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HNL Week 5 – Underdogs Prevail

August 12, 2019





It was an upsetting weekend for most, but not if you’re a fan of the underdog.



Dinamo Zagreb faced the toughest opponent of the week when travelling to the Garden City to take on Osijek. Osijek has already dropped one match this season but put up a strong fight against the unbeaten Dinamo side.



Modri head coach Nenad Bjelica made some big changes in the squad lineup on Friday compared to Dinamo’s last match against Ferencvaros in their latest Champions League qualifier; 10 alterations were made to the starting line up with only goalkeeper Dominik Livaković playing in the consecutive matches.



The match ended in a scoreless draw, which Bjelica found appropriate, however he also stated that if one side deserved victory a little bit more, it was Osijek.





With the draw, Hajduk Split and Rijeka were given prime opportunities to surpass Dinamo and take the top spot on the table, but that’s not quite how the weekend played out.



Call it fatigue from Thursday’s 2-0 victory of Scotland’s Aberdeen or call it over confidence, but Rijeka failed to score against an impressive Gorica side and dropped the match 2-0. Manager Igor Bišćan stated that his side “sacrificed” this match in order to maintain readiness for the trip to Scotland for the return leg next week, but Gorica showed that the not only earned the win, but deserved it by out-shooting and outplaying their opponents.



Gorica’s Cherif Ndiaye scored first in the dying seconds of the first half while Dutchman Joey Suk doubled the score with his first goal of the season.



The loss marks a big opportunity missed for Rijeka as well as being their first loss of the season. As luck would have it though, they were not the only club to find themselves on the wrong side of a shock result.





Hajduk Split were downed by Slaven Belupo on Sunday in a surprising 2-1 victory for the Pharmacists.



The win was Slaven’s first victory of the season and came at an inopportune time for Hajduk as they could have taken the top spot on the table with the win.



But sometimes Hajduk is its own worst enemy. After finding themselves down 1-0 in the 37th minute, Hajduk found themselves a man down as well after Marin Jakoliš was sent off in the 56th minute. It was an up hill battle to find an equalizer, but Ivan Krstanović slotted away an 84th minute penalty to seal the victory for Slaven. Hajduk was able to get one back in the 90th minute, but only added to the importance of Krstanović’s game-winning goal.





Lokomotiva earned their first win of the season in a 4-1 thumping of NK Istra 1961. Istra has been on a surge while the Lokosi have been in a recent slump, but Istra’s Mario Ćuže continued his scoring streak, netting his sixth goal in three appearances this year.



Varaždin earned their first point of the season with a 2-2 draw against Inter Zaprešić. The two sides traded goals until the deadlock was unable to be broken. Varaždin spent nearly 35 minutes down a man but were able to hold the 2-2 draw for their hard-earned point.





Colin O'Haravić
Posted By: Colin O'Haravić 5 comments

  1. Maminjo says:

    All I care about is Ćuže’s scoring streak.

    If this guy can net over 20 goals this season, we just got ourselves a striker prospect out of nowhere.

  2. Colin O'Hara says:

    Honestly, if he even sniffs 20 goals this year, he’ll be sold abroad before he can reach any kind of record. Hope that’s not the case, but look at every player that was approaching any scoring milestone since Eduardo; Leon Benko, Kramaric, Nestrovski, all sold while on pace to brake the record (which I believe is 34 goals in a season).

  3. Maminjo says:

    Colin is confusing Dinamo with Hajduk.

    Dinamo only sells players early when they know the player likely has no chance of becoming anything of high value.

    Selling Šimunović to Celtic was pure brilliance… The guy was never NT caliber. They sold off Rog for good money and rightly chose not to hold onto him… along with Halilović and Ćorić. I was surprised to see Ćorić go so early, but it looks like he’s a dumb kid more interested in video games… So they probably made the right call.
    Brekalo was the only one that was sold early who will likely break out big, but he was still sold for excellent money at the time (and possibly wasn’t going to extend his contract with Dinamo anyway).

    If you see Dinamo sell off a player early, they are probably not too high on them (and they’re most likely right about it).

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