Europa League 3rd Round Qualifiers: Rijeka Topped Kolos in Extra Time, Lokomotiva and Hajduk Out

Daniela Rogulj

NK Rijeka
NK Rijeka

NK Rijeka

September 25, 2020 – In Europa League’s 3rd round qualifiers, Rijeka topped Kolos in extra time to move onto the playoffs, while Lokomotiva and Hajduk have been eliminated. 

Lokomotiva opened the 3rd round qualifiers for Croatian clubs on Thursday and experienced a heavy defeat to Swedish club Malmo, who overcame the Zagreb club 5:0.

Lokomotiva conceded the first goal in the 5th minute when Thelin scored for 1:0. Thelin scored again 10 minutes later for 2:0. Nalic made it 3:0 in the 32nd minute. The second half opened with Larsson’s goal in the 52nd minute for 4:0, and Rieks confirmed Malmo’s victory with a goal in the 72nd minute for the final score of 5:0.

If it’s any consolation, this is not Lokomotiva’s biggest defeat in Europe. In the 2015/2016 season, they lost 6:0 to PAOK.

In Hajduk’s 3rd round qualifying match, they met Turkish club Galatasaray in Istanbul. The Split club admirably managed to hold their own until the last 15 minutes of the match when a questionable sub by coach Hari Vukas cost them the game. 

Galatasaray’s Belhanda scored in the 77th for 1:0, and Babel in the 86th minute for the final score of 2:0. 

Hajduk otherwise played an equal duel against the Turkish giant but failed to capitalize on many opportunities. This cost them, and Galatasaray wisely took advantage of their exhaustion towards the end of the match. 

After Lokomotiva and Hajduk were defeated, the third Croatian representative Rijeka still advanced to the playoff round of the Europa League qualifiers. Rijeka struggled against Kolos Kovalivka, a Ukrainian club that is playing in European competitions for the first time this year. Still, after 0:0 in 90 minutes, they finally beat the guests 2:0 with two extra-time goals at Rujevica.

Escoval’s goal in the 103rd minute and Adrijasevic’s in the 115th for 2:0 advanced Rijeka to the playoff round, where Copenhagen awaits. To secure autumn in Europe and at least 2.6 million euro, Rijeka must beat the very strong Copenhagen side in the only away match on Thursday.

The Danish club, which is 36th on the UEFA coefficient table, is better placed than, for example, Lazio, Monaco, or PSV. Copenhagen is the most prestigious club not only in Denmark but also in Scandinavia, which is playing in Europe. Copenhagen has not played in a Champions League or Europa League group only once in the last 14 years, and behind them is the second-best European season in history.

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