The marquee match this weekend ended in a 0-0 draw when Dinamo Zagreb faced HNK Rijeka at Maksimir Stadium.
Dinamo dominated in all aspects of the match with the exception of the score, despite the lack of Angelo Henruquez or Eduardo. The match fell short of expectations and saw little to no offense from Rijeka who seemed content from the first minute to end the match scoreless.
Dinamo has been struggling to find the net against opponents as of late, proven by their lack of goals against lesser opponents in the Champions League. The one stat where Rijeka was ahead of Dinamo was in the discipline department.
Rijeka was issued five yellow cards and while a straight red card was issued to striker Roman Bezjak in the 82nd minute, but the man advantage still wasn’t enough for Zoran Mamić to crack the Rijeka defense. But Rijeka should be given credit for figuring out how to stop Dinamo, which is by frustrating them and showing no interest in scoring themselves.
But there is a first for everything, and in this case, Hajduk Split got their first win of the season.
It took until the fifth week of the season, but Hajduk showed that they still have the wining spirit that they show in the Europa League by beating NK Lokomotiva at Kranjčevićeva on Monday evening with a score of 2-1.
Hajduk were the better team from the beginning and their victory started off an own goal from Karlo Bartolec in the 11th minute. The gift from Bartolec allowed Hajduk to play the ball with the confidence given by a one-goal lead. Hajduk kept the Lokosi on their heals for most of the first half of play. Hajduk continued to push without allowing Lokomotiva a chance to threaten on goal.
The second half continued to see Hajduk control the game, but both teams began to open up; Hajduk searching for their second goal, while Lokosi were in search of the tying goal.
Both teams saw more chances on net, one from Marko Kolar, but was shut down by the Bili keeper, Lovre Kalinić who protected the lead, and quickly another chance, this time from Hajduk’s Nikola Vlašić, but he too was denied.
Andrija Balić scored the important second goal for Hajduk in the 77th minute with an easy finish after receiving the ball on top of the box without a Lokosi defender within 10 yards of him. The young Balić brought the ball into the box and drew Oliver Zelenika off his line and calmly scored Hajduk’s second goal.
It was an important insurance goal as well because Lokomotiva would find a goal of their own in the 89th minute thanks to Marko Kolar.
With the score 1-2, things looked to be wrapped up, but the drama would not be complete without a controversial non-call in stoppage time.
Hajduk’s Fran Tudor seemed to take Jan Doležal out with a sloppy slide tackle inside the penalty area. Tudor’s back foot caught Doležal as he tried to avoid the tackle. No call was made and no penalty was awarded, leaving the final score at 2-1. Update – Lokomotiva have issued a formal complaint regarding the official’s non-call on the play.
There is a new leader on the table after this week’s matches and it’s neither Dinamo, nor Hajduk, nor Rijeka. It’s Split. RNK Split.
Split continue their strong start of the season with their league-leading third win on Friday. Split won 3-0 over NK Zagreb in Split. The match started out with a penalty in favor of Split, which was converted into a goal by Antonio Mršić.
An unfortunate mistake by Zagreb’s Božo Musa turned into an own goal, giving Split the two-goal lead after only 18 minutes. Dražen Bagarić gave Split the final 3-0 after his 71st minute goal.
The Poets hang their heads low in last place with three losses and two draws, but the Reds are enjoying their place in the sun while they can. How long can they hang onto the lead is a question that may be answered as early as next week when the play Dinamo Zagreb on Saturday. Dinamo sits in second place, only two points behind Split.
Just as Hajduk Split secured their first win of the season this weekend, Slaven Belupo defeated Osijek 3-0 for theirs.
Slaven stormed the Garden City and let out all the frustration that has been mounting during their winless streak and pounced on Osijek.
Osijek have not won a game since the first game of the season and had frustrations of their own, but those were made by the Pharmacists who’s offense gave them troubles from the first minute, and were further built by mistakes of their own.
Goran Paracki scored the first goal int eh 35th minute, but despite the goal, it was Osijek who were cause all the problems for themselves. Nikola Mandić gave his team an uphill battle after seeing a straight red card in the 50th minute. Osijek were already down a goal, but now they were down a man.
Only down by one, Osijek gave Slaven a two-goal victory after Andrej Lukić scored an own goal in the 69th minute. Hope was lost for the home team after Mate Delić scored a third goal for the Pharmacists in the 85th minute. Slaven and Osijek sit only one point a part in fifth and seventh place, respectively.
NK Istra 1961 has been surging since their new American owner Michael Glover has taken the reigns, but they struggled against Prva Liga newcomers, Inter Zaprešić, drawing them at home 0-0.
Each team had their chances to score, but neither could capitalize on anything their offense created.
Inter’s Ilija Nestorivski had an early shot on goal, but his attempt went uncounted on the scoresheet.
The Puljani had the bulk of the quality offense in the match, but the defense of Inter was too much for them to compete with this weekend. Each team ended with five shots on goal a piece and 50 percent of the possession.
Inter enjoyed the draw, and secured their fourth point of the season despite still being without a win.
Istra saw their chance of capturing first place this week flutter by, but still remain in third place.