Hajduk poised to play in Europa League for first time
Hajduk withstood a late, injury-time flurry to preserve a stunning 4-1 come-from-behind win in the first leg of their Europa League playoff against Romania’s Unirea Urziceni.
The visitors scored the game’s first goal in the 34th minute as Sorin Frunză waltzed around at least three Hajduk defenders before beating backup goalkeeper Božidar Radošević and silencing a packed Poljud Stadium.
The Unirea lead was short-lived, however, as Senijad Ibričić scored the first of Hajduk’s four consecutive goals in the 38th minute. Ibričić deftly flicked a harmless looking cross from Anas Sharbini as the Unirea goalkeeper could only watch his glancing header roll inside the far post.
Ibričić single-handedly notched his second goal of the game in the 66th minute, going coast-to-coast against a weak Unirea defense.
Substitute Mario Brkljača added Hajduk’s 3rd goal in the 78th minute off a free header supplied by none other than Senijad Ibričić. Brkljaca had entered the game just five minutes earlier, replacing the hardworking midfielder Dinko Trebotić in the 73rd minute.
Lastly, substitute Duje Čop added Hajduk’s fourth goal in the 85th minute, deftly controlling a cross from the hardworking Mirko Oremus before turning and firing from the top of the six-yard box. Oremus stepped in front of a Unirea player on a throw in deep in the guests’ end and fired in a cross to Cop.
Hajduk take their commanding 4-1 lead into next week’s second leg in Romania. Barring a complete collapse, Hajduk will play in the Europa League’s group stage for the first time.
HAJDUK: Radošević, Oremuš, Maloča, J. Buljat, Strinić, Trebotić, Andrić, Tomasov, Ibričić, An. Sharbini, Vukušić
UNIREA: Grigore, Galamaz, Bilasco, Onofras, Rusescu, Epaminonda, Brandan, Marinescu, Bordeanu, Maftei, Frunza