The 2008-2009 Croatian Prva Liga season kicked off Sunday without a hitch. Newly promoted club, Croatia Sesvete, showed promise with a 1-1 draw versus NK Osijek in their first ever 1st League (Prva Liga) game. Sesvete will be playing their home games at Kamen Ingrad Stadium in Velika this season due to their usual stadium, Stadion SRC Sesvete, not meeting Croatian Prva Liga stadium requirements.
This requirement policy of minimum conditions having to be met for stadiums was brought upon due to NK Zadar player, Hrvoje Ćustić’s, freak accident last season at Stanovi Stadium in Zadar. Ćustić was running hard after a ball, got tangled up with an opposing player and went head first into a concrete retaining wall just 3 meters off the field. The player was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was put into an induced coma; only to be confirmed brain dead 4 days later.
Because of this tragic accident, 4 teams will not be playing at their hometown stadiums this season. Cibalia Vinkovci will be playing at Gradski Vrt in Osijek, Croatia Sesvete at Kamen Ingrad Stadium in Velika, NK Zagreb at Dinamo’s Maksimir Stadium and NK Zadar at Šibenik’s Šubićevac Stadium.
Here are the results for the first round of action:
Cibalia Vinkovci (0-0) Slaven Belupo
Croatia Sesvete (1-1) NK Osijek
Hajduk Split (1-0) NK Zadar
Inter Zaprešić (2-3) HNK Šibenik
Varteks Varaždin (2-1) NK Zagreb
Dinamo Zagreb (2-0) NK Rijeka
The league continues its games with the 2nd Round on August 3rd but not before Champion’s League and UEFA Cup action picks up again. In their first leg, Dinamo Zagreb take on Domžale in Slovenia on July 30th in second qualifying round play while Hajduk takes on Birkirkara in Malta and Slaven Belupo plays Marsaxlokk (Malta) in the second leg of the UEFA Cup 1st qualifying round. Hajduk and Slaven Belupo both have comfortable 4-0 aggregate leads on their competition and should move on.