time scorer.

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Slobodan Kadic

It looked like Croatia lowered the pressure after the goal, but the referee gave the Vatreni a penalty in the 75th minute due to a handball in the box. Luka Modrić, who became the Croatia player with the most appearances for the national team last match against Cyprus, scored the second goal of the match and his first in the qualifiers.

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Slobodan Kadic

In the 78th minute, Lovrić replaced Oršić.

In the 90th minute, Brekalo scored for 3:0, which was the final score of the match. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia will visit Russia on September 1 for their fourth game of Group H.

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Slobodan Kadic

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

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Zlatko Dalić Opts for Croatia Qualifying Squad Unlike Ever Before against Malta in Rijeka

March 30, 2021 - A Croatia qualifying squad unlike ever before will face Malta in Rijeka on Tuesday night after Zlatko Dalić announced he would rest some players who started against both Slovenia and Cyprus.

Sportske Novosti writes that for the first time in Croatia's 27 years of participation in tournament qualifications, the coach will not send a team on the pitch he thinks is best but will consciously sub and offer rest to certain players.

Livaković, Vrsaljko, Barišić, Modrić, Brozović, Lovren, and Perišić will not start today's match. Most of them will sit in the stands with the option for someone to enter the game later.

So far, we have only seen this in friendly matches and big competitions, as a "Reserve Croatia" never went for qualifying points. 

Playing qualifiers with a team that you know is not the best is consciously taking a risk, but it is no less of a risk than sending the same footballers on the pitch for the third time in such a short period, increasing the risk of injury.

Throughout history, Croatia had played only three games with the B team when points were shared in the final tournaments. They have recorded two victories. After winning two rounds at Euro 1996 in England, Croatia lost to Portugal 0:3, at Euro 2008 they defeated Poland 1:0, and at the last World Cup, Croatia beat Iceland 2:1. The team was partially revised in 2016 in the match against Spain in Bordeaux; however, Luka Modrić and Mario Mandžukić were injured. Modrić, however, would have played if it was a key game, but Ante Čačić logically saved him. In the end, Croatia won 2:1.

Zlatko Dalić is not a gambler. He proved how important Modrić is to him in Russia, and in that match against Iceland in Rostov, he sent ten new players on the pitch and captain Luka to lead them. 

However, the coach is aware of how much energy the players are spending in the hardest season ever. At the same time, HNS is exposed to the clubs' demands not to use them to the end. According to Real or Inter, there is no obligation unless such a promise is given to someone under pressure. Still, according to the players, there is because the ultimate goal is the optimal solution for everyone. Thus, Dalić announced that Modrić & Co. would not play tonight. In the middle of the pitch, Milan Badelj will get a chance, which will be his first minute of the current cycle.

"We must not underestimate them; they led against Slovakia 2:0. As for the lineup, we will rest some players. Luka Modrić will be on the bench to start; we will see what will happen with Ivan Perišić and Marcelo Brozović. We consider including players who had fewer minutes, but not because we underestimated the opponent, but because we think fresh players should start.

We will start with Juranović and Melnjak, Vrsaljko and Barišić have run out. It will be two new players on the backs. We let Kramarić go home for treatment because he twisted his ankle in the match against Cyprus. Budimir will be up top. We still have to see in what condition Lovren, Vida, Uremović, and Ćaleta-Car are in to find the best solution there. Whoever plays will have to give their best because we are not full of confidence and security.

We expect a higher quality and better flowing game, and we want to bring the game to an end with as little stress and nervousness as possible," concluded Dalić.

Croatia and Malta meet tonight at Rujevica Stadium in Rijeka from 8:45 pm. 

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

Saturday, 27 March 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia Defeats Cyprus 1:0 in Rijeka

March 27, 2021 - In their 2nd qualifier for the 2022 World Cup, Croatia defeats Cyprus 1:0 in Rijeka. 

