Goals for Rijeka were scored by Robert Murić (’19, PEN), Haris Vučkić (’36), and Josip Drmić (’48), while Antonio Mance (’65) reduced the score difference to 3-1, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.
Both teams started attacking intensely at the beginning of the game, as several of Osijek’s introductory attempts were defended by Rijeka’s goalkeeper Labrović. In Rijeka’s first dangerous attempt, Drmić’s shot in the 9th minute was stopped by Osijek’s goalkeeper Ivušić. NK Rijeka took the lead 10 minutes later. Čeberko recklessly played the ball with his hand in his own area, so referee Zebec pointed to the white dot, and Murić scored the penalty kick. By the end of the first half, Rijeka was a much better opponent and in the 30th minute Selahi shook the crossbar with a powerful shot, but six minutes later there was no save for Ivušić’s goal. Drmić calmed down the ball very well in the visiting area and assisted Vučkić, who hit it under the crossbar with a powerful shot from eight meters.
At the beginning of the second half, Rijeka scored its third goal. Murić ran through the right wing, sending a sharp ground ball for Drmić, in an attempt that was not difficult to increase the advantage of his team. After that, Osijek went on a full offensive and seemed that in the 57th minute they should have been awarded a penalty kick. Solano was caught napping as Kleinheisler lifted a ball over him following a free-kick, but the ball hit the bar, rebounding into the keeper’s arms. The situation was also reviewed through the VAR and the decision surprisingly remained in force, although the footage clearly shows a blow to the Hungarian’s foot. However, the guests reduced the score difference to 3-1 in the 65th minute when Mance received the ball 25 meters from the goal, took two steps forward, and shot, and the ball hit Smočić’s block on the way to the net and deceived Labrović.
With this defeat, Osijek missed the opportunity to take the top of the table, remaining second with 64 points, two less with a game more than leaders Dinamo, who are visiting Gorica on Sunday, and two more with a game more than third-placed Hajduk, who are visiting Slaven Belupo on Sunday. Rijeka is fourth with 58 points.
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