For a split second, things were looking very shaky for Dinamo in their campaign for Prva Liga gold. Hajduk stunned them at Poljud, and Osijek sat only two points behind them in the league table. Dinamo went on to fire their manager, Zeljko Kopić, and replace him with the notorious Ante Čačić. Everything was falling apart for the club at the worst time possible.
However, this weekend could not have gone any better for Dinamo. On Saturday, Rijeka shocked the entire league by defeating Osijek 3-1 at home. The following day, Hajduk were held to a 0-0 draw against Slaven Belupo, a game they were expected to escape from with three points. On Sunday night, Dinamo capped off a fortunate weekend with a critical 1-0 victory over Gorica, thanks to an 85th minute finish from Arijan Ademi. Captain Ademi has been Dinamo’s hero as of late, scoring late game-winners against Rijeka and Gorica on away turf.
Despite it being their worst season in a while, Dinamo are hanging on to first-place by a thread. Hajduk, Osijek, and even Rijeka have all been presented a golden opportunity to take advantage of Dinamo’s inconsistencies and lift the league cup, but each side continues to choke against teams they are expected to beat with ease. For example, not a single player from Slaven’s squad would crack Hajduk’s XI. Yes, Livaja was suspended for the match, but Hajduk should easily take three points off the Farmaceuti at this point in the season. No excuses for Osijek either, who showed up to Rijeka with no offense at all.
Last year’s Dinamo squad would obliterate this year’s. Bruno Petković, Luka Ivanušec, and Dominik Livaković have all been surprisingly poor, and the club is still struggling to adjust to life without Lovro Majer and Joško Gvardiol. Arijan Ademi, Josip Šutalo, and Mislav Oršić have carried this squad on their backs this season. If Oršić had accepted Burnley’s offer, Dinamo would be in absolute shambles.
It’s been crystal clear all along: the team to make the least errors will lift the trophy in May.
On another note, 16 year-old Lovro Zvonarek became the youngest recorded captain in history on Sunday, as he captained Slaven Belupo to their 0-0 draw against Hajduk Split. Zvonarek is set to join Bayern Munich this summer and compete with their second team, following in the footsteps of Gabriel Vidović and Josip Stanišić. Croatia’s talent pool is beyond extraordinary!