Croatia met Cyprus at Rujevica Stadium in Rijeka in the 2nd round of Group H of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Zlatko Dalic's side had a shocking display in Ljubljana on Wednesday, losing to Slovenia to open the qualifications and immediately complicated their road to the World Cup. Recall, only the group winner qualifies directly for Qatar.

Dalić mixed things up on Saturday, opting for a 4-3-3 formation instead. Duje Ćaleta-Car, Mario Pašalić, Josip Brekalo, and Ante Budimir were new to the starting eleven, while Domagoj Vida, Mateo Kovačić, Nikola Vlašić, and Andrej Kramarić dropped out of the first 11 compared to Wednesday. 

Lineups

Croatia (4-3-3): Livaković, Vrsaljko, Lovren, Ćaleta-Car, Barišić; Brozović, Brekalo, Modrić, Pašalić, Perišić; Budimir

Cyprus (3-4-3): Demetriou; Kousoulos, Soteriou, Laifis; Psaltris, Artymatas, Cham. Kyriakou, Ionanou; Tzioni, Ilia, Pittas

Recap

Croatia was powerful to start the match, pushing the Cyprus defense in the first 10 minutes. Pašalić just missed a header for the Croatia lead in the 4th minute, and Barišić's left side was active in getting Croatia to attack. Croatia totally dominated a weak Cyprus side who seldom touched the ball. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Nearing the 20th minute, Luka Modrić volleyed from 18-meters to hit just over the goal, and Croatia's chances did not stop there. A Perišić lay-off to Brozović saw him miss in what was perhaps Croatia's best chance so far. 

Vrsaljko played a beautiful ball into the box that was a hair too fast for Pašalić's head, and Luka missed again from outside the box. 

But then it happened.

Croatia finally found the back of the net in the 39th minute. Mario Pašalić scored from a header for 1:0!  

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia almost made it 2:0 five minutes later, but the ref called it offside. Croatia ended the first half with 71% of possession.

Croatia started the second half with one change - Dalić subbed off Šime Vrsaljko for Josip Juranović.

Croatia's attacking game did not slow down at the start of the second half.

Perišić and Barišić shot in the 51st minute, while Juranović played a stellar ball to Brozović to shoot a few minutes later. Nothing, however, resulted in a goal. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Andrej Kramarić came on for Ante Budimir in the 57th minute. 

Croatia continued to get chances but struggled to find the back of the net. On a good day, it would have been 10:0 for Croatia by now. 

Dalić opted for fresh legs again and brought on Mislav Oršić and Nikola Vlašić for Mario Pašalić and Josip Brekalo in the 66th minute. Ivan Perišić and Mateo Kovačić swapped places 10 minutes later. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Cyprus opened up more and was looking forward, especially for that equalizing goal. Croatia's game was becoming sloppy, and it was hard for them to connect passes. They struggled to maintain a smart attacking game. 

Vlašić shot at the Cyprus keeper in the 80th minute. At least he attempted. 

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Slobodan Kadic

The ref added four minutes of injury time and the match ended 1:0 for Croatia. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia will play Malta on Tuesday in Rijeka at 20:45. 

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

Monday, 1 March 2021

HNL Round 23 Recap: Osijek Comes Back to Beat Varazdin 3:2, Hajduk Tops Rijeka Again

March 1, 2021 - The 23rd round of the Croatian First League was held from February 26 to 28, 2021. In this round, Osijek comes back to beat Varazdin, and Hajduk records another win at Rujevica against Rijeka. 

Varazdin v. Osijek (2:3)

Varazdin and Osijek opened the 23rd round on Friday, February 26, 2021, in Varazdin. 

Peco scored the first goal of the match in the 16th minute for 1:0 Varazdin, which Herrera increased to 2:0 five minutes later. Varazdin could not hold onto their lead for long, with an Osijek penalty in the 52nd minute (Mierez) bringing them back in the game. Santini equalized for Osijek in the 68th minute, and Mierez scored again for the 2:3 win 10 minutes later. 

