Five matches, five shutouts in this week’s HNL competitions.
The week started off on Friday with a 0-0 draw between NK Osijek and RNK Split in the Garden City.
Both sides were without their starting goalkeepers, but the respective second-stringers did their part to record clean sheets for their team.
Aljoša Vojnović was awarded a penalty kick in the 13th minute, but could not beat 23-year-old Tomislav Duka, who was in net to replace the injured Danijel Zagorac.
Duka made the save to continue the 0-0 battle and Split entered in a more attacking frame of mind and dominated possession while pressing for a goal.
The goal never came, but Ivan Pešić came inches from scoring, but just sent his shot over the cross bar.
Mate Topić put forth a good effort in the final minutes of the match to take home a win, but his shot went just wide of the net, ending the match without a goal.
Posted by Max tv prva liga on Friday, April 8, 2016
NK Lokomotiva kicked off Saturday with a 2-0 win over Slaven Belupo at Kranjčevićeva.
The Lokosi climbed to fourth place with the win, advancing over RNK Split, who drew in the previous day.
Mirko Marić scored an early goal that put the Lokosi up 1-0 in the fifth minute, thanks to a team effort that gave him the space to take on the goalkeeper one-on-one.
Marić beat the keeper who chose to attempt the save with his feet rather than his hands, and made him pay.
Slaven responded right back only a minute later with a similar play at the other end of the field, but Oliver Želenika stayed strong and made the save from close range.
Slaven was given another opportunity with a free kick that led to a near goal, but again, Želenika was there to make the save.
The confidence of the Pharmacists was booming after their big win over Rijeka to reach the Croatian Cup finals, but it was unfortunately not enough to earn any points.
Slaven only made matters worse for them after Nikola Pokrivač was sent off in the 68th minute for his second infraction of the day.
Lokomotiva solidified their win in the 80th minute with a goal from Endri Cekici. Cekici scored from just outside the box while falling down, putting a pinpoint shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
HNK Rijeka remains in a title chase with Dinamo after defeating NK Zagreb 3-0 at Rujevica on Saturday.
Filip Bradarić kicked off the scoring in the 19th minute and was quickly followed by Roman Bezjak in the 21st minute.
Rijeka were feeling the pressure from the fans after being eliminated from the Croatian Cup by Slaven Belupo in the semi finals.
After 2-1 in the first leg, Slaven came roaring back and took the second leg 3-0, sending Rijeka home without a chance to see the Cup finals.
Armada, the ultras group that supports the team, set up a banner in their section saying “We will cheer just like you play”, and left the stand void of any supporters.
Rijeka made up for the 3-0 loss with a 3-0 win that was capped off by a goal from Florentin Matei in the 51st minute.
Despite several chances from the visitors, the Poets were unable to find themselves on the score sheet and suffered their 21st loss of the season.
“I continue to believe,” Zagreb’s Gabrijel Boban said before the match began. “As long as there is a chance, we will not give up. Point against Rijeka does not mean too much, we are interested in victory.”
Boban has been one of Zagreb’s most consistent players this season, but believes his frustration of losing will translate into better results.
Dinamo fought for a 1-0 victory over NK Inter Zaprešić on Sunday, despite the home team giving Dinamo early trouble.
Zaprešić were looking for a goal early on and gave goalkeeper Eduardo some work to do in the opening minutes of the match.
Eduardo was called upon three times in the first 10 minutes and kept Inter off the score sheet.
The tables turned in the next 10 minutes as Dinamo had several oppertunites in a short span of time to score, but were denied by the Inter defense, goalkeeper Ivan Čović, and the cross bar.
It was the doings of Ivan Čović who kept the deficit at a minimum throughout the match with his strong goalkeeper, but in the 41st minute, he was beat by El Arbi Hillel Soudani to make the score 1-0.
Čović out shined the other 21 players on the field in the second half, keeping the game 1-0 when it could have easily been 4-0.
