Sunday, 28 March 2010


After a respectable first half to the season Inter Zapresic, appear to be ruing their ties to Dinamo as their mid season tinkerings have seen them slide dramatically close to the relegation zone. Zapresic and Varteks have struggled to find a win since returning from winter break leaving them one win away from being leapfrogged by Istra or NK Zagreb.

Zapresic particularly could be accused over tinkering with their side. After recieving money for Matej Delac and Dodo, Zapresic entered the transfer market to fetch in Serbian Nenad Nikolic, Montegrin Sasa Balic, Tomislav Zivko, Paraguyan Gamarra and strikers Ilija Sivonjic and Guilermo Suarez. The reaction of the side has however been poor. The usefulness of acquiring Nikolic, Balic, Gamarra and Suarez must seem particularly question.

Zapresic had built up a decent run with Mario Grgurovic, Tomislav Saric, Miroslav Saric, Silvio Cavric and Tomislav Jonjic key to their game. The changes have however unsettled the team. The signing of players with long time free agent status and unhappy squad members of Dinamo Zagreb would appear a questionable move. Whilst Ilija Sivonjic would also appear a decent signing on paper, the right sided forward has shipped out expectedly by Dinamo and could be experiencing a crisis in confidence. Guilermo Suarez is also a player who was in seperate training in Dinamo and may prefer to have been given free agent status to return to South America.

Zapresic decision making would therefore appear question. Moves for such players as Dario Zahora and Mario Mijatovic who had been playing with Lustenau may have proved more profitable, whilst keeping the crux of their side together.


With Jerko Leko inactive, Marko Babic confined to the bench, Ivo Ilicevic restricted by second division football and Anas Sharbini in and out of form in the Croatian league, the door is open for new talent to step in to the Croatia squad for upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers. One such candidate is Ivan Perisic..

Perisic will have to go down as one of the bargain buys of the summer. With no playing time at French league strugglers Sochaux, he was allowed to leave for a measly couple of hundred thousand Euro's. A year on the player has been lighting up the Belgian league and the Europa Liga with Club Brugge and is attracting bigger clubs in Germany and Holland with a possible £3m transfer fee being muted. The signs were there last season when Perisic helped guide Roeselaere to safety during a six month loan spell where he scored 8 times.

Goals is a big part of Perisic's game who is compared in playing style to Germany's Mikael Ballack. At only 20, Perisic is a big plus for Croatia, especially as he can play both right and left midfield as well as in the centre. He scores goals coming from deep and is more athletic than Niko Kranjcar, whilst being a better finisher than Luka Modric. Perisic also adds the ability to score regular headed goals which is another component that Croatia currently lack in their squad. If Perisic's form continues as expected it is likely he will compete fiercely with Drago Gabric and Nikola Pokrivac for a place on Croatia's bench. Perisic's goal record also suggests he would be a player Slaven Bilic may often turn to to change a game.

Perisic's presence may also give more time to talents such as Anas Sharbini and Milan Badelj to aclimitize to the step up in standard from Croatian league football as Bilic is unlikely to turn to the Hajduk and Dinamo players whilst having such players as Perisic already well drilled in more competitive football. So far Perisic has 12 goals in 38 games and 10 assists this season as he continues his rise in the European game.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


DINAMO 3 ZAPRESIC 1 (Mandzukic 2, Badelj/ Jonjic)
HAJDUK 2 VARTEKS 0 (Vukusic/ Ibricic)
CIBALIA 1 ZAGREB 0 (Bagaric)
ISTRA 1 OSIJEK 3 (Sehic/ Sorsa, Pusic, Jugovic)
MEDIMURJE 1 BELUPO 1 (Zuljevic/ Safaric)
SESVETE 1 ZADAR 2 (Pokrajcic/ Curjuric, Mrsic)

Dinamo Zagreb and Cibalia continue to look good for 1st and second place respective after latest wins over Zapresic and Zagreb. Dinamo's Mario Mandzukic scored twice in a 3-1 win. Davor Bagaric's strike meanwhile was enough to earn Cibalia three points against their relegation threatened opponents. A slip up by Sibenik allowed Hajduk Split and Osijek to take advantage. Ante Vukusic and Senijad Ibricic helped a improved Hajduk defeat an out of sorts Varteks. Osijek meanwhile put an end Zoran Vulic's good run as Istra coach with a excellant 3-1 win. Promising talent Vedran Jugovic was on the scoresheet.

