November 6, 2020 – In the 3rd round of the Europa League, Rijeka falls to Napoli, and Dinamo tops Wolfsberger AC.
It was the battle of the Cup winners on Thursday night, as 2020 Croatian Cup winner Rijeka held their own against the 2020 Italian Cup winner and legendary Italian club Napoli.
Unfortunately, just like two weeks, Rijeka suffered the same fate as they did against Real Sociedad at Rujevica and was left without points.
Rijeka opened the game brilliantly against the favorites, and with aggressive pressing, they forced Napoli to make poor passes, after which they created good chances to score with quick counterattacks.
Rijeka had the first great opportunity in the 4th minute when Menalo shot well from 20 meters, but Napoli goalkeeper Meret managed to defend. However, even that was not enough to wake up the guests who came into the game quite nonchalantly, and in the 13th minute, there was a new counterattack for Rijeka. Menalo and Kulenović brilliantly combined to find Murić, who nailed the helpless Meret’s net with a precise shot from the top of the penalty area for 1:0.
Unfortunately, Robert Murić had to come off due to injury in the 24th minute, an exit which greatly affected the further course of the match. With the departure of Murić, Napoli took control of the pitch, and although they did not create any likely opportunity to score, they equalized at the end of the first half. Demme scored off a Mertens assist for 1:1.
Napoli increased their pressure in the second half, which proved to be too tough for Rijeka to sustain. An own goal in the 63rd minute by Filip Braut gave Napoli the 1:2 victory.
In the second match of the 3rd round, Real Sociedad defeated AZ Alkmaar 1:0 (0:0) with a goal by Porto (58). Thus, halfway through the competition, AZ Alkmaar, Napoli, and Real Sociedad have six points each, while Rijeka is in last with no points.
In the 4th round in three weeks, Napoli – Rijeka and AZ Alkmaar – Real Sociedad will play.
In the second match on Thursday, Dinamo scored their first goal in the 3rd round of Group K and achieved their first victory, defeating Austrian club Wolfsberger 1:0 with a goal by Atiemwen in the 76th minute, which put them at the top of the group.
Dinamo played with a man-up throughout the second half but was not particularly dangerous. However, the first victory and a total of five points in the group was secured by Atiemwen only two minutes after he entered the the pitch in the 74th minute.
Both sides had major problems with COVID-19 infected players before the match. Namely, Dinamo had nine infected players, as well as coach Zoran Mamic, who was replaced by Alen Peternac. The Austrian club had slightly less, or only eight infected players.
Dinamo played without Livaković, Petković, Stojanović, Theophile-Catherine, and Ivanušec, while Wolfsberger did not have Liendl, their best player, scorer, and captain.
In the second game of this group, Nikola Vlašić’s CSKA Moscow lost 3:1 to Feyenoord.
The home team scored all three goals in just 10 minutes in the middle of the second half – Haps (63), Kokca (71), and Geertruida (72) scored. Senesi (80) reduced the lead with an own goal for the final 3:1 result.
Dinamo leads the group with five points and a goal difference of 1:0, followed by Wolfsberger and Feyenoord with four points each, while CSKA is last with two points.
In the 4th round in three weeks, Wolfsberger – Dinamo and CSKA – Feyenoord will play.
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