Sunday, 25 September 2022

Croatia Beat Austria for UEFA Nations League Finals Spot!

September 25, 2022 - Croatia beats Austria 3:1 in Vienna for a spot in the UEFA Nations League finals! Croatia thus finished at the top of Group 1 and is among the final four teams in the Nations League A. 

Croatia and Austria met on Sunday night at the Ernst Happel stadium for the last match in the UEFA Nations League group stage. 

The Austrian Football Association announced that more than 40,000 tickets had been sold, but the bigger news was that around 20,000 fans would be cheering for Croatia, even though Austria predicted 2,700 tickets for the visiting team. 

After beating Denmark in Zagreb on Thursday, the road to the Nations League Finals was clear. Croatia would secure first place in Group 1 and the final tournament with the victory against Austria. With a loss or a draw, Croatia would also advance, however, only if Denmark did not beat France in Copenhagen at the same time.

Recall, Croatia defeated Denmark twice and France once, after opening the competition with an unpleasant defeat in Osijek against Austria. It was Austria's only victory in the group, while they took a point against France and lost their other three matches. 

Lineups

Austria: Lindner, Trimmel, Posch, Danso, Alaba, Baumgartner, Seiwald, X.Schlager, Sabitzer, Arnautović, Gregoritsch

Croatia: Livaković, Stanišić, Lovren, Gvardiol, Barišić, Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić, Vlašić, Budimir, Perišić 

Match Report

Croatia's first attack came in the 3rd minute, which resulted in a corner kick. Modric found Brozovic, who missed the ball and gave Austria a quick counterattack. 

Croatia regained possession, and Perisic moved quickly up the left wing before cutting into the box but failed to get a shot off.  

Croatia's brilliant start of the game was rewarded with a goal in the 6th minute. Vlasic masterfully won the ball in the midfield to find captain Luka Modric to score for 0:1 Croatia! 

But a wake-up call for Croatia came two minutes later. A hospital ball from Stanisic to an Austria player found Baumgartner for 1:1. 

More bad news came for Croatia in the 16th minute. Brozovic overextended his left leg and immediately dropped to the ground. The player called to be subbed off for what looked like a hamstring injury. Lovro Majer was subbed on in the 18th minute. 

Arnautovic weakly shot at Livakovic from 20 meters out in the 22nd minute. 

Austria's best chance came a minute later. Baumgartner shot between Croatia's stoppers and missed just wide of the goal. A lucky miss for Croatia. 

Austria possessed well and had another close chance in the 35th minute. A misunderstanding between Livaković and Gvardiol saw them awkwardly collide. The ball came to Baumgartner, who turned to shoot but luckily went over the goal.

Austria looked better as the half progressed, and Livakovic brilliantly saved Croatia from a goal after Arnautovic was one-on-one with the Croatia keeper. 

Vlasic brought some life back for Croatia with a shot in the 45th minute. Four minutes of stoppage time were added to the half.  The match went into halftime at 1:1.

The second half started without any changes for either team. Perisic was shown a yellow card in the 47th minute. 

Budimir fell in the penalty area in the 53rd minute, but there wasn't enough contact to be called for a penalty. 

Croatia attacked well in the 55th minute. Modric played through to Vlasic, who crossed in the box to Budimir, but the Austria defense prevented a shot. 

Austria was awarded a free kick in the 58th minute but shot into Croatia's wall. The ref called for another free kick for Austria, this time in closer range to the goal. Lovren was shown a yellow card for intentionally playing with his hand. A double block by the Croatia defense stopped the play. 

Dalic subbed on Marko Livaja for Ante Budimmir and Borna Sosa for Borna Barisic in the 62nd minute. Wober, Lainer, and Cham entered for Arnautović, Posch, and Trimmel. 

A great attack for Croatia saw Kovacic get a shot off which was deflected for a corner. 

Another incredible save by Livakovic from a Gregoritsch header. 

Perisic was one-on-one with the Austria defense in the 66th minute and forced a corner. 

But then it finally happened. Croatia's midfield found Perisic on the left, who crossed far post to Livaja. Livaja moved behind the Austria defender and headed near post into the goal for 1:2 Croatia in the 69th minute! 

And then another Croatia corner in the 71st minute. Modric played short to Majer, who found Lovren alone far post. A diving header into the opposite side of the goal, and it was 1:3 for Croatia! 

Croatia played smart in the last 10 minutes, keeping possession of the ball without any unnecessary risks.

Kramarić and Pašalić were subbed on for Kovačić and Vlašić in the 84th minute. 

Three minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the match and the match ended 1:3 for Croatia! 

With this result, Croatia finishes at the top of Group 1 and advances to the UEFA Nations League Finals! The final tournament will be held from 14 to 18 June 2023 and will feature the four group winners of Nations League A. 

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

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Croatia Moves to Top of Nations League Group with Win against Denmark in Zagreb!

September 22, 2022 - Croatia beats Denmark 2:1 in Zagreb and moves to the top of their Nations League group! 

Croatia and Denmark met at a sold-out Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb on Thursday night in the 5th round of the Nations League.  

Before tonight's match, Demark led the group with nine points, while Croatia was two points behind with 7. A win would bring them to the top of the group. 

