Hajduk Split’s U-19 squad rattled off a HUGE win Friday night in Switzerland; scoring three 2nd half goals to defeat AC Milan and book their ticket to the UEFA Youth League Final. Think of this tournament as the Champions League, but for U-19 teams across Europe.
Hajduk have now defeated Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan on their way to the Final, where they will meet Dutch club AZ on Monday. 12PM (ET) kickoff.
After a scoreless 1st half, Hajduk turned on the jets with a seal-breaking goal from 18 year-old Jere Vrcić in the 51′, who make a wonderful run to th back post to slam home a goal with a sharp pass across the box. Hajduk kept the pressure on and added a huge second goal 18 minutes later. Rokas Pukštas flew in to head home a corner to make it 2-0 Hajduk. Pukštas was born in Oklahoma to Lithuanian parents. He has already played for the Barcelona academy and went on trial at Manchester United. He currently plays for the United States U-20 squad and has scored four goals for Hajduk’s senior squad this season in 15 appearances.
Šimun Hrgović bagged a third Hajduk goal in the 76′ coming off a Milan defensive blunder. He would steal the ball and ‘meg’ the Italian keeper to make it 3-0 Hajduk. The ‘Bili’ would concede an 83′ goal to Milan where keeper, Borna Buljan, would admit himself he needed to do better on the save attempt. Nonetheless, a huge, huge win for Hajduk.
10,000 Splićani were reported to drive up to Geneva, Switzerland for this match. Rumors across Croatian websites are saying that the number can double for the Final on Monday. It will be Hajduk versus AZ for the UEFA Youth League crown! AZ defeated Sporting Lisbon on penalties in the other semifinal.
This team embodies the ZDS spirit. They will win it all.
Hajduk’s championahip match vs AZ Alkmaar is tomorrow at 12:00 pm EST
Televised live at uefa.tv.
The team is very well coached by Budimir (no, not the lowly skilled Budimir who played in the last World Cup).
Once we went up 1-0 against Man City two rounds ago, it was frustrating to watch the final 60 minutes of the game playing bunker ball and rarely passing midfield, but the tactic won the game.
I like that he didn’t sit back on the leads in their past two games as Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan were nowhere as good as Man City.
His substitutions make sense and knows the strengths and weakness of his players. Surprising to see that most of his resume is coaching youth teams.
Pukštas dad is Lithuanian
Any prospects on this hajduk team that could some day play for the nt?
Some of them are just in this team buddy.
Watched the match live on Arena Sport 1and there was about 5 maybe 6 thousand Hajduk supporters. There must have been 30 flares and smoke bombs activated during the match. Not sure if UEFA will fine Hajduk for this ? luckily no flares were thrown on the field. Not sure what would have happened if Hajduk was losing ?
Pukstas is a top player, pity that he is American. Brajkovic was poor in the first half but had a superb second half. He prefers playing on the left wing but moved to the right wing in the second half and excelled in that position. Hajduk is well coached and has a very strong defence and plays on counter attacks. I expect AZ Alkamar to have more possession and Hajduk once again to play on counter attacks.
If pukstas has a legit shot at the repka I’m sure pletikosa and others are working on him coming over
He won’t have a fan base like hajduk or Croatia ever
And seriously when the states make a semi we can talk
No more Donovan vs rakitic arguments or whatever it was a few years ago on here;)
He does not have any links to Croatia in terms of parents or grandparents. Pukstas has been playing in Croatia for two years.
Fifa rule is that you need to play in a country for 5 years.
If I understand the rules correctly, he can’t ever play for us because he’s already played for the USA (after playing on their youth team) and is only allowed to switch to the senior team of countries to which he already has citizenship for (which would be USA or Lithuania).
He had to have already had Croatian citizenship at the time of the USA callup in order for him to switch to us in the future.
Since he has Lithuanian citizenship at the time of the USA youth team callup, he can still opt to switch to Lithuania.
I think this was the rationale given when we tried to cap Gregory Sertich (who had already played for France’s U20 team when Niko Kovac got him Croatian citizenship afterward).
Watched the entire game once I got home from work. I don’t how they were able to win. They were out shot and out possessed. They had no mid-field to control the ball and calm the game down. It was always a long ball up or a quick counter-attack from an AC Milan mistake. What they did have was a strong defense, awesome goalie, everyone hustled, they’re fast, and clinical finishing. AC Milan had control of the ball for most of the game. They just couldn’t finish. And Milan had that one big dumb looking player who’s noticeably bigger than everyone else (cause they failed grade eight 3 times) and always looks confused and angry for some reason. Coubis I think his name was. Put one of our players in a headlock near the end of the game (and our player got carded. WTF?). I guess he forgot what game he was playing. I hope they’re able to win the final on Monday. Some awesome players to look forward to on Hajduk.
OMG. I laughed so Hard. Love love your analogy.
Milan were toothless.
They never really threatened.
I watches the game. Think you’re giving Milan a bit too much credit.