Ten teams, five matches, one goal. Only one goal was scored this weekend, the fewest ever scored in a match week in HNL history. The lone goal was ruled an own goal by RNK Split’s Branko Vrgoć during their 1-0 loss to NK Lokomotiva.
Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split played to a scoreless draw at Poljud on Saturday, but all eyes were on referee Bruno Marić after he failed to award a penalty to Hajduk.
Marić, a known ally of Zdravko Mamić who has perviously been accused by UEFA for match fixing during the 2009 Croatian Cup final between Dinamo and Hajduk, allowed play to continue after Filip Benković controlled the ball with his hand in the box.
Marić has since held a press conference where he showed death threats being sent to him and his family via text message. Disciplinary action will be taken on Marić at a later date.
The score remained 0-0 but the match was widely controlled by the Bili who put eight shots on target.
All eight of those shots were brilliantly saved by Dinamo’s goalkeeper Eduardo. Eduardo shone bright, particularly in the second half, where he made several outstanding and acrobatic saves to keep the score tied.
Dinamo were given the opportunity to win the match when they were awarded a penalty in the 91st minute, but Angelo Henriquez’ penalty attempt was sent wide of the goal and the two teams were forced to split the points.
Dinamo is coming off their historic 2-1 win over England’s Arsenal, but were unable to score against Hajduk who had the full support of the fans at Poljud.
Several clashes between fans occurred outside the stadium and throughout the city prior to the match. One young fan was hospitalized due to injuries sustained by a flare lit on the streets.
Several fans were arrested for tossing flares onto the field during the match. A total of 62 fans were arrested on Saturday.
Slight controversy came at the end of the scoreless draw between HNK Rijeka and Inter Zaprešić, but the teams played a tough match and a new hero emerged for Inter.
Rijeka was awarded a penalty in the 90th minute, but 19-year-old goalkeeper Josip Posavec was there to make the big save and kept Rijeka off the scoresheet.
Two minutes later, Rijeka had another chance on goal but the referee was not convinced Ivan Močinić’s shot fully crossed the line and the goal was not awarded, ending the match in a scoreless draw.
This is the second straight match between the two clubs that ended in a scoreless draw.
Rijeka captain Dario Knežević has retired from Rijeka and stated that he will spend the rest of the year resting before he makes his desicion whether to continue his playing career.
Knežević, 33-year-old defender, has been with Rijeka from 2002-2006 and again since 2012.
NK Slaven Belupo drew NK Istra 1961 0-0 in Koprivnica over the weekend. Though no goals were scored, it was a hard fought match that showed both teams have the ability to compete.
Once again, it was the Vanja Iveša show as the veteran goalkeeper is earning his paycheck for Istra.
The Istrian defense was too tough for the Pharmacists to break, but on the occasions that they did, Iveša was there to stop all 10 shots he faced.
NK Zagreb are still without a win and have amassed only four points in 10 rounds, but were able to hold NK Osijek to zero goals in the Garden City.
Much like the rest of the games this weekend, the match ended in a 0-0 draw. The two teams are separated by only five points and occupy the last two spots in the league.
It wasn’t pretty but we finally saw a goal scored in the HNL from the final match of the weekend.
NK Lokomotiva were able to squeak out the only win this week against RNK Split with a minimum score of 1-0.
The goal came from the in adverted head of Split’s Branko Vrgoć who probably wished he had stayed home this weekend, but should have some secret pride in scoring this week’s only goal.
The Lokosi, who have direly underperformed in the league this season despite overachieving in their short Europa campaign this year have just lost their man in charge.
Coach Ante Čaćić will be leaving the Lokosi behind for his new position as the head coach of the Croatian National Football Team.
Čaćić, who coached Lokomotiva for 51 days through October to December in 2011, retuned to the club in June of this year. Čaćić has managed 15 different teams since he began his coaching career in 1986.
No official word yet on who will replace Čaćić as coach of Lokomotiva but GNK Dinamo Zagreb II’s coach, Sreten Čuk, is due for a promotion and may be ready for the job.