LOKOMOTIVA 2 VARTEKS 0
SCORERS: Bule, Hajovic
On Thursday afternoon Lokomotiva resumed their HNL1 season with a comfortable 2-0 win over crisis club Varteks. Lokomotiva looks a safe bet to keep their top flight status despite losing Domogoj Antolic, Dalibor Pandza and Sime Vrsaljko during the winter break. Moldovan Gheorghe Andronic arrived, but it was the tried and trusted Nino Bule who added his eighth of the season to start the scoring. Tomislav Hajovic put away the second from the penalty spot. Varteks have serious financial troubles which could potentially see the club become extinct before the end of the season. The Varazdin club is famous for advancing such players as Igor Cvitanovic, Davor Vugrinec, Sasa Bjelanovic, Daniel Hrman, Nikola Pokrivac and the late former Croatia international Silvestar Sabolcki. They had been one of the strongest performing sides in HNL1, but experienced a number of set backs including the death of influential club president Andelko Herjavec in 2001. This winter they lost stars Igor Prahic and Goran Mujanovic, plus coach Drazen Besek without major compensation leaving them with only Matija Smrekar as their one sellable asset. With no bid arriving the clubs is at the mercy of local businessman from Varazdin to keep the club in operation.
ISTRA 1 MEDIMURJE 2
Scorers: Stupcic/ Vuka, Golubovic
Istra began their new life under Russian ownership with defeat against relegation rivals Medimurje. Marijan Vuka opened the scoring on 8 minutes for the away side. Istra suffered a major blow 11 minutes later when new signing Matias Chago was red carded on his debut. Another debutant Bosko Stupcic made a more positive impression as he struck the equaliser to put Istra back in it. Fellow Serb Bojan Golubovic however put Medimurje back in the driving seat after following in from Aganovic. This was a very positive result for Medimurje who are looking over their shoulder at rejuvenated NK Zagreb.
CIBALIA 2 ZAPRESIC 0
Scorers: T Juric, Pavlivic
On paper this looked a difficult match for Cibalia as Zapresic gave debuts to several new signings that have bolstered their side during the winter break. However second place Cibalia made light work of the match and were in front as soon as 4 minutes when promising youngster Tomislav Juric fired home. Tomislav Pavlicic had a chance to extend the lead when Malcic was brought down put missed from the penalty spot. Pavlicic made amends in the second half by sealing the match with assistance from Josip Lukacevic.
SIBENIK 1 ZADAR 1
Scorers: Surac O.G/Santini
Sibenik had to settle for a point on the resumption of their season after being held to a 1-1 draw by Zadar. Zadar took the lead on 24 minutes when Ivan Santini took advantage after Goran Blazevic failed to hold the strike. Sibenik put on the pressure to gain an equaliser, and achieved their aim just before half time. Mehmad Alispahic's centre was turned into his own net by experienced midfielder Jarov Surac. Zadar had the better chances in the second half, but Zelimir Terkes was unable to convert. Zadar gave a debut to new signing Davor Piskor who arrived from Zagreb.
DINAMO 6 SESVETE 0
Scorers: Dodo, Mandzukic 3, Badelj, Tomecak
Newly installed Austrian coach Adolf Pintar was given a taster of the task ahead for his Sesvete side as they were pummelled 6-0 by league leaders Dinamo. The writing was on the wall with the game barely a minute old when new Brazilian signing Dodo opened bagged his first in Dinamo colours on his debut after good work from Vrdoljak and Sammir. Dodo then turned provider, combining with Vrsaljko to set up Mandzukic to strike home. That was the last bit of action Dodo would see as he was replaced with only 28 minutes gone due to injury. Mandzukic however was still eager for goals with his international place under threat and bagged his second after assistance from Sammir. Sesvete appeared to throw in the towell in the second half as Badelj has a empty netted at his mercy when scoring the fourth. Substitute Ivan Tomecak was then in for the 5th thanks to good play from Badelj. Mandzukic wrapped up the sixth and final goal after a strong run by Kramaric opened the opportunity. Dinamo made minor changes to the side for the game with Barbaric and Cufre former a new defensive partnership and Vrsaljko operated in place of Etto on the right. Miroslav Slepicka sat it out as Dodo took his place, but will be afforded opportunities next match with the former Zapresic man set to be out due to injury.
ZAGREB 1 RIJEKA 1
Scorers: Abdurhimi/ Dalovic
Igor Stimac expressed his satisfaction with a point in a hard fought draw with HNK Rijeka for NK Zagreb. Zagreb could have had all three points if not for a comedy of errors involving Mario Tokic, Jethon and Marin Skender that let in in form Montenegro striker Radomir Dalovic to score in the 87th minute. Zagreb had taken the lead through Croatia under 21 midfielder Besart Adhurahimi and had other chances through Davor Vugrinec. Rijeka also had their moments as Skender denied Dalovic when well placed to score. Rijeka gave debuts to new full backs Vladimir Lazarevski and Mikael Yourrasky. Zagreb also fielded new signing Tokic, whilst Marin Vidosevic impressed at left midfield after arriving from Imotski.
KARLOVAC 1 OSIJEK 0
Karlovac were once again strong at the back after a highly impressive win over Osijek which sees them leapfrog their opponents and into fourth place. Defender Nevan Vukman was their matchwinner after he dispatched Zvonko Pamic's cross. Karlovac have made few changes to their side and seem to have the right formula for survival even in the abscence of a potent goalscorer. Osijek meantime have had an unsettling winter break and were without the suspended Domogoj Vida and Jurica Pranjic, plus Josip Knezevic who signed for Amkar Perm. Osijek will want to bounce back as soon as possible.