Written by dinamofan:), CSR HNL correspondent
Here are the results for Nov. 28th…
NK Istra 1961 [0 – 0] Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo missed a golden opportunity to extend their gap at the top of the Croatian table after they were held to a goalless draw by Istra 1961. Dinamo were without Robert Kovač, Miroslav Slepička, Ilija Sivonjić and Pedro Morales for the trip to Pula, so they gave a start to Sammir; with Andrej Kramarić supporting Mario Mandžukić in attack. Istra however proved difficult to breakdown and coped admirably as Dinamo struggled to make chances in the first half. Papadopoulos entered the game at half time but failed to improve things as Istra had the best opportunity from the penalty spot. However, Asim Sehić’s weak penalty was stopped by Butina. Istra, who were beaten 7-1 by Dinamo on the opening day of the season, have now picked up four points from three games under new coach Valdi Sumberac. Dinamo face Anderlecht in the Europa Liga at midweek and will hope to get Morales back as soon as possible. Elsewhere, ex-Dinamo defender Mirko Hrgović is due to once again be a free agent after being sacked by German Bundesliga 2 club Greunther Furth. The 30 year old is due for talks with the club over the termination of his three year contract this week.
Hajduk Split [1 – 0] NK Osijek
Hajduk showed their first signs of recovery at the weekend after bypassing a tough Osijek side at the Poljud. Hajduk coach Edy Reja was without Hrvoje Vejić and Srđjan Andrić so he finally turned to Marijan Buljat at right back, with Goran Rubil pushed into midfield. Marin Tomasov dropped out to be replaced by Mirko Oremus with Ahmad Sharbini playing the lone striker role. The first real chance fell to the visitors as Josip Knežević’s shot went inches past Subašić’s post. Further opportunities for Hajduk’s Ibričić and Ahmad Sharbini then came and went as the sides went in goalless at half time.
Reja immediately changed Tičinović in place of Oremus. The youngster immediately got in the action with a few sighters at Kardum’s goal. It was Senijad Ibričić who came to the fore however. First supplying a chance for Maloča before sealing the win from the penalty spot after Vedran Jugović had handled the ball with his hand on 85 minutes. Hajduk are now starting to climb the ladder and are just three points from Osijek in fourth. There is still a long way to go to catch Šibenik, but Reja’s team are making steps in the right direction. Osijek will be happy to see Karlo Primorac return to the action as a late substitute while Reja gave a first league appearance to Dario Jertec as a late substitute.
NK Zagreb [3 – 3] Slaven Belupo
This was the game of the day in HNL1 as NK Zagreb and new friend of CSR Igor Štimac pulled off a remarkable come back to draw 3-3 with Slaven Belupo. Belupo looked comfortable for much of the match and took the lead from the penalty spot with a Srebrenko Posavec strike. Defender Kara Rogulj got the second just before half time struck in a crowded penalty area. With Zagreb attempting to reduce the rears, space was left for Belupo to counter and they grabbed their third when Under 21 international Mateas Delić beat Zagreb keeper Marin Skender. With only 20 minutes remaining it appeared the game was over, but the rejuvenated Ivan Kristanović headed home on 74 minutes to set up an interesting last 10 minutes. Zagreb got their opening on 85 minutes when Kristanović headed down a Jethron long ball for Davor Piskor to score. It was then Jethon himself who grabbed the important morale boosting equalizing goal in the last minute of the match when he fired home from 16 meters. Zagreb remain six points adrift of fourth from bottom Međimurje, but have lost ground on Varteks whose victory took them up to 11th place.
NK Zagreb have already begun their search for reinforcements and are close to signing four foriegn players – two unnamed Brazilians and two players with the North Korean National Team. The club should also tie up the purchase of Krunoslav Lovrek when the Croatian league comes back from its winter break in February.
