Gabrijel Boban shocked Dinamo Zagreb on Friday evening when he scored the opening goal of the match in the first 17 seconds.
Zagreb showed no fear against the mighty Dinamo and it paid off at first. Through their wide open play, they created several chances – chances that maybe should have been finished off with a goal.
But their open play also gave Dinamo the opportunity to cut through the mid field into the final third of the pitch.
The lead, though lasting only 10 minutes, was the biggest moment in Zagreb’s season so far.
Boban has scored six of Zagreb’s 11 goals this season, equating to over half of their total offense as his club remains winless after 13 matches.
But Boban was only able to celebrate once. He certainly wasn’t able to celebrate after the 90 minute because Dinamo answered his first minute goal with four goals of its own.
Junior Fernades scored the first of his two goals that evening in the 11th minute. It was a crushing blow for the Poets, but was to be expected by the footballing world.
Fernandes struck again in the 34th minute, giving Dinamo the lead which they would build on throughout the match.
Armin Hodžić scored his league-leading ninth goal in the 56th minute, and Angelo Henriquez netted his sixth goal in the 68th minute.
Dinamo is continuing their undefeated season from last year into this one, and have yet to see a loss.
But that hans’t kept Hajduk Split from keeping place with the Croatian champs.
Hajduk defeated Slaven Belupo in Koprivnicia on Sunday with a score of 1-0 in a near-full stadium.
Slaven suffered their first home defeat in ten matches at the hands of a goal from Tino-Sven Sušić in the 42nd minute. Slaven’s last home defeat was also at the hands of Hajduk Split.
Hajduk goalkeeper Lovre Kalinić recorded another shutout and broke the Hajduk Split record for consecutive minutes without giving up a goal. Kalinić has gone 721 minutes without being scored on.
He passed up former record holder Zoran Slavica who recorded 711 minutes without conceding a goal in 1992.
The Bili finished the match with 10 men, but finished strong and hold second place, only one point below Dinamo Zagreb.
HNK Rijeka had their work cut out for them against NK Lokomotiva on Saturday, but Rijeka pulled it off at home, scoring two goals in the second half to take three points with a 2-1 victory.
Dino Perić scored in the 23rd minute to put the Lokosi up, but the second half was commanded by Rijeka and the Lokosi saw their lead dwindle until they were no longer on top.
Lokomotiva have drastically underperformed in the season. Their offense-heavy roster of players have struggled to find the back of the net under the control of Ante Čačič. Sreten Čuk was able to get a win in his first match as coach, but still lacked the ability to score goals against Rijeka.
Mate Malaš tied the match for Rijeka in the 48th minute, but Marko Lešković had the honor of taking all three points in the 71st minute with a goal of his own.
Rijeka sit only two points behind Dinamo in third place.
New Istra 1961 coach Robert Rubačić debuted with a victory at Aldo Drosina on Saturday, beating NK Osijek 2-1.
Osijek has been struggling this season, obtaining only nine points throughout the season thus far. The match in Pula was made worse that starting goalkeeper Zvonimir Mikulić was absent due to injury.
The match lacked a lot of what makes football beautiful but Osijek took the lead in the 58th minute due to Goran Roce’s ability to finish a penalty kick. The lead was taken away 20 minutes later by a goal scored by Muamer Svraka in the 63rd minute and newcomer Abdelhakim Bouhna scored the game winner for Istra in the 78th minute.
Inter Zaprešić continue to impress the league and forced a 1-1 draw against RNK Split in Split on Sunday.
It was one of the rare occasions where Inter did not suffer defeat during a match that Ilja Nestorovski did not score.
Instead, the Inter goal was scored by Silvije Begić in the 79th minute.
It looked as if Inter could pull a win away from home, but Draen Bagarić scored in the 83rd minute to tie the match at one goal a piece.
BONUS 2.HNL COVERAGE
NK Zadar lost a tough match on Saturday in Vinkovci against HNK Cibalia.
Cibalia took an early lead with a goal in the third minute, but Zadar were quickly able to answer with a goal scored in the 10th minute by Vlatko Blažević.
The match remained tied at one goal a piece, but Cibalia were able to steal a win in the 89th minute thanks to a goal from Mario Tadić.
Zadar remain in ninth place, two points clear of the relegation zone.