Croatia also played for the first time in their new kits, which they will wear at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

The winner of the group travels to the Nations League final tournament, which is scheduled for June next year, while the bottom team moves to League B.

Before the national anthems, recently retired national team member Šime Vrsaljko was honored by the Croatian Football Federation. 22,715 fans were in attendance. 

Lineups

Croatia (4-3-3): Livaković - Juranović, Josip Šutalo, Gvardiol, Sosa - Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić - Pašalić, Kramarić, Perišić

Denmark (4-3-3): Schmeichel - Andersen, A. Christensen, Kjaer, Maehle - Wass, Höjbjerg, Delaney - Skov Olsen, Eriksen, Braithwaite

Match Report

Luka had the first attack of the match in the 2nd minute and played up the pitch with Kramaric. Luka took the ball to the goal line and got Croatia's first corner. Luka sent the ball in, but Sosa played back into the box to find Gvardiol's head. Brozovic shot over the goal in the 5th minute. 

Perisic and Kramaric played up the left wing in Croatia's next attack, but Perisic played to the keeper. In the 7th minute, Mario Pasalic sent the ball in front of the opponent's goal, but it was cleared by the defense. 

Denmark finally began possessing from the 10th minute. Sosa cleared a dangerous shot by Eriksen and Croatian regained possession. Luka was brilliant again in the 15th minute, dribbling into the Denmark box and crossing into the penalty area. No Croatia player could get to the ball quick enough. Denmark then forced a quick counter which resulted in their first corner. 

Croatia's best chance came in the 16th minute when Perisic crossed into the box from the goal line. The ball was then played out to Kovacic, who shanked over the goal. 

Perisic's shot in the 21st minute also went over the goal. Daniel Wass had a great chance for Denmark in the next play but just missed the goal.

Another great attack for Croatia in the 25th minute went out for a corner. The ball ultimately found Gvardiol's head but went out of play. 

Livakovic saved a dangerous chance from Denmark in the 34th minute. Joakim Maehle fought for space but show low in the middle of the goal and straight into Livakovic's hands.

Ivan Perišić received a yellow card in the 36th minute. 

Eriksen shot from outside the box in the 38th minute, forcing Livakovic to punch the ball out for a corner. 

Croatia kept possession with short passes and waited for a hole in the defense. The match ended 0:0 at halftime. 

The second half started without any changes. 

Croatia's first corner of the second half came in the 47th minute. The ball came out to Borna Sosa at the top of the box, who shot low in the bottom left corner of the goal for 1:0 Croatia!

Kramaric shot from a distance in the next attack but went over the goal.  

Modric was fouled on the edge of the box in the 56th minute. Perisic shot low near post but hit the outside net. 

Denmark made their first subs in the 60th minute. Mikkel Damsgaard came on for Martin Braithwaite, Rasmus Hojlund for Thomas Delaney, and  Rasmus Kristensen for Daniel Wass.

Luka and Perisic had a great play in the 65th minute, and Luka's shot was blocked by the Denmark keeper. Kramaric tried to score on his own in the next attack but played to the Denmark defense. 

Kovacic missed a great opportunity in the 69th minute.

Dalic subbed off Pasalic, Perisic, and Kramaric for Vlasic, Orsic, and Petkovic in the71st minute. Mathias Jensen was subbed for Simon Kjaer.

A lapse in the Croatia defense gave Eriksen space to shoot in the 77th minute. The Denmark star nailed the upper corner of the goal to tie the game. 

Mateo Kovačić was replaced by Lovro Majer in the 79th minute, which resulted in a goal seconds after he entered the pitch. Majer shot with his left foot into the right corner of the goal for 2:1 Croatia! 

Croatia's defense cleared a dangerous Denmark chance in the 84th minute. The play continued and Livakovic kept the game a 2:1. 

Denmark was hungry to equalize, but Croatia remained solid. Vlasic had a chance in the 90th minute, and the ref added 4 mins of stoppage time. Denmark had a scary chance in the final minutes.  

Luka Modric was subbed off in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for Domagoj Vida. 

The match ended 2:1 for Croatia! Croatia plays Austria next on Sunday in Vienna. 

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

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Dinamo Shocks Chelsea in Zagreb to Kick Off Champions League Campaign

 September 6, 2022 - Dinamo beat Chelsea 1-0 in the first round of the Champions League Group E at Maksimir Stadium in front of 20,607 spectators.

Dinamo Zagreb opened their eighth appearance in the Champions League group stage at Maksimir stadium with a victory against former European and English champions Chelsea. The deciding goal was scored by Mislav Oršić in the 13th minute.

Chelsea won direct placement in the Champions League after finishing third place in the Premier League last season. The Croatian champion played three qualifying rounds to secure a place among the European football elite. They clinched a spot in the group stage after beating Bodo/Glimt. 

Chelsea took the initiative from the first minute, but it didn't take long for Dinamo to answer back. In the 13th minute, Dinamo countered and converted the attack into a goal by Mislav Oršić.

The action started with Robert Ljubičić, who sent a long ball to Bruno Petković. Bruno passed it to Oršić, who dribbled past Wesley Fofana, a new Chelsea player who arrived from Leicester City for 82 million euros. Oršić ran about 50 meters and beat goalkeeper Kepa for 1:0!