HNK Šibenik [2 – 0] Croatia Sesvete
Šibenik closed Dinamo Zagreb’s lead at the top of HNL1 to just three points after a comfortable win over relegation favorites Sesvete. With Ermin Zec returning from suspension, Šibenik were able to make light work of the match taking the lead 39 minutes in through Ivan Božić. With the January transfer window almost upon us, Zec was eager to add to his tally and recorded his eighth goal of the campaign on 84 minutes to seal the victory. Sesvete look all but doomed as ten points adrift of fourth from bottom Međimurje. Šibenik’s hope of Europa Liga football however still looks good. With one match to go until winter break, attentions will soon turn to find a replacement for Zec.
Cibalia Vinkovci [2 – 0] NK Zadar
Cibalia moved into third place after another solid performance against out of form NK Zadar. Branko Karačić’s men took the lead on 37 minutes when Josip Lukačević struck from 15 metres. Then a moment of significance in the second half when substitute Tomislav Jurić fired in a beautiful goal only minutes after coming on in the second half. Jurić was the young midfielder involved in the collision that resulted in Zadar’s Hrvoje Ćustić suffering a fatal head injury two years ago. It was only Jurić’s fifth match of the season and his first goal. By this stage, both sides were down to ten men after red cards for Šime Maruna and Edin Hušić. Cibalia continue to look good for a top four place whilst Zadar urgently need a victory to stop their slide down the table. Zadar have been fending off questions in midweek over allegations that last season’s match with Hajduk Split was fixed. Zadar disputed the claims pointing to Marin Ljubičić’s red card as a deciding factor in the game.
Lokomotiva [3 – 0] NK Rijeka
Lokomotiva showed their top flight credentials with an excellent 3-0 pounding of HNK Rijeka. Whilst Lokomotiva is brimming with youthful promise, it was a couple of old heads that stole the show. Former Borussia Monchengladbach defender Zeljko Sopić opened the scoring driving home a free kick for a much deserved lead. Nino Bule was then on hand to grab his eighth of the season in the second half turning home a cross by Bajto. Lokomotiva piled straight in from the kick off for a third and it came on 81 minutes when Alen Pamić turned passed his own keeper whilst trying to fend off Bule. Rijeka’s dismal afternoon got no better as Slovenian Nastja Čeh went for an early bath after a straight red for a bad challenge. Lokomotiva have now moved level on points with Rijeka in 9th place and are still looking good for survival. Rijeka however could be looking to overhaul the squad in the winter after failing to challenge for the top 5 in the first half of the campaign.
Karlovac [2 – 0] Međimurje
Karlovac put an immediate stop to their slide at midtable with an excellent 2-0 win over Međimurje. In form striker Enes Novičić got the opener when he followed in after Stefančić’s shot which was saved by Banović. That’s the way it stayed for a long period of the match until Ivan Latjman showed some real quality in the last minutes of the match to fire home a second. Igor Pamić’s men stay in sixth place, but have put some breathing space between themself and 7th place Hajduk Split who are attempting to chase them down. Međimurje are now the team positioned fourth from bottom who Zagreb and Istra 1961 are chasing for a return to the Prva Liga next season. However, with 20 goals already to their name this season, Međimurje can still be helpful of moving back into midtable.
Varteks Varaždin [2 – 1] Inter Zaprešić
Varteks recorded a crucial win over fellow strugglers Inter Zaprešić to move themselves six points clear of the relegation zone. However it was Zaprešić who drew first blood as Miroslav Sarić scored from the penalty spot. The lead lasted no more than a minute when Matija Smrekar showed his quality to equalize after being set up by Goran Mujanović. It stayed that way until midway through the second half when Smrekar was fouled by Tomislav Sarić. Miljenko Mumlek stepped up to the spot and dispatched the penalty with ease. Zaprešić welcomed back Matej Delač for the match who has spent a short time away with Chelsea upon recovering from illness.
Next Matches: Round 17
Friday, December 4th
NK Zagreb at Inter
Saturday, December 5th
Hajduk Split at Zadar
Karlovac at Croatia Sesvete
Istra at Lokomotiva
Cibalia at Slaven Belupo
Varteks at Rijeka
Šibenik at Osijek
Sunday, December 6th
Dinamo Zagreb at Međimurje