June 26, 2020 – Hajduk and Slaven Belupo met at Poljud Stadium for the 31st round of the Croatian First League. It was Hajduk’s first game in front of home fans since the league came to a halt because of COVID-19.
After Gorica topped Rijeka at Rujevica Stadium on Friday night, Hajduk met Slaven Belupo in front of their fans for the first time in 114 days. Recall, while other clubs were able to welcome back their fans already a few rounds ago, the Split club had to serve a punishment of a game behind closed doors.
With the coronavirus on the rise again in Croatia, stricter measures were enforced at the stadium. Namely, temperature checks were reinstated for journalists at the entrance, while we were asked to disinfect our hands before entering. Furthermore, we had to sit one per table instead of the usual two. The jumbo screen at the stadium also reminded fans to keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
Whether they feared the coronavirus would spread or were boycotting because of Hajduk’s last two losses and drop to 5th place, the stadium wasn’t nearly as full as expected, considering the Split club’s beloved fans haven’t seen them play in the flesh in almost four months. Namely, only 4,523 fans were in attendance.
Hajduk played with a bit of a weaker squad on Friday night, missing a few starting players due to injuries and yellow cards. Slaven Belupo was also in a weaker form. A win for Hajduk was imperative.
The fans at Poljud showed enthusiasm at the beginning and Torcida’s chants certainly helped Hajduk to their first goal. Caktaks scored a penalty for 1:0 in the 10th minute.
Slaven Belupo equalized thanks to an easy goal by Medjimorec in the 25th minute. The game ended 1:1 at the half.
The second half started with only one Hajduk substitution, as Dolcek came on for Colina. Hajduk was quick to score their second goal, which came in the 59th minute. A header by Eduok rattled the Belupo keeper for 2:1!
Belupo was awarded a VAR penalty in the 90th minute, which was hit wide to keep the game 2:1 for Hajduk. Nine minutes of injury time were added, though neither team was able to score. Hajduk won 2:1.
Dinamo and Osijek close out the 31st round on Saturday at Maksimir Stadium. Stay tuned for our 31st round recap on Monday.
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