NK Varaždin has now recorded four victories in 29 matches this season; two of those victories have been against Dinamo Zagreb and now Hajduk Split. Not to mention, stealing a point from HNK Rijeka only last week.
Week 29 kicked off on a Tuesday this week, with the first match featuring a rare win for NK Istra 1961. Istra defeated NK Inter Zaprešić 2-0 on Tuesday afternoon with goals scored by Peter Bosančić and Šime Grzan.
Meanwhile at Poljud, Hajduk Split fell asleep at the wheel and allowed Varaždin to take a 3-0 lead before waking up and attempting to mount a comeback. Hajduk managed to come within a goal of tying the match, but essentially ran out of time, falling 3-2 to the struggling side.
Goals from Varaždin began in the 19th minute from Domagoj Drožđek. Drožđek doubles his tally in the 40th minute. These goals were separated by Petar Mamić, who scored in the 24th minute.
Hajduk simply waited too long to begin playing. Mario Vuković gave Hajduk a breath of hope in the 49th minute with a goal, as did Mijo Caktaš in the 74th minute. But it was too little too late. Varaždin had secured the three points.
Rijeka hosted Lokomotiva Tuesday afternoon and suffered their second consecutive draw, however, with Hajduk’s loss, Rijeka was able to retake second place.
Lokosi’s Lirim Kastrati scored the opener in the 36th minute, but Rijeka was able to take the lead by the 78th minute after goals scored by Sterling Yateke and Franko Andrejašević. However, Rijeka shot themselves in the foot by going down to ten men after Luka Čapan was sent off in the 83rd minute. This allowed Fran Karačić to convert the ensuing penalty to ultimately tie the match.
The race for second place is still hot between Rijeka, Hajduk, Lokomotiva and Osijek, who are all separated by three points.
Dinamo Zagreb managed to gain three more points by the skin of their teeth after blowing a two goal lead to Slaven Belupo.
Dinamo led 2-0 heading into the half, however Dinamo center back Kevin Theophile-Catherine put the ball into his own net to cut the lead down to one. Slaven’s Mateus Lima scored in the minutes following the restart of the half to tie the match.
However, Bruno Petković headed home the winner in the 90th minute to save the victory for Dinamo.
Birthday boy, Damian Kadzior scored the opening goal of the match, while Luka Ivanušec doubled Dinamo’s lead in the 37th minute.
Osijek managed to gain three points as well after a hard-fought win over HNK Gorica. Mirko Marić and Mihael Zaper scored for Osijek while Kristijan Lovrić scored a 90th minute banger to give Gorica a consolation with their loss.
As the 2.HNL has been officially cancelled, HNK Šibenik has been promoted to the 1.HNL for the first time since being relegated after the 2011/12 season. Fellow Dalmanac NK Croatia Zmijavci are slated to take part int eh promotion/relegation playoffs when the time comes. Zmijavci spent one season in 2.HNL after being promoted from 3.HNL and currently have a partnership agreement with Hajduk Split.
NK Inter Zaprešić won their appeal over licensing and received their license to participate in 1. and 2. HNL seasons next year, depending on if the club is relegated or not. Inter lost to NK Istra 1961 on Tuesday at Aldo Drosina 2’0. Petar Bosančić and Sime Gržan scored goals for Istra.