Chelsea equalized in the 48th minute, but Aubameyang's goal was ultimately called offside. In the 56th minute, Dinamo was one step closer to a second goal, but Stefan Ristovski's fantastic shot hit the crossbar.

Reece James also hit the post in the 85th minute. Mateo Kovačić played for Chelsea until the 59th minute.

RB Salzburg and Milan meet in the second match from this group at 21:00.

Dinamo plays their next Champions League match on Wednesday, September 14, at San Siro against Milan. 

Lineups

DINAMO: Livaković - Ristovski, Perić, J. Šutalo - Moharrami, Mišić, Ademi, Ljubičić - Ivanušec - Petković, Oršić

CHELSEA: Arrizabalaga - Azpilicueta, Koulibaly, Fofana - James, Kovačić, Mount, Chilwell - Havertz, Sterling - Aubameyang

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

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Hajduk Drops Out of UEFA Europa Conference League After Play-off Defeat to Villarreal

August 25, 2022 - Hajduk has dropped out of the UEFA Europa Conference League on a 2-6 aggregate to Villarreal. The Split club lost 0:2 at Poljud on Thursday night. 

Hajduk and Villarreal met in the second leg of the Conference League play-off at a sold-out Poljud stadium on Thursday. In the first match, Villarreal won 4:2 in Valencia, meaning Hajduk needed to score three goals to have a chance. 

Villarreal is one of the best European teams and was certainly the favorite to move ahead. The Spanish club is last year's Champions League semi-finalist, and Europa League champions the season before that, knocking out Dinamo Zagreb on their way to the title.

Hajduk had met Spanish clubs five times so far in European competitions but failed to move past them. 

"It will be a difficult test because Villarreal likes to control the game and have possession of the ball. We have to be patient and focused for the whole 90 minutes and pay attention to small details," Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas said before the match. 

"In that beautiful stadium, we expect a good atmosphere in which we will try to manage the match," said Villarreal coach Unai Emery. 

Lineups

HAJDUK: Kalinić - Mikanović, Awaziem, Elez, Melnjak - Grgić, Fossati - Sahiti, Krovinović, Biuk - Livaja

VILLARREAL: Reina - Kiko, Mandi, Cuenca, Pedraza - Chukwueze, Parejo, Coquelin, Baena - Lo Celso, Nicolas

Match report

Villarreal had their first attack in the 2nd minute, which went out for a goal kick. Melnjak played a hospital ball to a Villarreal player at the top of the box. Kalinic luckily saved the shot, but Hajduk fouled in the next play. A free-kick awarded to Villarreal found the head of Baena, who went over the post. 

It was a shaky first five minutes for Hajduk, who was playing nervously. 

A quick counter which started from Awaziem found Sahiti on the right and went out for Hajduk's first corner. The ball was played out by the Villarreal defense and sent back in by Sahiti, who found Livaja's head. Marko just missed near post. 

Another attack for Hajduk came in the 10th minute and Fossati managed to get a shot off which was blocked. 

Another shaky instance in the Hajduk defense came a minute later and was luckily cleared by Melnjak. 

Another brilliant attack by Hajduk in the 14th minute saw Livaja get a shot off which was deflected out for a corner. Krovinovic found Livaja again, whose one-touch shot went over the goal.  

Sahiti dribbled through the Villarreal defense in the next play and shot at the keeper. Livaja tried lobbing the keeper from the halfway line in the 16th minute.  And he hit another rocket that went just wide of the far post in the next play. 

Mikanovic was shown a yellow card in the 19th minute. 

Villarreal tried a quick counter in the 22nd minute but shot straight at Kalinic. Hajduk countered back and Biuk got a shot off which was deflected to Reina. 

Hajduk was hungry and had another corner in the 25th minute, followed by another after that. 

Villarreal started to possess the ball and tried to move into the box. Nicolas' fancy footwork couldn't move past Hajduk's defense. 

A Hajduk free kick in the 30th minute was played short to Biuk on the left. The young midfielder cut into the middle and fell for a foul, but the ref said to play on. Hajduk's next attack was called offside. 

A dangerous free kick for Villarreal in the 34th minute was taken in front of the corner spot. Luckily the ball went straight to Kalinic. 

But just a few minutes later, Pedraza had his chance, playing around Hajduk's defense with no one in the block. He shot far post into Kalinic's goal for 0:1 Villarreal. Hajduk's hope had dwindled. 

A Livaja free kick in the 41st minute was taken from about 30 meters out and went just wide of the post. The first half ended 0:1 for Villarreal. 

Villarreal made one sub to start the second half - Capoue went on for Coquelin. Hajduk did not make any changes. 

A dangerous chance for Villarreal came in the 47th minute, which was blocked by the Hajduk defense. A standout save by Kalinic in the 51st minute stopped Villarreal from going ahead by two goals. 

Another attack for Villarreal in the next minute went out for a corner. Hajduk managed to clear any dangerous plays and tried to calmly move the ball into Villarreal's half but could not get a shot off. 

In the next attack, Chukwueze's shot slipped through Kalinic's hands and into the goal for 0:2 Villarreal. Hajduk would now need 4 goals to bring the match to extra time. 

Villarreal made substitutions in the 58th minute - Moreno came on for Jackson and Morales for Lo Celso. 