At the bottom Zadar have made good strides up the table with their second straight win defeated Sesvete 2-1. It was a bad day for Istra and Zagreb. However Medimurje could only draw at home to Slaven Belupo, whilst Zapresic and Varteks continued their poor form which looks unlikely to change around anytime soon, giving hope to sides below them.

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Dinamo Zagreb look on course for another Croatian League Championship winning season, but have continued to find European football difficult to master. With Robert Kovac likely to leave in the summer, Dinamo will be looking for a new centre back, an imposing midfielder should Milan Badelj transfer and a new forward to replace Mario Mandzukic who is also likely to go abroad. Injury victim Igor Biscan also faces an uncertain future, along with goalkeeper Tomislav Butina.

It is likely that Dinamo will be thinking Croatian having had several foriegn ventures that failed to work out, most notably Greek forward Dmitrios Papadopoulos and Argentine Guillermo Suarez. It would also appear that once Mandzukic and Badelj transfer the remainder of the squad will not be of sufficient quality. Players such as Loncaric, Etto, Ibanez, Barbaric, Cufre, Vrsaljko, Vrdoljak, Morales, Tomecak, Sammir, Kramaric, Dodo and Callelo are all likely to be retained next season which will ensure a strong HNL1 season. However will hope to recruit new players to make the difference in European competition.

Dinamo may consider turning to recognised talents. Real Zaragoza wide player Marko Babic appears in major need of a revival and has the quality to be a big player for Dinamo Zagreb. Similarly Jerko Leko would be available on a free transfer who could add something that is currently lack in the Dinamo midfield which is not possessed by Vrdoljak. Should Milan Badelj transfer midfielder Ivica Banovic has the experience to provide a lot to Dinamo and may be looking for a change of scene should Frieburg get relegated. Mato Jajalo may also be on the hitlist although Dinamo would be put off by paying any transfer fees. Cheaper options such as Mensur Mujdza may also be under consideration, but arguably would not improve the standard of the side.

In attack it would appear that Karlo Primorac, Miroslav Slepicka, Andrej Kramaric and Dodo is not good enough with neither in double figures for the season. However Asteras Tripolis Daniel Cesarec could be a excellant replacement for Mario Mandzukic, and a cheaper alternative to Sibenik's Ermin Zec. Athough Mandzukic is a up and coming talent, Cesarec is a more disciplined and rounded player who would be better at forming strike partnership. Defensively Dinamo will be looking for a regular fixture who can remain fit having seen Robert Kovac and Biscan spend long period on the treatment list.

One of Zdavko Mamic's clients Bostjan Cesar could do a good job and has been improving rapidly at club and international level with Slovenia. Dinamo however would be certain to face competition to sign him. Myttdlland's Kristjan Ipsa could also be a mobile addition who could be within Dinamo's grasp. Domogoj Vida is also strongly tipped to make the switch in the summer to become the teams new right back. Dario Knezevic may also be available if Livorno experience relegation, but may prefer to stay abroad having built a reputation for himself.

Dinamo may consider turning to former players such as Tomislav Mikulic, Andre Mijatovic or Gordan Schildenfeld, but once again they all may appear satisfied with their current status within Germinal Beerscott, Arminia Bielfeld and Sturm Graz. Dinamo fans may prefer to see less players arriving that are in the last year of their career and prone to injury having seen little of Robert Kovac, Igor Biscan, Tomislav Sokota and Jens Novotny during their expensive spells at the club.


Croatian forward Mario Mijatovic could be a late answer to an number of problems of HNL1 sides. The 29 year old was top scorer with 4 goals with Austrian Bundesliga 2 side Lustenau, before leaving in the winter following the dismissal of fellow countryman Nenad Bjelica.

Mijatovic struggled in his early HNL1 career with Osijek and Slaven Belupo, but his form improved in Austria with Kottingbrunn leading him to LASK Linz where he scored 23 goals over three seasons. It would suggest that Mijatovic would be an ideal asset to any HNL1 looking to readdress their season.

Inter Zapresic continue to tap into the free agent market, but have struggled to find goals despite big name purchases of players such as Ilija Sivonjic and Guilermo Suarez. A move for Mijatovic may well improve their situation. Similarly Mijatovic's former clubs Osijek and Slaven Belupo have the money to move for the player after losing key forwards Karlo Primorac and Bojan Vrucina respectively in the winter. Youngster such as Josip Barisic, Ivan Milicevic, Vedran Niksic have failed to provide goals since the league resumed as they have dropped behind the leading pack. Slaven Belupo are similarly failing to find the goals from youngster Francis Tepuric and Matija Poredski and may benefit from turning to an experienced head.


