Istra 1961 0 Dinamo 0
Dinamo missed an opportunity to extend their gap at the top after they were held to a goalless draw by Istra 1961. Dinamo were without Robert Kovac, Miroslav Slepicka, Ilija Sivonjic and Pedro Morales for the trip to Pula, so gave a start to Sammir, with Andrej Kramaric supporting Mario Mandzukic in attack. Istra however proved difficult to breakdown and coped admirably as Dinamo struggled to make chances in the first half. Papadopoulos entered the game at half time, but failed to improve things as Istra had the best opportunity from the penalty spot. However Asim Sehic's weak penalty was stopped by Butina. Istra who were beaten 7-1 by Dinamo on the opening day of the season have now picked up four points from three games under new coach Valdi Sumberac. Dinamo face Anderlecht in the Europa Liga in midweek and will hope to get Morales back as soon as possible. Elsewhere ex Dinamo defender Mirko Hrgovic is due to once again be a free agent after being sacked by German Bundesliga 2 club Greunther Furth. The 30 year old is due for talks with the club over the termination of his three year contract this week.
Hajduk Split 1 Osijek 0
Hajduk showed their first signs of recovery at the weekend after bypassing a tough Osijek side at the Poljud. Hajduk coach Edy Reja was without Hjorve Vejic and Srdjan Andric so turned to Marijan Buljat finally appearing at right back, with Goran Rubil pushed into midfield. Marin Tomasov dropped out to be replaced by Mirko Oremus with Ahmad Sharbini playing the lone strikers role. The first real chance fell to the visitors as Josip Knezevic's shot went inches past Subasic's post. Further opportunities for Hajduk's Ibricic and Ahmad Sharbini then came and went as the sides went in goalless at half time. Reja immediately changed Ticinovic in place of Oremus. The youngster immediately got in the action with a few sighters at Kardum's goal. It was Senijad Ibricic who came to the fore however. First supplying a chance for Maloca, before sealing the win from the penalty spot after Vedran Jugovic had handled on 85 minutes. Hajduk are now starting to make in roads and are just 3 points from Osijek in fourth. There is still a long way to go to catch Sibenik, but Reja's team are making steps in the right direction. Osijek will be happy to see Karlo Primorac return to the action as a late substitute, whilst Reja gave a first league appearence as a late sub to Dario Jertec.
Šibenik 2 Sesvete 0
Sibenik closed Dinamo Zagreb's lead at the top of HNL1 to just 3 points after a comfortable win over relegation favorites Sesvete. With Ermin Zec returning from suspension, Sibenik were able to make light work of the match taking the lead of 39 minutes through Ivan Bozic. With January transfer window Zec was eager to add to his tally and recorded his 8th of the campaign on 84 minutes to seal the victory. Sesvete look all but doomed as ten points adrift of four bottom Medimurje. Sibenik's hope of Europa Liga football however still look good. With one match to go till winter break attentions will soon turn to find a replacement for Zec.
Cibalia 2 Zadar 0
Cibalia moved into third place after another solid performance against out of form NK Zadar. Branko Karacic's men took the lead on 37 minutes when Josip Lukacevic struck from 15 metres. Then a moment of significance in the second half when substitute Tomislav Juric fired in a beautiful goal only minutes after coming on in the second half. Juric, was the young midfielder involved in the collision that resulted in Zadar's Hjorve Custic suffering a fatal head injury two years ago. It was only Juric's fifth match of the season and his first goal. By this stage both sides were down to ten men after red cards for Sime Maruna and Edin Husic. Cibalia continue to look good for a top 4 place, whilst Zadar urgently need a victory to stop their slide down the table. Zadar have been fending off questions in midweek over allegations last season's match with Hajduk Split was fixed. Zadar dispute the claims pointing to Marin Ljubicic's red card as a deciding factor in the game.
Lokomotiva 3 Rijeka 0
Lokomotiva showed their top flight credentials with a excellant 3-0 pounding of HNK Rijeka. Whilst Lokomotiva is brimming with youthful promise, it was a couple of old heads that stole the show. Former Borrusia Monchengladback defender Zjelko Sopic opened the scoring driving home a free kick for a much deserved lead. Nino Bule was then on hand to grab his eighth of the season in the second half turning home a cross by Bajto. Lokomotiva piled straight in from the kick off for a third and it came on 81 minutes when Alen Pamic turned passed his own keeper whilst trying to fend off Bule. Rijeka's dismal afternoon got no better as Slovenian Nastja Ceh went for an early bath after a straight red for a bad challenge. Lokomotiva have now moved level on points with Rijeka in 9th place and are still looking good for survival. Rijeka however could be looking to overhaul the squad in the winter after failing to challenge for the top 5 in the first half of the campaign.
NK Zagreb 3 Slaven Belupo 3
This was the game of the day in HNL1 as NK Zagreb pulled off a remarkable come back to draw 3-3 with Slaven Belupo. Belupo looked comfortable for much of the match and took the lead from the penalty spot from Srebrenko Posavec. Defender Kara Rogulj got the second just before half time struck in a crowded penalty area. With Zagreb attempting to reduce the rears, space was left for Belupo to counter and they grabbed their third when Under 21 international Mateas Delic beat Zagreb keeper Marin Skender. With only 20 minutes remaining it appeared the game was over, but the rejuvenated Ivan Kristanovic headed home on 74 minutes to set up a interesting last 10 minutes. Zagreb got their opening on 85 minutes when Kristanovic headed down Jethron long ball for Davor Piskor to score. It was then Jethon himself who grab the important morale boosting equalising goal in the last minute of the match when he fired home from 16 metres. Zagreb remain six points adrift of fourth from bottom Medimurje, but have lost ground on Varteks whose victory took them up to 11th place.
NK Zagreb have already begun their search for reinforcements and are close to signing four foriegn players - two unnamed Brazilians and two players with the North Korean National Team. The club should have also tie up the purchase of Krunoslav Lovrek when the Croatian league comes back from its winter break in February.
Karlovac 2 Međimurje 0
Karlovac put a immediate stop to their slide into midtable with a excellant 2-0 win over Medimurje. In form striker Enes Novicic got the opener when he followed in after Stefancic's shot was saved by Banovic. That's the way it stayed for a long period of the match until Ivan Latjman showed some real quality in the last minutes of the match to fire home a second. Igor Pamic's match stay in sixth place, but have put some breathing space between themself and 7th place Hajduk Split who are attempting to chase them down. Medimurje are now the team position fourth from bottom who Zagreb and Istra 1961 are tracking. However with 20 goals already to their name this season Medimurje can still be helpful of moving back into midtable.
Varteks 2 Inter 1
Varteks recorded a crucial win over fellow strugglers Inter Zapresic to move themselves six points clear of the relegation zone. However it was Zapresic who drew first blood Miroslav Saric scored from the penalty spot, but the lead lasted no more than a minutes when Matija Smrekar showed his quality to equalise after being set up by Goran Mujanovic. It stayed that way until midway through the second half when Smrekar was felled by Tomislav Saric. Miljenko Mumlek stepped up to the spot and dispatched the penalty with ease. Zapresic welcomed back Matej Delac for the match who has spent a short time away with Chelsea upon recovery from illness.
HNL1 Top Scorers
12. Pedro Morales (Dinamo); 9. Davor Vugrinec (Zagreb); 8. Mario Mandzukic (Dinamo), Ermin Zec (Sibenik), Nino Bule (Lokomotiva); 7. Bojan Golubovic (Medimurje), Asim Sehic (Istra), Milan Badelj (Dinamo)