PHOTO: DAMIR KRAJAC Cropix

DINAMO AND RIJEKA IN THE CROATIAN FOOTBALL CUP FINAL

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The semi-final matches of the Croatian Football Cup have been played, and we have learned the finalists

LOKOMOTIVA – RIJEKA 0:1 (Smolčić 71′)
LOCOMOTIVA: Čavlina – Bartolec, Mersinaj, Kalaica (Žilinski 45′), Leovac – Smakaj, Marić – Šotiček, Mudražija (Canjuga 81′), Goričan (Kastrati 77′) – Čop
RIJEKA: Zlomislić – Smolčić, Galesić, Radeljić, Bogojević (Goda 61′) – Selahi, Petrović – Pašalić (Hodža 79′), Fruk (Janković 61′), Pjaca (Banda 65′) – Marić (Obregon 61′)

After the championship just before Easter, came Wednesday, which was reserved for the Croatian Football Cup. Namely, the semi-final matches were next. The players of Lokomotive and Rijeka were the first to take the field, and the match was played at the stadium in Kranjčevićeva street in Zagreb.

It was a very tight game, and Rijeka opened the match better when they had several opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the match, two of which were serious opportunities. After that, Lokomotiva had its chances, but without any chance of realization.

Lokomotiva entered the second part of the match more confidently, but without scoring. But we saw the first and only goal in the 71st minute of the game. Pašalić threw in after a corner, Smolčić was the tallest and managed to score for the guests’ lead. When they conceded the goal, it was as if they had woken up. Lokomotiva started to create opportunities, or rather half-chances, but without success.

Rijeka continues its great series of results this year, and in the 12 games they played, they lost only one – the one against Dinamo. However, Rijeka won its ninth Cup final, and in the eight finals so far, they have won the Cup six times. They won the Cup for the last time in 2020. Let’s mention how Lokomotiva played in the final of the Cup twice (2013, 2020) and lost both times.

HAJDUK – DINAMO 0:1 (Kulenović 15′)
HAJDUK: L. Kalinić (Lučić 19′), Moufi, Šarlija, Prpić, Hrgović (Perišić 72′), Sigur, Krovinović, Brekalo (Pukštas 65′), Kleinheisler (Trajkovski 65′), Benrahou (Sahiti 45′), N Kalinić
DINAMO: Nevistić – Pierre-Gabriel, Ristovski (Ogiwara 90′), Theophile, Perković – Špikić (Hoxha 77′), Mišić, Sučić (Rog 90′), Baturina (Bulat 67′) – Petković, Kulenović (Šutalo 77′)

Hajduk and Dinamo played two derbies in Split in just four days. On Saturday, Dinamo won with a score of 1:0, and by the same score, they won in the semi-finals of the Cup. This caused complete anger among the local fans because the season was “destroyed”. Although it was hinted at throughout the season and that this is what will happen.

Hajduk, on the basis of euphoria, entered the match furiously, but without any possible opportunity, let alone realization. Dinamo took the lead in the 15th minute of the match through Kulenović, who cleared Petković’s deflection. The visiting team moved on and took over the field, and Hajduk once again showed complete impotence in the creative sense of the game. The main name of the first half is Ivan Lučić, who replaced Kalinić in the goal. Although injured, he defended several chances created by the visitors.

Of course, in the first half, the strikers and goalkeepers had the main say, but it all came down to one goal scored and several good saves by both goalkeepers. Let’s mention how soccer was played for the first time, not rugby. It can be seen that the foreign judges did their job on the field, but also as an authority. There was no rebellion, shouting, waving of hands and cheering of the whole team that was on the bench of both teams.

Dinamo entered the second half more dangerous, but there was no realization. But as time progressed, Dinamo closed the game, and the result did not change. Dinamo won with a score of 1:0, the same as on Saturday. The second half was marked by the returnees. First, Ivan Perišić came on in the 72nd minute and played for the first team of Hajduk for the first time, but Marko Rog came on towards the end of the match and ensured Dinamo’s safety in stoppage time.

The question remains whether Hajduk’s season was destroyed, and Dinamo’s saved theirs, even though everything looked different after the first part of the competition (before the winter break)? Maybe. But as the season went on, Dinamo improved in form, and everything fell into place after being relegated from European competitions, so Hajduk fell in form. This was expected because Hajduk doesn’t have many quality players, and the ones that are worth something are injured. On the other hand, Dinamo has the width and players who can play when and how they want. It was just a matter of time when he would fit into the team.

Let’s mention that the final of the Cup is played in two games, the first one is on May 15, while the second leg is on National Day – May 30.

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