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NK Rijeka to Fly Croatian Flag in UEFA Europa League

NK Rijeka in action against Olympiacos (Photo: NK Rijeka)

NK Rijeka will be the sole Croatian club in this season’s UEFA Europa League after a night of drama for the Croatian clubs involved in playoff action on Thursday night.

NK Rijeka qualified for the UEFA Europa League after losing their UEFA Champions League play-off tie against Greek side Olympiacos 3-1 on aggregate after they lost 1-0 in Rijeka on Tuesday night.

NK Rijeka will be the only side from Croatia in the draw tomorrow (Photo: NK Rijeka)

Hajduk Split had the huge task of turning around a 2-0 deficit against English Premier League club Everton F.C. and at halftime, it looked like the impossible could happen.

A 25-yard bomb from Josip Radosevic gave Hajduk Split a deserved 1-0 lead at the break as 35,000 fans at Poljud Stadium were making it difficult for the Merseysiders.

However, the tie was killed off within seconds of the second half starting after Gylfi Sigurdsson caught Hajduk Split’s keeper napping with a volley from 50 metres out.

Hajduk had a chance to take the lead in the match when they were awarded a penalty in the 65th minute but Said would have his attempt saved. Hajduk continued to dominate the half but there were to be no more goals and Everton F.C. would advance through 3-1 on aggregate.

Dinamo Zagreb failed to make it through to the Europa League after drawing 0-0 to Skenderbeu away in Albania.

Dinamo Zagreb lost the first leg 2-1 and although they dominated the second leg, they were unable to convert a number of chances they created.

Meanwhile, the third Croatian club in action tonight, NK Osijek, failed to also turn around a 2-1 home loss in the first leg of their clash with Austria Wien.

A goal in the 62nd minute from Gabrijel Boban gave Osijek the lead, but they could not find the second goal they needed despite some good chances, included from Boban again, and were eliminated on the away goal rule after the tie ended 2-2.

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