The Hajduk juniors side met the powerful Manchester City in the UEFA Youth League round of 16 at Poljud. Recall, Hajduk reached the round of 16 after beating Shakhtar.
Coach Marijan Budimir’s team was without its standard stopper Luka Vušković and captain Marko Capan, but welcomed the return of Roko Brajković from the first team.
More than 3,000 tickets were sold for this match until yesterday evening, and many of the Hajduk season ticket holders made their way to Poljud today. Torcida was also in full force.
Hajduk: Buljan – Đolonga, Jurić-Petrašilo, Arković, Hrgović – Kavelj, Reić – Brajković, Skoko, Vrcić – Antunović
Manchester City: Murray-Jones – Samuel, Burns, Katongo, Galvez – Adam, Charles, Bobb – Mebude, Dickson, Borges
To no one’s surprise, the favorites were City in this match, but Hajduk came out to prove they are a force to be reckoned with.
A great opportunity for Hajduk came already in the 6th minute. Reić found Vrcić through the middle in front of City goalkeeper Murray-Jones, but the shot was saved.
The first half was even and Hajduk showed that it was a good match for City. In the 15th minute, Mebude broke through the right side and shot, but luckily the ball went over Hajduk’s goal. City threatened again a few minutes later, but it was Hajduk to take the lead first.
After Murray-Jones intercepted a long pass about 20 meters from his own goal, Brajković ran onto the rebound and sent it into an empty net from the first touch. Hajduk was up 1-0 in the 24th minute!
And just when Poljud got done celebrating the first goal – their second found the back of the net! Antunovic found space in the defense to score near post for 2-0!
Hajduk’s defense did well to keep any danger away from their goal, but the 19-year-old wonderkid Oscar Bobb was left alone in the penalty area to score for 2-1 at the half.
City tried hard to equalize in the second half, with several opportunities saved by Hajduk’s solid defense. Hajduk had a good chance in the 49th minute. Hrgović passed on the left side and found Antunović in the penalty area, but he shot wide of the goal.
Hajduk made their first substitutions in the 59th minute – Reić and Skoko went out for Čalušić and Nazor. City made their first subs in the 63rd minute – Oboavwoduo came on for Adam.
Hajduk didn’t really have a chance at goal in the second half apart from Antunović’s in the 49th minute. City had some good chances from dangerous free kicks, but nothing found the back of the net.
And then a spurt of chaos in the 84th minute – Finley Burns was sent off with a red card. City was playing with a man down for the remainder of the match.
A dangerous free kick for City in the 86th minute finished without success. Four minutes of stoppage time were added, and Hajduk held their own for the 2-1 victory!
Hajduk will play in the quarter-finals against the winner of Borussia Dortmund and PSG. If Hajduk advances, they will play away in the quarter-final.
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