HNL Round 4 Recap: Two Reds for Rijeka, Questionable Penalty for Osijek, And Hajduk Robbed?

Daniela Rogulj

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The season may have only just begun but tensions are already high in the Croatian First League.

The fourth round of the Croatian First Football League (or Prva HNL) came to an end last night after Osijek and Rijeka battled it out at City Garden. It was a round that saw the always intense eternal derby between Dinamo and Hajduk, and Osijek defeat last year’s champion for the first time in three years. 

Here’s what went down.

Dinamo v Hajduk at Maksimir (3:1)

The eternal derby was played between Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split on Sunday evening at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb. Around 2,500 Torcida made their way to the capital city to ensure they would miss no time supporting their beloved Hajduk, especially against their bitter rival Dinamo. In front of 15,000 spectators at Maksimir – which is quite a lot for that stadium – the match would begin.

Dinamo came out as the stronger team in the first half, and already 8 minutes into the match, Dinamo’s Ante Coric found the back of the net to make the game 1:0 for the home team. Coric’s goal, however, caused an uproar for many who believed it to be offside. You can see for yourself below. While both sides had a few opportunities, the first half ended 1:0 for Dinamo.

The second half began with high intensity from Hajduk as coach Joan Carrillo substituted Said for Marko Futacs. With their aggressive play, Hajduk pressed Dinamo, dominating the first part of the second half and just missing opportunities to find the back of the net.

It wasn’t until the 64th minute when Hajduk captain Zoran Nizic equalized with a diving header to make the score 1:1. The game was back on.

Unfortunately, in the 71st, a hard fall for Marko Futacs sent him off the pitch which surely threw Hajduk off their game. Shortly after in the 78th minute, Dinamo’s Dani Olmo found the back of the net from a 20-meter shot. The game was now 2:1. 

Just two minutes later, there was confusion in the box after Hajduk’s Juranovic and Dinamo’s Fernandes fell near the penalty area. The ball found the feet of Dinamo’s Henriquez who went for the shot, forcing Hajduk keeper Dante Stipica to commit to the ball (suffering a knee to the face and a broken tooth). After the mix-up, Stipica called for a foul, but when no whistle was heard from referee Zebec, Dinamo’s Soudani found the back of the net for 3:1. No Hajduk fans are pleased and such is the game of football.

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A look at the three goals for Dinamo.

Hajduk’s Marko Futacs, unfortunately, will have to undergo surgery and will be out for 6 months.

Osijek v Rijeka at City Garden (1:0)

Osijek and Rijeka faced each other in a brutal duel at City Garden in Osijek last night – and Osijek, a team that pushed their way past PSV Eindhoven to the Europa League playoffs, has yet another win they can be proud of.

The two teams kicked off in front of 5,155 spectators. Rijeka, obviously the favorite to win, suffered a blow in early on in the match after referee Fran Jovic awarded a very questionable penalty to the host team. After a corner kick, Osijek’s Zoran Lesjak and Rijeka’s Josip Elez went up for the header. With no visible contact seen between the two, Osijek’s Lesjak fell to the ground. A penalty was then awarded by the referee. Borna Barisic secured the penalty to make the game 1:0.

Things only got progressively more interesting from there. 

After Rijeka’s captain Filip Bradaric asked to leave the pitch due to an injury, Rijeka’s Vesovic was booked with two yellow cards in two minutes, forcing him off the pitch. Rijeka would play the next 65 minutes with 10 players. 

Rijeka held their own in the second half and even managed to create a couple of dangerous situations for Osijek’s keeper. Osijek also had a few opportunities to make the score 2:0 in the second half, but with great goalkeeping by Rijeka and not enough luck for Osijek, the game ended 1:0.

Rijeka ended the game with nine players on the pitch after Mate Males was also booked for a second yellow card. Coach Matjaz Kek will not be able to count on Vesovic and Males in their big match against Dinamo this Friday. In addition, Zuparic, Gavranovic, and Bradaric are all facing injuries.

Slaven Belupo v Cibalia (2:1)

After the first 45 minutes, the game was still 0:0, but things quickly changed in the second half when Mirko Ivanovski gave Slaven Belup a 1:0 lead in the 48th minute.

Marko Pervan equalized for Cibalia in the 70th minute with a shot from 11 meters out, but just 8 minutes later, Spiro Peričić’s own goal led Slaven Belupo 2:1.

This is Slaven Belupo’s third win this season and Cibalia’s fourth loss.

NK Rudesš v Inter Zaprešić (0:2)

In Kranjčevićeva on Saturday, NK Rudeš was defeated by Inter-Zaprešić. The 0:2 victory for Zapresšić saw goals by Jakov Puljic and Vlatko Blazevic.

Istra 1961 v Lokomotiva Zagreb (1:2) 

The fourth round was opened on Friday in Pula between Istra 1961 and Lokomotiva Zagreb. Lokomotiva pulled their first win this season with two goals by Lovro Majer. Marin Grujevic scored for Istra to make the final score 1:2 for Lokomotiva.

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