Hajduk made their first subs in the 59th minute - Lovrencsics came on for Mikanovic and Mlakar for Sahiti. 

Fossati was subbed off for Vukovic in the 65th minute.  

Mlakar had a great chance to score a minute later but just missed the far post. 

Krovinovic was fouled right on the corner of the box in the 71st minute. The same player took the free kick, which went out for a goal kick. 

Hajduk had a free kick and a corner in the 75th minute without a chance for a goal. 

Pau Torres came on for Pedraza and Foyth for Kiko in the 79th minute. Colina came on for Melnjak and Simic for Elez in the same minute. 

There were no dangerous chances for either team in the final 10 minutes. The ref added 3 minutes of stoppage time, in which no one scored.

Hajduk has thus dropped out of the UEFA Europa Conference League. 

Post-match comments 

Villarreal coach Unai Emery

"We played against a team that is good today but also has a rich past. The atmosphere created by the fans was special, and we enjoyed it. I'm sorry when a team like Hajduk is left out of the European competition. With this kind of atmosphere and fans, it deserves to be in the European competition. I have to repeat that in the first game, we made several mistakes, and now we managed to improve some things that we did in the first game at a lower level. This is Europe; we have to be concentrated and satisfied with this kind of game."

Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas

"I can't fault the players. We were ready and better than in the first game. The difference in class between us and Villarreal is too big, especially in two games. We turn to Osijek, which for us as the final, will not be easy, but we have to focus. We showed a level we can be proud of, but we have to improve," said Dambrauskas.

"A big thank you to the fans for their support during and after the match. It's a big responsibility. I'm not afraid to say it, and I know it sounds like a cliché, but we really have the best fans in Europe. We really do. Someone compares us to Napoli and Marseille, but we are not even the first in Croatia, we do not play in the European League nor the Conference League, and we have such support. The players and we are very proud to have this kind of support."

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

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Hajduk and Villarreal to Meet in Europa Conference League Play-off!

August 10, 2022 - Hajduk and Villarreal will meet in the Europa Conference League play-off! Hajduk advanced past Vitoria in the 3rd qualifying round with a 3:2 aggregate on Wednesday in Portugal. 

Vitoria and Hajduk met in the second leg of the Conference League 3rd-round qualifiers. Several thousand members of Hajduk fan group Torcida were in attendance. 

Hajduk came to Dom Afonso Henriques stadium with a two-goal advantage after defeating Vitoria 3:1 in the first match at Poljud. Recall, the away goal rule is no longer in force.

"We have a plan that we want to implement. We have to have the same approach as in the home game. I am sure that Vitoria will play a different match than the one in Split; I believe that they are a better team than what they showed at Poljud," said coach Valdas Dambrauskas before the match. 

Lineups

Vitoria Guimaraes: Varela, Miguel, Amaro, Mumin, Ogawa, Andre Almeida, Pains, Tiago Silva, Lameiras, Anderson, Antonin

Hajduk: 
Kalinić, Mikanović, Simić, Elez, Melnjak, Vuković, Grgić, Krovinović, Sahiti, Livaja, Čolina

Live match report

Vitoria had a dangerous free kick just outside the box in the 2nd minute, which was cleared by the Hajduk defense.

Just two minutes later, the worst-case scenario happened for Hajduk - Ogawa dribbled up the left wing and found Anderson alone at the top of the box. The Brazilian footballer brilliantly scored with his back to the goal, finding the upper right corner of Kalinic's goal for 1:0 in the 5th minute. 

Hajduk had their first attack of the match in the 11th minute when Grgic flew up the left wing but crossed into the Vitoria defense. 

Hajduk played nervously when in possession and could not connect more than a few passes at a time. Vitoria's pressure did not stop, and there were a few close calls in the next 10 minutes of play. Hajduk's defense was tested.

Hajduk continued playing unsuccessful long balls from the back, and by the 22nd minute, Vitoria had 8 attacks compared to Hajduk's 3. 

Hajduk's best chance of the match came in the 23rd minute - Sahiti received the ball in the midfield and played a flawless ball through the Vitoria defense to Colina, who was one-on-one with the Vitoria keeper. Colina chipped the keeper and just went over the goal post.

Hajduk, at least, had stabilized their play. Much better than what we saw in the first part of the match. 

Another chance for Hajduk came in the 26th minute. Krovinovic crossed to Colina whose header went over the goal.

Anderson tried to surprise Kalinic by shooting from 30 meters in the 30th minute, but the Hajduk keeper defended without any problems.

Another close call for Hajduk came a few minutes later in front of Kalinic's goal, but the ball luckily couldn't reach Anderson in the box. 

Colina sent the ball into the box in the 38th minute, which was cleared by the Vitoria defense. 

Hajduk had another chance in the 44th minute, but Sahiti was called offside. The match erupted into a mini brawl after the Vitoria keeper forcefully picked Sahiti up from the pitch. Vukovic ran over in Sahiti's defense, and Tiago Silva slapped Sahiti in the head, which the ref failed to see. There is no VAR in Conference League, and if there was, it could have easily been a red card for Silva. Instead, the ref gave Silva, Varela, and Vukovic yellow cards. 

The match was 1:0 going into the half. 

