Dinamo Zagreb faced a nearly impossible challenge on Tuesday evening when Juventes arrived at Maksimir for the clubs second Champions League match of the campaign. Mario Mandžukić and Marko Pjaca both returned to the pitch in Zagreb – albeit both by substitution – as the Italian giants gave the Modri a 4-0 thrashing.
It didn’t help that the revolving door of coaches is continuing to spin for Dinamo. After three consecutive losses (Osijek, Lyon, and Rijeka) coach Cico Krajnčar stepped down as Dinamo skipper. As of now, assistant coach Žljeko Šopić is in charge of the team, but will only be temporarily. But one silver lining came from the blowing defeat and that was the BBB were out in full force. For the first time in nearly six years, Maksimir was packed with the atmosphere it’s famous for.
The first goal came off a defensive blunder from Gordon Schildenfeld who failed to stop a through ball leaving goalkeeper Adrian Šemper out to dry.
Schildenfeld nearly made up for the mistake minutes later with an effort on goal, but the ball was denied by the cross bar, leaving Juve the opportunity to counter attack. Soon after, they made it 2-0, giving Dinamo no way back.
A third goal was scored by Paulo Dybala’s wonder strike from 25 yards out in the 57th minute and a fourth goal was scored to seal the deal by Dani Alves in the 85th minute. Alves’ shot came from a deflection on a free kick that Šemper could not handle, despite awkwardly getting his wrist on the ball and deflecting it into the net. The inexperienced 18-year-old goalkeeper has a lot left to learn and has struggled in four of his last five previous starts. Though, he managed to keep his second clean sheet of the season when Dinamo shut out NK Lokomotiva on Friday.
The Lokosi nearly came out with a point at Kranjčevićeva Friday evening, but Filip Benković scored a late game winner in the 85th minute to get Dinamo’s first league win since August 28. Dinamo remains in third place behind Osijek and Rijeka on the league table. They will face Hajduk Split on Sunday.
Hajduk Split made a statement Saturday against Cibalia with a 6-1 victory at Poljud. Five different goal scorers scored for the Bili throughout the 90 minutes including Ahmed Said, Franck Ohandza, Zvonimir Kozulj, Marko Futacs, and Jefferson. Two goals were scored by Ohandza and three goals came from Hajduk in a four-minute succession between the 84th and 88th minutes.
Goalkeeper Lovre Kalinić has pledged his allegiance to Hajduk this week by extending his contract to the year 2021. It is unlikely the 26-year-old goalkeeper will fulfill the full contract, but it gives Hajduk a safety net if he chooses to leave the club beforehand.
Hajduk remains in fourth place, only two points behind Dinamo Zagreb before the two clubs ace each other on Sunday at Maksimir.
Rijeka continue to lead the league table after a convincing 2-0 win in Split. It could have been worse for Split, but they were spared further embarrassment thanks to the efforts of their goalkeeper, Tomislav Duka.
Alexander Gorgon scored first in the 30th minute and Rijeka never looked back A dominant performance led to a second goal in the 45th minute from Franko Andrijašević. The two-goal lead was held for the second 45 minutes and Rijeka earned all three points to keep them leading the league.
A disappointing draw at home from Osijek ended the team’s four-match winning streak, but extended its unbeaten run to seven league matches.
Osijek could have kept within one point of Rijeka, but remain in second place, one point ahead of Dinamo.
Osijek held a 1-0 from the 76th minute thanks to a goal from Muzafer Ejupi. Aljoša Vojnović headed in a strong effort off a corner kick, but Vanja Iveša was there to punch it out. Unfortunately for Iveša, he punched in in the path of Ejupi’s boot, who smashed in the shot from close range.
But a catastrophic error from goalkeeper Zvonimir Mikulić lead to a 90th minute equalizer from Valentino Stepčić.
Slaven Belupo snapped a four-game losing streak with a 1-1 draw against Inter Zaprešić on Saturday, but still haven’t seen victory since July 23.
Inter went up 1-0 in the 11th minute with a goal from Ivan Blažević, but Slaven answered right back 10 minutes later with a goal from Selim Bouadla. The match was worthy of q 1-1 draw. Both teams played to an equal match that helped them both break losing streaks.