Croatian Cup Semifinal: Hajduk Tops Gorica for Spot in Final (2:1)

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Milan Sabic/PIXSELL
Milan Sabic/PIXSELL

Hajduk was a big favorite in the semifinal match against Gorica, which has just suffered five Championship defeats. Hajduk suffered a heavy 3:1 loss to Rijeka in the Croatian First League derby on Saturday.

Since the final is too being played at Poljud, Hajduk fans expected a victory against Gorica and a spot in the final. 

Gorica has thus far led head-to-head, with eight wins with five defeats, but has lost two of three games against Hajduk this season.


Hajduk: L. Kalinić, Mikanović, Katić, Elez, Melnjak, Grgić, Fossati, Sahiti, Biuk, Livaja, Mlakar

Gorica: Kotarski, Jovičić, Steenvoorden, Mitrović, Babec, Kalik, Krizmanić, Pršir, Keita, Atiemwen, Dieye


Hajduk came out much more aggressively in the first 5 minutes of the match, pressuring the Gorica defense and goalkeeper.  A Livaja cross in the 5th minute was a top chance for Hajduk, with Stipe Biuk heading over the crossbar. 

Gorica attacked well in the 8th minute before Hajduk countered and Sahiti just missed the goal. 

Gorica had a chance in the 11th minute which was headed over the goal. Hajduk continued to press and a brilliant ball in from the right found Grgić’s head which went just over the post.  

Sahiti tried shooting from the left-wing but it was an easy save for the Gorica keeper. Livaja danced around the Gorica defense in the 16th minute but hit wide of the goal. Gorica had an unsuccessful counterattack two minutes later. 

Hajduk had two of their best opportunities in the 20th minute but both were saved by Kotarski. 

Gorica held possession for the next few minutes and managed a shot off which went wide of the Hajduk goal.  

A quick 1-2 in front of Kotarski’s goal found the boot of Grgić who had another stellar opportunity for Hajduk but his shot was also wide.  

Gorica seemed to only pressure thanks to quick counterattacks but nothing was dangerous. Their first corner came in the 29th minute. 

In the 32nd, Mikanović sent the ball in to Liivaja who found the back of the net, but VAR ruled the goal offside. 

However, it didn’t take long for Hajduk to get their goal. Melnjak scored for 1:0 in the 39th minute! 

A Hajduk free kick right outside the box was awarded 2 minutes to go in the half – and Marko Livaja hit the post! 

Hajduk had 57% of the possession in the first half and 8 shots on goal to Gorica’s two.

The second half started without any changes on either side.

Hajduk’s attacking game continued in the first 8 minutes of the second half. Gorica had their first shot at the keeper in the 53rd minute. Gorica’s first corner of the second half came two minutes later. 

Gorica had their best chance of the match in the 57th minute when Pršir shot just wide of Hajduk’s goal. A potential penalty for Hajduk was checked by VAR in the 60th minute but was ruled out. 

Just a few minutes later, Livaja’s free kick outside the box found the head of Melnjak for 2:0 in the 64th minute!

Stipe Biuk was subbed off for Nikola Kalinić in the 66th minute. 

Gorica subbed Dieye for Cruz and Brbec for Suk in the 70th minute. Hajduk made changes two minutes later – Sahiti was subbed off for Atanasov and Mlakar for Ljubicic. 

In the 79th minute, Gorica subbed Mitrovic for Musa and Suk for Golubickas. 

A mistake in Hajduk’s defense gave Gorica a corner in the 83rd minute though they were unable to get past Hajduk’s defense.   

Vukovic and Colina came on for Grgic and Melnjak in the 86th minute. The ref added 5 minutes of stoppage time. 

VAR awarded a penalty for Gorirca in the final minutes which Kalik scored for the final 2:1.

Gorica was unable to get past Hajduk’s defense for another goal, giving Hajduk the 2:1 victory and spot in the Croatian Cup final! Rijeka and Osijek will play in the second semifinal on March 9. The final is on May 26 in Poljud.

Only one game is played in the Croatian Cup semifinal, and if there is no winner after 90 minutes, extra time is played and then penalties.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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