Unfortunately for the 25-year old goalkeeper, The Inter offense was unable to create a goal, leaving Dinamo with the minimum victory of 1-0.
The troubles continue for Istra as the find themselves on the losing side of a 3-0 score line against Hajduk Split at Poljud.
“We have played very poorly in the last two games, Istra defender Renato Gojković said. We are currently in a difficult situation but we must hold our heads high.”
The trouble started early in the match for Istra when goalkeeper Vanja Iveša went down in the 5th minute and had to leave the field. 20-year-old Ivan Brkić, who made his fourth appearance for the team this season, replaced Iveša, who has been one of the best players for the team this season, even at the age of 38.
Brkić gave up his first goal of the match to Lorenco Šimić off a corner kick. The next goal came from Tino-Sven Sušić at the penalty spot.
Brkić took down Josip Juranović in the penalty area, giving Hajduk its first penalty shot of the day, which was converted by Sušić to make it 2-0.
Gojković made a similar mistake it the 74th minute and took down Ivan Mastelić, giving Hajduk its second penalty opportunity of the day, which was also converted by Sušić to make it 3-0.
Yes, let’s go back to a league with our neighbours to the east. Sounds like a recipe for success
Not sure if the Adriatic League makes much money for our basketball clubs.
Ultimately making the Euro league is what matters in basketball, just like making the CL or Europa is for football.
I’m not sure I’d want to see a Balkan league. from a soccer perspective, it may increase the quality and level but from every other perspective, I think it would just be a waste of time and energy from all parties.
A Balkan league would have nothing to about level of play or improving level of play. It would be about dollars and being able to take advantage of marketing opportunities. Nothing more.
Friends, take a look at the UEFA country rankings. Here, I’ll help you out.
we’re slowly inching up to 15th (aka another CL spot), which doesn’t matter at the end of the day anyway since Rijeka/Hajduk/Lokomotiva will get slaughtered just in the qualifiers…
but look at where our ‘neighbors’ are ranked…. mostly 30’s, one in the 40’s even! and we want to form a league with leagues that have below zero quality? you thought teams like Istra and Osijek were bad… check out some of the bottom feeders in the Crna Gora first league. Istra would look like a CL team in that league.
There’s too much of a gap between our league and the other former Yugo leagues.
I’d rather continue on this slow but steady improvement of our league, and potentially get a 15th place coefficient ranking, and gaining a second CL spot.
We used to be ranked in the late 20s with our best team being eliminated in the first qualifying round of both CL and Europa Qualifying. Now we’re 17th, and despite Dinamo sucking in CL, we have consistently qualified for Europa or CL with two teams or more (with some decent games in Europa).
Would rather stick to this path than mix in with the Balkanci and take a huge step back.
We need to worry more about the current state of our football and worry less about joining other neighbors in a regional league, where their state of football is even a bigger catastrophe than ours.
You guys can live in Yugo nostalgia? Not me.
If a fan of team XXXX has to feat for his life in city XXX trying to support his club, then that league is not worth having.
Sorry you guys are right. Lokomotiva – Slaven over Hajduk – Partizan, Dinamo – Zvezda every day of the week. What the fuck was I thinking.
Wouldn’t improve anything, but, like Ziva always says, it’s about the entertainment, right?.
The most exciting part of a Balkan league would be the Cro fans interacting with Serb fans. Come on. I’d watch Dinamo-Zvezda just to see who will burn down the stadiums first.
Balkan League????? Sure, why not. Because the Balkan basketball league has really helped the likes of Cibona, Zadar and Split, three top teams in Cro hoops.
well, if you are a Serb from Lika, you’d probably love it.
Balkan league…omg! I would love to watch that! Lol
Great idea. Let’s round up all the shit teams from the shit Balkan leagues and have an ‘Adriatic Liga’ type of situation. That will solve everything!
I say enough of this bullshit – bring on the Balkan league.
How long before we see Coric and Brekalo from Dinamo in the Croatian national team? I say between this and three years.