Another breathtaking round of Prva Liga football is in the books!
In one of the most entertaining matches of the season, Hajduk Split shocked Rijeka in the Adriatic Derby in dramatic fashion. The one-and-only Marko Livaja opened the scoreline for Hajduk in the 45th minute, slamming the ball into the roof of the net from the corner of the six-yard box. Hajduk’s lead did not last long, as Rijeka striker Josip Drmić answered in the 54th minute, sending a header past Hajduk goalkeeper Lovre Kalinić. Later in the second half, Robert Murić converted a penalty in the 79th minute to give Rijeka a 2-1 lead. Just as things were looking good for Rijeka, Hajduk were awarded a penalty on the other end of the field less than five minutes after Rijeka’s second goal. Marko Livaja slotted the penalty into the back of the net, scoring his second goal of the match. Seven minutes of stoppage time were added to the original 90, due to excessively long VAR checks. The added time worked in Hajduk’s favor, as Jan Mlakar found the back of the net in the 98th minute of play, silencing Rijeka’s Armada. Hajduk escaped with a 3-2 victory over their Adriatic rivals.
CroatianSports’ Man of the Match: Marko Livaja
Another contender for ‘match of the year’ was played out at Aldo Drosina between Istra and Šibenik. In-form Marin Jakoliš gave Šibenik the lead in the 38th minute with luck on his side, as his left-footed shot found the back of the net off a nasty deflection. Istra answered quickly, as left-back Luka Marin neatly finished a magnificent cross from 18 year-old Mateo Lisica. A clutch penalty save by Šibenik’s Lovre Rogić in the 59th minute led to his side’s second goal of the match, as Ivan Delić scored a rocket from the edge of the 18-yard box two minutes later. Ivan Delić scored his second goal of the match in the 72nd minute, finishing a messy play inside the box to give Šibenik a 3-1 lead. 19 year-old Dion Drena Bejlo sparked some hope for Istra in the 82nd minute, tapping in a poorly hit shot from the top of the box. Momentum came in handy for Istra, as Robert Mišković tied the match in the 87th minute with a 25-yard stunner. Dropping our jaws even more, Marin Jakoliš stunned Istra in the 97th minute, finding the back of the net off a free kick. Jakoliš’ second goal of the match gave Šibenik three crucial points.
CroatianSports’ Man of the Match: Marin Jakoliš
In the most highly anticipated matchup of the weekend, reigning champions Dinamo Zagreb drew the mighty Osijek in a very underwhelming match. Ivan Fiolić opened the scoreline early for Osijek in the 16th minute, finishing a breakaway chance with his left foot. Dinamo’s backline was completely exposed on the play. Despite holding possession of the ball for 80% of the match, Dinamo did not answer until the 80th minute, as Bruno Petković scored a remarkable header off a great set piece cross. Despite shooting the ball 21 times during the match, Dinamo were unable to score a second, and were held to a 1-1 draw at Maksimir.
CroatianSports’ Man of the Match: Bruno Petković
Gorica and Lokomotiva Zagreb played out an eventful draw in Velika Gorica on Saturday. 20 year-old Toni Fruk opened the scoreline for Gorica in the second minute of action, neatly prodding in a fast-break opportunity. Croatia U-21 international Jurica Pršir added another goal to the scoreboard for Gorica in the 24th minute with a magnificent diving header from inside the box. Lokomotiva made things interesting ten minutes later, as Ibrahim Aliyu finished a terrific cross from Ivan Milićević. Lokomotiva stuck again in the 60th minute, thanks to a terrific finish from former Croatia international Josip Pivarić. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, a solid result for both sides.
CroatianSports’ Man of the Match: Josip Pivarić
Hrvatski Dragovoljac found themseleves in the loss column again this weekend, falling short to an underachieving Slaven Belupo side. Antonio Bosec found the back of the net early for Slaven, curling in a shot from the top of the six yard box. HNL legend Ivan Krstanović calmly converted a penalty for Slaven seven minutes later, doubling his side’s lead within the first ten minutes of the match. Valentino Majstorović converted a penalty of his own for Dragovoljac in the 73rd minute, although it would not be enough for his side as Slaven escaped with a crucial 2-1 victory. Slaven and Dragovoljac are currently battling each other to avoid relegation into the Druga Liga.
CroatianSports’ Man of the Match: Antonio Bosec