The second half started with one sub for Hajduk - Borevkovic came on for Simic, who has a yellow card. 

Vitoria's first chance came in the 46th minute, which was cleared out for a Vitoria throw-in. 

Vitoria had a free kick in the 52nd minute, which fortunately went out for a goal kick. One minute later, Jota nutmegged Hajduk's defense to find Anderson at the top of the box. His shot was blocked by Elez and went out for a corner. 

Hajduk had a free kick in the 57th minute, which was cleared by the Vitoria defense, and the next play was a corner or Hajduk. Krovinovic crossed into the Vitoria keeper's hands. 

Elez blocked Anderson's attempt a minute later, going out for a Vitoria corner, and was deflected out for another corner. 

Colina was subbed off for Biuk in the 62nd minute. 

Hajduk's best chance of the second half came in the 69th minute - Biuk crossed into the box from the left wing, which was a second too quick for Livaja.

Hajduk had a quick counter in the 70th minute after a few dangerous Vitorira attacks.

Jota shot near post in the 72nd minute. 

Dambrauskas decided to play defensively from the 73rd minute, adding an extra stopper. Awaziem came on for Sahiti. 

Good news for Hajduk came in the 78th minute - Tiago Silva was shown his second yellow card and sent off, forcing Vitoria to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. 

Krovinovic shot at the keeper in the 83rd minute and Jota had a chance for Vitoria in the next play. 

Mikanovic and Vukovic were subbed off for Lovrencsics and Atanasov in the 86th minute. 

Biuk had a shot on goal in the 88th minute but hit near post and was ultimately called offside. Four minutes of stoppage time were added. Vitoria had a corner in the final seconds, but could not score.

Hajduk thus advanced to the Conference League play-off against Villarreal!

Post-match interview

Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas said that they expected a tough game.

"We didn't have the control we wanted in the first half; the second half was better. We are happy that we passed, but I am not the happiest coach because of how we played, but I am happy that we passed," he said. 

"We knew the match would be difficult. We have experienced players, but we don't have an experienced team. This group of players is playing together in Europe for the first time. Vitoria is a good, young team."

Villarreal is next

"This club has tradition, history, and great victories in the past. We don't go to Spain to take pictures with Villarreal players and post them on Instagram. Let's go there and compete; I believe we are not without chances.

Before that, Hajduk will face Dinamo.

"We are Hajduk; we are playing the biggest derby on Saturday. We have 23 players who are registered; I believe that every player will be looking forward to the next game. I think that now is a very good time to be a Hajduk player, first Dinamo, and then playing in Spain."

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

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Dinamo Books Champions League Play-off Spot against Bodø/Glimt!

August 9, 2022 - Dinamo Zagreb advances to the Champions League play-off round against Bodø/Glimt! The Zagreb club won 4:2 at Maksimir on Tuesday night against Ludogorets (6-3 aggregate).

Dinamo played the second leg of the Champions League 3rd round qualifiers at Maksimir Stadium against Bulgarian club Ludogorets. Dinamo won 2:1 away in the first leg. Estimates are that around 15,000 fans were at Maksimir on Tuesday night. 

By advancing past Ludogorets, Dinamo secures their spot in the Champions League play-off against Norwegian club FK Bodo/Glimt. And that's not all - securing at least the Europa League group stage means 7.17 million euros in Dinamo's bank account. 

Lineups

Dinamo: Livaković - Ristovski, B. Šutalo, Perić, Ljubičić - Mišić, Ademi - Špikić, Baturina, Oršić - Drmić

Ludogorets: Sluga - Cicinho, Verdon, Plastun, Nedyalkov - Yankov, Piotrowski, Cafunama - Rick, Igor Thago, Despodov

Match report

Dinamo's first good opportunity came already in the 4th minute. Ademi shot from 13 meters, but Croatian goalkeeper Simon Sluga defended for Ludogorets, resulting in a corner for Dinamo.

But it didn't take long for Dinamo to get comfortable. Josip Drmić scored with a header in the 12th minute for 1:0. 

A sense of calm swept over Dinamo after Jankov was sent off with his second yellow card in the 18th minute, forcing Ludogorets to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. And not even 10 minutes later? Dinamo was awarded a penalty when Nedjalkov clipped Špikić from behind. Oršić scored for 2:0 in the 27th minute. 

Ludogorets was mostly helpless for the remainder of the first half, with Dinamo pressing and using their extra-player advantage to tire out the Bulgarian club. And then Dinamo did it again - Oršić dribbed through the Ludogorets defense and nailed the far post for 3:0 Dinamo with just a minute to go in the first half. 

Ludogorets reduced the score to 3:1 when Despodov scored in stoppage time. It was 3:1 for Dinamo at the half.

The second half started with changes for Dinamo. Mišić, Ristovski and Baturina were subbed off and Ivanušec, Gojak and Moharrami entered the match. 

A penalty was awarded to Ludogorets in the 49th minute, and Despodov scored again to bring the result to 3:2. 

Drmić was subbed off in the 70th minute, and Petković entered the match. 

Another blow for the Bulgarian club came in the 73rd minute. Rick received his second yellow card for a foul on Spikic and was sent off, forcing Ludogorets to play with two men down. 

