HNL Week 17: Rijeka and Dinamo Battle for First, Torcida Throws Flowers, RNK Split has fans?
November 28, 2016
Dinamo dashed the hopes and dreams of NK Osijek on Saturday with a 2-0 defeat that dropped the surging team back to fourth place.
Osijek have been on the up-and-up all season, signing prominent names along the way, but without top scorer Muzafer Eupi, who was out with an ankle injury, Osijek couldn’t find a goal to counter Dinamo’s offense.
It took until first-half stoppage for Dinamo to finally score a goal. After peppering goalkeeper Zvonimir Mikulić with a combination of long and short-range shots, Ante Čorić lucked one in from distance. Mikulić attempted to use his body to save the bouncing shot from nearly 25 yards out, but let it go right through his arm and body into the net. The embarrassing blunder sent Osijek into the locker room down a goal.
Injuries in the first half to Dinamo added trouble to the lineup. Bojan Knežević was subbed due to injury too make way for Angelo Henriquez.
Goalkeeper Dominik Livaković remained in the match after becoming injured in the first half, but was unable to kick his own goal kicks or send long balls due to what appeared to be his hurt left knee.
Soudani doubled the Modri’s lead with a 48th minute goal, adding to a lead that Osijek could not surmise.
But frustration showed and the muddy pitch took its toll on the home team at Gradski Vrt. Gabrijel Boban was issued a straight red card in the 78h minute for a tackle on Mario Šitum, who was lucky not to have a broken leg.
Dinamo avenged the previous contest between the two with a victory on Osijek’s home turf. The win kept them at pace six points behind Rijeka and five points ahead of Hajduk.
Hajduk Split beat NK Inter Zaprešić with a score of 2-0 at Poljud this weekend, but the real story was in the stands.
Due to recent behavior from fans who continued to throw flares on the field in recent matches, the north stands were left empty and off limits to the usual residents, members of Torcida. In defiance to the ban, Torcida simply gathered in a different section of Poljud and through “evil flowers” on to the field.
Europe’s oldest supporters group held up and through thousands of harmless flowers onto the field instead of flares. No word of any more disciplinary action will be taken against the flowers.
Hajduk’s two goals came in quick succession in the first half. Zvonimir Kozulj scored first in the 32nd minute. Kozulj approached the penalty area with a quick step over and shot from outside the box The shot took a small deflection and rolled past goalkeeper Ivan Čović, who was left stunned at the redirection.
Ante Erceg doubled the Bili’s lead in the 38th minute when he tidied up a rebound left by Cović’s initial save.
Hajduk was able to keep pace with Dinamo, sitting five points behind them in third place.
Two penalties were the only goals Rijeka could muster in their 2-0 win over Cibalia.
Alexander Gorgon scored his league-leading seventh goal of the season in the 18th minute when he stepped up the spot and converted the penalty to a goal. Of Gorgon’s seven goals, this was his first penalty of the season.
Florentin Matei followed suit in similar fashion with his 24th minute penalty to make the score 2-0.
But a win is a win and Rijeka achieved all three points to remain six points ahead of Dinamo after 17 weeks of play.
Rijeka’s Franko Andrijašević appealed his three-match ban after being issued a red card after the final whistle against Slaven Belupo last week. The league heard his case, but did not overturn the ruling. Andrijašević will serve the remaining two games of his suspension, which includes a match against Dinamo Zagreb next week.
Slaven Belupo broke a five-match streak where they could not defeat NK Lokomotiva. The Pharmacists traveled to Kranjčevićeva on Friday and handed the Lokosi a 2-0 defeat, breaking the winless streak.
Slaven’s resident Brazilian, Heber, scored twice in the match; opening the scoring in the 13th minute, and ending the match in the 61st with a second goal.
After 12 matches with the Pharmacists, Heber has scored three goals.
The only match of the weekend that did not end in with a 2-0 scoreline was NK Istra 1961 vs. RNK Split. The match ended with a simple 1-0 score in favor of the Puljani.
RNK Split continues its woeful season with another loss, but the Istrani will be happy with their recent renaissance and rest comfortably in fifth place.
The only goal in the match came from Split’s own Josip Jurendić, who was credited with the own goal.