One round before the end of the Croatian Second League (HNL), Varaždin secured their return to the highest rank of Croatian football. Thanks to a 2:1 victory against Dugopolje, Varaždin escaped second-placed Rudeš with unattainable four points with one round to go.
In a wonderful atmosphere in front of more than 5,000 fans, Varaždin took 3 points and secured their spot in the Croatian First League next season.
In the 15th minute, Varaždin took the lead thanks to a phenomenal goal scored by Itsuki Urata. The Japanese left-back received the ball and hit the bottom left corner from more than 30 meters out. It was a goal that will surely be included in the narrow competition for the best goal of this Second League this season.
The start of the second half saw Varaždin increase its advantage. Namely, in the 55th minute, Fran Brodić found the back of the net, who had previously missed four great opportunities in the match. Then, in the 66th minute, Urata made a mistake, and Ćubelić took advantage of his clumsiness to bring the score to 2:1.
Dugopolje did not give up, but several changes led to a drop in the game’s intensity. Before the end of the match, Varaždin again had two great opportunities in the 83rd and 88th minutes, and the ball moved from one end of the penalty area to the other, and no one managed to shoot on target.
At the end of the match, excited fans rushed onto the pitch and celebrated with Varaždin for winning the Second HNL title and promotion to the First HNL.
Dugopolje will fight for its status in the Second League until the very end. Namely, five clubs are dropping out of the Second HNL since the league will be reduced to 12 clubs next season, and there will undoubtedly be other Dinamo and Osijek teams included. Furthermore, it is already known that Sesvete and Opatija will be relegated, and we will find out the remaining passengers for the Third HNL on Saturday, May 28, when the last round is scheduled.
To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.