And then a chance for Dinamo's 4th goal came in the 84th minute when a penalty was called for Dinamo. Petkovic scored for 4:2 and Ludogorets received yet another red card, bringing them down 8 players to finish the match! 

And the red cards didn't stop for Ludogorets there - the president of the club was sent into the tunnel in the 88th minute! 

The ref added 5 minutes of stoppage time, in which neither team scored. Dinamo thus won 4:2 with a 6-3 aggregate and advances to the Champions League play-off against Norwegian club Bodo/Glimt! 

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

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Croatian Clubs Learn First Champions League and Conference League Opponents

June 15, 2022 - Croatian clubs have learned their opponents in the upcoming Champions League and Conference League season. A look at what Dinamo, Hajduk, Osijek, and Rijeka have in store. 

In the second qualifying round of the Champions League, Croatian football champion Dinamo will play against the winner of the first qualifying round between North Macedonian club Shkupi and Lincoln Red Imps from Gibraltar. The draw was held in Nyon on Wednesday. 

Dinamo will host the first match, which will take place on July 19 or 20. The return match will be played on July 26 or 27. Dinamo thus avoided the Swiss champion Zurich and Slovan from Bratislava.

Dinamo will be the leader through all preliminary rounds. If they are successful in the second qualifying round, they are automatically guaranteed to play in the Conference League group stage, while entering the Champions League play-offs guarantees them the Europa League group stage. 

Later in the day, Osijek and Rijeka found out their rivals in the second qualifying round of the Conference League, while Hajduk will join the competition in the third qualifying round.

Osijek will play against Kyzylzhar from Kazakhstan, while Rijeka will play against the Swedish Djurgarden in the 2nd qualifying round of the Conference League.

The first matches will be played on Thursday, July 21, and the return matches one week later, on July 28.

This means that Osijek will play the first game in Kazakhstan, and play the return match at City Garden a week later, while Rijeka will play the first game at Rujevica.

The Kazakh championship is underway, and Osijek's rival is currently in 11th place. The Swedish Championship is also underway and Djurgarden is currently in fourth place.

Hajduk Split will start the competition in the 3rd qualifying round and learn their opponent only in July. Hajduk gathered for their first preseason training today. 

Coach Valdas Dambrauskas answered questions from numerous media representatives who came to see Hajduk at the training session held at Poljud Stadium.

"We did a good job last season, but we have to prepare for the future. Yes, we play for trophies, we play to make people happy and to have reasons to celebrate, but from today we have to talk about the next games, training, and meetings. What we have done is a part of the past. It is important for the club, but it remains in the past. We need to focus on the new season and new challenges and prepare to be in the best position to win," said Dambrauskas 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Monday, 13 June 2022

Early Luka Modrić Penalty Gives Croatia First-Ever Win against France!

June 13, 2022 - Croatia finally beats France in their 10th meeting on Monday night, winning in the 4th round of Nations League at Stade de France in Paris. An early Luka Modrić penalty gave Croatia their first-ever victory against France. 

The Croatia national team met France in the 4th round of the Nations League at Stade de France in Paris on Monday. It was Croatia's 5th time playing at the famous French stadium. 

Going into this match, Denmark lead the group with six points, Austria and Croatia had four points each, while France sat at the bottom with two points. France needed a win tonight to have any hope of getting out of the group and avoid relegation in the Nations League. 

Before this match, Croatia recorded six defeats and three draws in nine matches against the current world champion France, with a goal difference of 9-20.

Lineups

France: Maignan - Koundé, Konaté, Kimpembe, Digne - Kamara, Guendouzi, Rabiot - Nkunku, Mbappé, Benzema

Croatia: Ivušić - Stanišić, Erlić, Šutalo, Juranović - Brozović, Modrić, Kovačić - Pašalić, Budimir, Brekalo

Match Report 

Croatia had their first corner of the match in the 3rd minute after a nice attack into France's half. Budimir fell in the box during the play which forced the ref to look at VAR for a penalty check. The ref called a penalty for Croatia which Luka Modrić scored for 0:1 Croatia in the 5th minute!

Mbappé had a shot on target which Ivusic saved Tchouameni.

France picked up the intensity in the 12th minute, testing Croatia's defense in the box, but the center backs cleared any danger. Croatia had a counter moments later which saw France's keeper and Budimir clash just outside of the box. Croatia was awarded a free kick which Modric hit at the keeper.

It was a match of fouls called for Croatia, with Brekalo elbowed in the nose in the 18th minute. Fortunately, he was well enough to continue the match. 

Mbappé was dangerous again in the 22nd minute, though Croatia managed to stop him before he got a shot off. 

France danced around Croatia's half for the next few minutes until Brozovic fouled to stop the play.  Nkunku had an excellent chance in the 28th minute which went just wide of Croatia's goal. 

Croatia finally regained possession and moved into France's half in the 30th minute. Juranovic crossed to Budimir in the box a minute later which went off his head back into the play. 

A quick Croatia counter in the 34th minute saw Juranovic play Budimir in the box which the France keeper got to first. Croatia denied Mbappe and Benzema from getting a shot off in the following play.

Juranovic found Budimir again in a similar play in the next few minutes. Budimir shot near post which went out for a Croatia corner. 

