Results for Feb. 21-23, 2013
NK HRVATSKI DRAGOVOLJAC 0 – 1 GNK DINAMO ZAGREB
Dinamo paid a visit to Kranjčevićeva to face Hrvatski Dragovoljac on their on-loan pitch across town, and struggled against the last-place team.
Dinamo dominated in possession, but was unable to score in the first 45 minutes of the match, leaving the fans and coaching staff extremely frustrated.
“I do not know what to say because I am terribly disappointed with his team. That’s not what I want, and not what our fans deserve. Dragovoljac played without a large number of first team, and the way some of our players played, they do not deserve a Dinamo jersey,” said Dinamo coach Zoran Mamić after the match.
But where Dinamo’s offense failed, their defense prevailed. They stopped The Volunteer’s chances on goal, and put Dinamo up for the win in the 63rd minute.
It was the young Alen Halilović who sent in a ball that was on the money and mat the head of defender and team captain, Big Joe Simunić, who gracefully headed the ball into an unreachable corner of the net that Ivan Čović could not save.
Halilović had chance to get himself on the score sheet a second time, and took a shot from 10 yards out, but scuffed it and the ball rolled into the arms of Čović.
Dinamo’s lackluster offense is not 100 percent to blame for their inability to score. Dragovoljac goalkeeper, Ivan Čović made several spectacular saves that kept the game close.
Jerko Leko struck a blast from the top of the penalty box in the opening minutes, but Čović’s reaction was was too quick and made the save.
El Arbi Hillel Soudani had a chance from point-blank range and was unable to finish.
Junior Fernandez struck on goal just before the half, but hit the post with his attempt.
In the end, Dinamo was relieved with the three points, but the struggle left a bitter taste in the mouths of all who watched it.
The Modri have a tough test ahead of them on Wednesday as they travel to Kantrida to face Rijeka in a make up game.
NK LOKOMOTIVA 0 – 2 HNK HAJDUK SPLIT
Lokomotiva took the field against Hajduk Split this weekend on a cold and rainy night at Maksimir stadium.
The Lokosi, despite having an impressive lineup of goal scorers, were unable to break the tough Hajduk defense.
Neither club showed much dominance in the first half, but Hajduk did manage to take the lead early on.
Filip Bradarić sent in a spectacular aerial ball that stuck to the foot of Franko Andrijašević like glue. Andrijašević calmly tapped the ball passed Oliver Zelenika, who was too slow to react in time to make the save.
Hajduk had a well-deserved lead heading into the half, but soon doubled it after the restart of the match.
Anton Maglica curled one in from the top of the penalty area to put Hajduk up by two.
Maglica received the ball and took it to the 18-yard box and unleashed a shot that Zelenika could not save even with his full extension dive.
The Lokosi have struggled against Hajduk in the recent seasons, going winless against them in their last seven matches in all competitions. They are also slipping further away from the third European spot on the table, resting behind Rijeka by two points and one game.
Hajduk coach, Igor Tudor had the utmost respect for the Lokosi, but was confident that they would not be a problem for his Bili.
“Lokomotiva is a great young team. The players they have speak volumes about the quality of the team,” Tudor said. “These are all talented young players who have the great advantage of playing in the first division. They pushed well, they beat out Istra, which is not easy. The team that they can beat anyone… but not everyone.”
HNK RIJEKA 1 – 0 NK OSIJEK
Rijeka bounced back with a narrow and lackluster win against struggling Osijek after a very disappointing performance against Zadar last week.
Leon Benko scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot in the 36th minutes.
The penalty was awarded after the referee called a phantom “foul” in the box committed against Andrej Kramarić. Further replay revealed that there was no contact between Kramarić and Osijek keeper, Zvonimir Mikulić. Kramarić tumbled to the ground easily, and was awarded the penalty shot.
Benko stepped up to take and and buried it in the back of the net. Mikulić had zero chance of stopping the thunderous strike.
Rijeka played with little emotion in the second half. After Osijek turned up the pressure, Rijeka hung back and watched the Osijek players make runs and create scoring chances.
Osijek nearly scored several times, but were just unable to finish the play and make it count.
It was a rare site to see Rijeka out played in their own stadium, especially by a team such as Osijek, who has not defeated Rijeka in a league match since 2010, which just so happened to be played at Kantrida.
Rijeka is of course pleased with the victory, but the way it was achieved was a disappointment in itself.
Despite the loss, Rijeka is still among the top three clubs in the league, and will soon be possibly be playing in the top stadium in the league as well.
It is rumored that Rijeka will be replacing Stadion Kantrida by building a new on in its place.
Rijeka president Damir Misković stated that “a man who designed/worked on the stadium for Italian club Juventus will probably work on the design for a new Stadion Kantrida.”
Kantrida just recently received a light facelift that included new floodlights and a jumbo tron screen that is among the 10 biggest in Europe.
NK SLAVEN BELUPO 0 – 2 NK ISTRA 1961
Istra came out with a well-deserved victory, but left Slaven with a very familiar feeling of defeat.
A double from Tomislav Havojić was just what Istra needed to go up two goals in the match.
Havojić scored right off the bat in the fifth minute of the game, and then struck again from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute.
The soaked and muddy terrain at Gradanski Stadium in Koprivnica did not help the match look graceful, but both clubs were determined to get three points.
Unfortunately for Slaven, and it’s coach, Mladen Frančić, they came out unsuccessful, and that would spell the end for Frančič’s reign.
Frančić, who took over the club in September and vowed to turn it around, was fired after the match against Istra.
Though the club played significantly better than they did prior to Frančić’s takeover, winning five matches and drawing eight, as opposed to going winless in 14 of their last 16 before Frančić arrived, it just wasn’t enough.
Former Rijeka head coach, Elvis Scoria, will be piloting the club effective immediately.
RNK SPLIT 3 – 1 NK ZADAR
Split’s new coach, Ivan Matić, had a successful debut at the help of RNK Split this weekend, defeating Zadar 3-1 at Youth Park.
Split’s offense was firing on all cylinders and scored immediately after the opening whistle.
Tomislav Glumac scored the game’s first goal in the second minute of the match. His goal was quickly followed by Croatian international, Tomislav Dujmović in the 11th minute.
Split went up 3-0 in the second half when Drazen Bararić scored in the 50th minute.
Zadar was able to get on the score sheet and avoid a shut out with a last-ditch goal in the 65th minute scored by Josip Ivančić, but they had a big mountain to climb to make a come back, and had to eventually accept defeat.
Split are in fifth place, 11 points ahead of Zadar, who sit in seventh.