Istra 1961 Shocks Rijeka for Spot in Croatian Cup Final!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Istra 1961 will play in the final of the Croatian Football Cup! At Aldo Drosina Stadium in Pula on Thursday, Istra defeated Rijeka 3:2 in the semifinal match and qualified for the final, which will be held on May 19 in Velika Gorica. Their opponent will be the winner of the second semifinal between Dinamo and Gorica. The date for that match has not been set yet due to Dinamo’s European obligations. 

Istria played a phenomenal first half, one of the best in the club’s history, and was ahead 3:0! At the beginning of the second half, Drmic scored Rijeka’s first goal, and in the 72nd minute, Muric made it 3:2 thanks to a penalty, after which they continued to press, but Istra successfully defended their net to keep the win!

Istra opened the game well and took the lead in the seventh minute with a goal by Josip Šutal, who scored with a header from a corner.

In the 23rd minute, Japanese striker Taichi Hara escaped the attention of the Rijeka defense, came out in front of Ivan Nevistić and scored with ease.

Before going to halftime, Rijeka was shocked again. Antonio Ivančić beautifully found Gideon Guzina, who scored for 3:0.

At halftime, Rijeka coach Goran Tomić made three changes, and Rijeka relatively quickly reduced the result. In the 53rd minute, Josip Drmić scored from about 15 meters.

In the 71st minute, Robert Murić scored their second goal from a penalty.

There was enough time until the end, but Rijeka didn’t have it in them to score the third goal and take the game into extra time.

This Istra 1961 generation will thus try to win the first Cup trophy in the club’s history, in a final match scheduled for May 19, against Dinamo or Gorica. So far, Istria has only been in the Cup final once, in 2003 when the club was called Uljanik. In that final, which was played in two games, they were defeated by Hajduk (5:0).

The date of the semifinal clash between Dinamo and Gorica at Maksimir will be known after the Europa League quarterfinal return match, which Dinamo will play against Villarreal on Thursday in Spain.


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