France calmly held possession for the next few minutes, but a Croatia counter in the 43rd minute got them back in the game. Croatia's defense remained solid in the back to keep them ahead before the half. France even hit the near post net a minute before the half and headed over the goal! The match was 0:1 for Croatia at halftime. 

France made two changes at halftime - Pavard and Tchouameni came on for Konude and Kamara. 

France had their first dangerous attack in the 46th minute. Mbappe dribbled to the goal line and crossed into the box which the Croatia defense cleared with a header. Tchouameni shot at Ivusic a minute later. 

Budimir was one-on-one with the France keeper in the 49th minute and shot over the crossbar.

Benzema dribbled through the defense in the 53rd minute but Croatia was able to stop the play. Mbappe shot in the 54th minute which went wide of the goal.

Luka found Juranovic on the left wing in the 57th minute. The France defender headed it back which Juranovic attacked and played back to Pasalic who couldn't quite get a shot off. 

Ivusic made an incredible save with his foot to stop Mbappe from scoring in the 60th minute. The ball went out for a corner and Croatia cleared the play. 

Dalic subbed off Pasalic for Majer in the 64th minute.

France was hungry for a goal in the following 5 minutes with a few threatening plays in Croatia's box. Pavard's shot was blocked by the Croatia defense. Chaos in the penalty area ended thanks to Sutalo who found Ivusic and stopped the play. 

Brekalo found Majer at the top of the box in the 71st minute which was saved by the France keeper. Budimir came out for Kramaric and Brekalo for Vlasic in the 73rd minute. France subbed on Coman for Nkunku.

Coman dribbled to the goal line for a France corner in the 74th minute. Mbappe's shot was saved by Ivusic.

A dangerous free kick for France was taken by Mbappe in the 77th minute and went over the goal. 

Griezmann was subbed on in the 80th minute. Mbappe fouled Erlic moments later.  France did not leave Croatia's half. 

A quick counter for Croatia came in the 83rd minute but France was quick to regain possession. Young Bayern defender Josip Stanisic was absolutely brilliant on the right side to stop Coman. 

Rabiot shot over the goal in the 86th minute. Croatia was playing defense for most of the second half. 

Croatia finally regained possession in the 87th minute. Vlasic shot at the keeper. 

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time. Croatia played calmly in the remaining minutes but France picked up the intensity to get a goal. A dangerous chance in the final seconds just went wide of the goal. Konate headed over the goal in the final second. The ref blew the final whistle and Croatia recorded their first-ever win against France! 

Croatia continues their Nations League campaign in September against Denmark at home and Austria away. 

For more, check out our sports section.

Monday, 6 June 2022

UEFA Nations League: Croatia and France Draw at Poljud (1:1)

June 6, 2022 - Croatia and France draw at Poljud in the 2nd round of the UEFA Nations League at Poljud on Monday. 

Croatia and France met for the 2nd round of the Nations League on Monday at Poljud Stadium in Split. Croatia opened this year's Nations League with a shock 0:3 defeat to Austria in Osijek. France also lost their opening match against Denmark 1:2. 

Both Croatia and France were weakened due to injuries. Croatia was without Ivan Perišič, Marko Livaja, Joško Gvardiol, and Petar Musa. For France, Mbappe, Benzema, Kante, and Coman did not properly train with the team last night. Croatia, however, has yet to beat France. 

As coach Zlatko Dalić said at the press conference last night, France even without their usual stars is still France - and even their B team is a force to be reckoned with. 

Tonight is also Croatia captain Luka Modrić's 150th appearance for the Croatia national team. He made his debut on March 1, 2006, in Croatia's 3:2 victory against Argentina. Luka has scored 21 goals in 149 games so far, participated in three World Cups and four European Championships, and has been the team captain since 2016.

Lineups

Croatia: Livaković, Juranović, Erlić, Vida, Barišić, Brozović, Kovačić, Modrić, Majer, Brekalo, Budimir

France: Maignan, Pavard, Saliba, Kimpembe, Digne, Guendouzi, Tchouaméni, Diaby, Rabiot, Nkunku, Ben Yedder

Match Report

Croatia maintained possession for the first five minutes of the match, with a few potential attacks in the penalty area. Croatia's first corner came in the 6th minute. Luka played short to Brekalo, who played back to Luka and then Majer for a shot off target. 

France picked up the pace in the next 5 minutes and had their first corner in the 10th minute. 

Juranović headed out a close encounter for France for their second corner of the match in the 12th minute. Kovačić played Budimir into the penalty spot the minute after which was cleared by the France defense. 

Croatia's defense was solid tonight in comparison to the debacle last weekend in Osijek. Calm, collected, and without any mishaps so far. 

Croatia's best chance of the match came in the 18th minute - Kovačić played a brilliant through ball to Budimir who shot near post forcing a tricky save for the France keeper. The ball went out for a corner. 

France had another chance in the 23rd minute which was shot wide. 

A minute later a breakaway for Kovačić saw him fouled outside the box. The ref decided to play advantage for Croatia instead, and France won back possession. 

Lovro Majer was fouled in France's half which the ref did not call. France then pushed up the pitch and scored an offside goal in the 31st minute. 

Croatia was awarded a free kick in the 33rd minute but Vida was offside.  