 

Varazdin is currently in 7th place with 22 points, while Osijek is in 2nd with 51. 

Sibenik v. Lokomotiva (0:0)

Sibenik and Lokomotiva met on Saturday, February 27, 2021, in Sibenik. 

Neither team was able to score in the 0:0 draw. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 6th place with 26 points, while Lokomotiva is in 9th with 19. 

Rijeka v. Hajduk (0:1)

The thrilling Adriatic Derby between Rijeka and Hajduk was played on Saturday, February 27, 2021, at Rujevica Stadium. 

The only goal of the match came in the 72nd minute when Umut scored thanks to Livaja's debut assist for 0:1 Hajduk. Rijeka was awarded a penalty in the final seconds of the match (96'), but Andrijasevic shot at goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic for the critical Hajduk win. Rijeka's coach Simon Rožman resigned after the match, and the club should announce a new coach soon. 

 

Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 32 points, while Hajduk is in 5th place with 29. 

Gorica v. Istra 1961 (2:1)

Gorica and Istra met on Sunday, February 28, 2021, in Velika Gorica. 

Istra's Bande scored the first goal of the match in the 25th minute, which was the score at the half. Lovric equalized for 1:1 in the 50th minute, and Mudrinski gave Gorica the lead in the 73rd minute for the 2:1 final result. 

 

Gorica is currently in 3rd place with 46 points, while Istra is in 10th place with 14. 

Dinamo v. Slaven Belupo (3:0)

Dinamo and Slaven Belupo closed out the 23rd round on Sunday, February 28, 2021, at Maksimir Stadium. 

The first half went without goals after a VAR decision called Lauritsen's goal offside in the 37th minute. Gvardiol scored Dinamo's first goal in the 60th minute, followed by Tolic four minutes later for 2:0. Gavranovic made it 3:0 in the 90th minute. 

 

Dinamo is currently in 1st place with 51 points, while Belupo is in 8th with 21. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.  

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

Thursday, 17 December 2020

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia Meets Cyprus and Malta in Rijeka

December 17, 2020 - The Croatian Football Federation has announced the schedule for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in March when Croatia meets Cyprus and Malta. 

The Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation decided on the host of Croatia's qualifying matches against Cyprus and Malta in March 2021. 

On March 24, 2021, the Croatia national team will open the European qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022 away against Slovenia. 

The 2018 World Cup finalists then have two matches at home, against Cyprus and Malta, and the HNS Executive Board has decided that the two matches will be played at the HNK Rijeka stadium (Rujevica).

The match against Cyprus will be played on March 27 starting at 18:00, and three days later, the match against Malta is scheduled at 20:45.

Croatia has played 16 games in Rijeka so far and has never lost, with 13 wins and three draws.

Croatia's qualifying cycle for the World Cup in Qatar will continue with three September matches, against Russia (September 1, 20:45) and Slovakia (September 4, 20:45) away, and against Slovenia (September 7, 20:45) at home. Zlatko Dalić's team will play two matches in October next year, against Cyprus (October 8, 20:45) away, and Slovakia (October 11, 20:45) at home.

In the final part of the qualifications in November 2021, Croatia will play in Malta (November 11, 20:45), and in the last qualification round at home, they will meet Russia (November 14, 15:00).

As a reminder, the ten group winners will qualify directly for the World Cup, and the ten second-placed teams will try to win the same in the playoffs, which will be played from March 24 to 29, 2022.

In addition to the ten runners-up from the group stage, the playoffs will also include the two best national teams in the overall standings of the UEFA Nations League for the 2020/2021 season, which will not directly qualify for the World Cup, nor will they win the playoffs as the second-placed teams in the group. Twelve teams in the playoffs will be divided into three "pots" and will fight for the three remaining European places at the World Cup in March 2022. 

The 2022 World Cup will be held from November 21 to December 18, 2022, in five Qatari cities (Doha, Lusail, Al Khor, Al Wakrah, Al Rayyan).

Source: HNS

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

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