Livakovic made a brilliant save after Vida let Diaby get a shot off in the 39th minute - and another save moments after that. France had another corner in the 40th minute and another two corners three minutes later. Croatia's defense had no problem clearing the play. 

One minute of stoppage time was added to the first half. The match was 0:0. 

The second half started without any substitutions. 

Lovro Majer sent a stunning pass through the France defense, which found Ante Budimir's head, but the ball went wide of the goal. 

But it was France to score first. Rabiot made it 0:1 in the 52nd minute. 

Croatia moved the ball nicely into France's half in the 57th minute and was dangerous in front of the France keeper but could not get a shot off.  

Juranović found Budimir at the top of the box and played it back to Brozovic who couldn't find his footing to shoot. 

France subbed off Ben Yedder for Griezmann, and Kamara for Tchouameni. For Croatia, Majer came off for Pasalic and Brekalo for Orsic. 

Budimir was fouled just outside the box in the 63rd minute which the ref allowed them to play on. 

Dalic subbed off Budimir for Kramaric in the 68th minute.

Luka had a great chance in the 70th minute. He cut back to his left foot to shoot on target, forcing the France keeper to make a diving save.  

Livakovic made a brilliant save in the 75th minute to ensure the match stayed 0:1.

Luka Modric was subbed off for Luka Sucic and Mateo Kovacic for Nikola Vlasic in the 78th minute. 

Croatia had another chance in the 80th minute which was ultimately called for a penalty thanks to VAR. Kramaric made it 1:1 in the 82nd minute!

Vlasic shot on target in the 86th minute forcing the ball out for a corner. A Croatia mishap in the defense almost cost them the match two minutes later, but Griezmann shot wide of an empty goal. 

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time to the match in which neither team was able to score - though Sucic had a great chance. The match ended 1:1. 

Croatia plays Denmark next in Copenhagen on Friday, June 10. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Friday, 3 June 2022

Croatia Nations League Campaign Kicks Off with Shock Defeat to Austria (0:3)

June 3, 2022 - A troubling display in Osijek tonight as the Croatia Nations League campaign kicks off with a 0:3 defeat to Austria.

The Croatia-Austria match was the first in a series of four UEFA Nations League matches the national team will play in 11 days this month. 

On paper, Austria was the easiest opponent for Croatia in this year's Nations League edition, which will serve as preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Croatia was after three points at City Garden tonight, as the next three matches will be even tougher to win points. 

Tonight's match was also the final for the national team at City Garden, as the new Pampas stadium will be used in Osijek from next year.

Lineups

Austria: Lindner - Danso, Trauner, Wöber - Lainer, Laimer, Schlager, Weimann - Sabitzer - Arnautović, Onisiwo

Croatia: Ivušić - Juranović, Pongračić, Ćaleta-Car, Sosa - Brozović, Kovačić, Pašalić - Majer, Kramarić, Brekalo

Recall, Croatia was without Perišić, Gvardiol, Musa, and Livaja, while Luka Modrić will get some rest in this match after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.

Recap

Croatia had their first chance of the match already in the 2nd minute. Brekalo found Pasalic in the penalty area. In the 8th minute, Majer found Kramaric on the far post and Lainer's reaction nearly caused an own goal. 

Kramaric's shot was blocked in the 14th minute after which Brozovic also had a chance. Croatia was hungry for an early goal. 

Croatia's best chance so far came in the 18th minute. Brekalo again found Pasalic running into the box who missed with his head. 

Pasalic had another chance in front of the goal from a corner in the 21st minute, and Austria had a chance just wide of the goal moments later.

Another chance for Croatia in the 25th minute - Brozovic played the Austria defense to find Pasalic open in the box who shot a second too late. 

Kovacic had the first shot on target in the 28th minute, which was pushed out by the Austria keeper for a corner. Kramaric shot at the keeper in the 31st which went out for another corner. 

Sosa lost the ball in the defense giving Arnautovic a shot on goal, which he luckily hit over. But Austria got their goal in the end - Arnautovic scored for 0:1 in the 41st minute. 

Majer hit the near post for a corner in the 44th minute. The first half ended 0:1 for Austria. 

Borna Barisic went on for Borna Sosa at the start of the second half. 

Croatia came out motivated at the start of the second half. Brekalo and Majer found Pasalic who had a chance in front of the goal in the 47th minute, after which Brozovic missed a chance. 

Ivusic brilliantly defended an Austria shot, though Austria caught the Croatia defense asleep shortly after. Gregoritsch calmly put the ball in the back of the net for 0:2 in the 53rd minute - and in the 57th minute, Austria made it 0:3. 

Dalic subbed off Kramaric, Majer, and Pasalic for Modrić, Budimir, and Vlasic a minute later.

Croatia's shaky defense and inability to find the back of the net did not make for a pleasant atmosphere at City Garden. 

Kovacic came off for Orsic in the 70th minute.

Croatia was without any solid chances in the second half and was lucky that Austria didn't increase their lead. 

The ref added 3 minutes of stoppage time, but the match ended 0:3 for Austria. 

Croatia will welcome France on Monday in Split, followed by the first two away games in Group 1 - on June 10 in Denmark and on June 13 in France. All matches are played at 20:45.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Page 1 of 11

Search