Nikica Jelavic scored his 10th league of the season as Rapid Vienna drew 1-1 with rivals Sturm Graz. Its his 20th in all competitions. Jelavic is having his best ever season and would hope to transfer to a stronger league in the summer to improve his chance of representing Croatia in the 2012 European Championship qualifiers. Jelavic is currently believe to be competing for 5th place striker slot in the squad with Ivan Klasnic, Mario Mandzukic and Nikola Kalinic.

Out of form Slovan Liberec were again defeated in the Czech league as Bohemians secured a 3-2 victory. Croatian Lovre Vulin opened the scoring for Liberec and Andrej Keric notched the sides second. There was also a goal for Spurs Niko Kranjcar (2-1 win over Stoke) and for Shaktar's Dario Srna.

Meanwhile in Germany it is being reported that Hertha Berlin are keen to sign Arminia Bielfeld defender Andre Mijatovic. Free agent Tomislav Labudovic has also joined up to a new club after joined Inter Zapresic. Former Rijeka wideman Johann Smith has signed with Swedish side Kalmar FF.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


When the HNS announced that the Croatian league Championship would be increased to 16 teams it appeared there was more critics, but plaudits. HRV Soccer examines whether the idea ultimately was a success or a failure.

For years the Croatian leagues two up and two down system, sometimes involving a play off has seen many sides descend into mediocrity after only half way through the season as they find themselves too far detached from Europa Liga qualification and too far clear to be relegated. This season however has been different with Cibalia, Hajduk, Osijek, Slaven Belupo and Karlovac considering second place in their grasp.

With increased relegation spots, Inter Zapresic, Medimurje, Zadar, Medimurje, Zagreb, Istra and Varteks meanwhile have been fighting for their lives. Such increased level of competition and relevant matches can therefore only benefit the Croatian league. One arguement to counter such claims would suggest that the number of sides gathered at the bottom of the table points to a divide in class. Consideration the size of the each Croatian club it would be questionable whether there is a divide between one and another season in season out.

However it would appear something has worked due to increasing the teams for this season. Two reasons would be NK Karlovac and Lokomotiva Zagreb. Karlovac have been nothing short of outstanding under coach Igor Pamic. Previously Karlovac had never experienced top flight football, but their status this year has never been in doubt. Whether they can remain a force is questionable, but it is clear that this group of players are comfortably a top six side.

Lokomotiva on the other hand are a entirely different thing. Lokomotiva arguably were the main beneficiaries of increasing the league, but are potentially a new power house in Croatian football. Again whether this is healthy for the countries domestic league is up for debate as Lokomotiva are in fact a branch of Dinamo Zagreb which produces talent and gives experience for young players for Dinamo's future. This is a major thing for development of young Croatian talents that belong to the Croatian Champions. However it also aids Dinamo's strong hold. Dinamo are also able to control Lokomotiva by adding too or taking away key players from their roster as they please. It is clear whilst Lokomotiva exist Dinamo's revival in Rijeka, Split, Sibenik, Cibalia, Koprivnica and Varazdin will experience a hard time picking up points.

The success of Lokomotiva encouraged Hajduk to set up their own feeder club in NK Mosor. The club has much to do to reach the level of Lokomotiva and Hajduk do not currently have the financial power to back them.

Over time it could be argued it is not good to keep a League of sixteen sides as the country does not have 16 teams of such strength. However the idea to open the trap door to drop out sides who are not progressive is a positive step and something which HNS was clearly justified in doing. Such ideas wakes up dormant sides who can happily settle for finishing second or third from bottom and keep their top flight status.

It is probably also not a good idea to continually promoted big numbers of HNL2 sides, many of whom are badly organised and do not possess satisfactory stadia. The HNS has to constantly be on there guard having allowed conditions to slip whereby Zadar's ex Croatia Under 21 player Hjorve Custic lost his life due to a collision with a brick wall during a match with Cibalia. Such an example also points to another debate over such smaller sides like Zadar and Medimurje who over time are progressing, but should not be allowed special top flight status which the 16 Liga idea offers them.

In conclusion it would appear that the Liga 16 has positive and negative effects. It has not decreased competitiveness, despite Dinamo's comfortable position at the top of the league which alludes more to their overwhelming financial income recieved on player sales of some of the Europes finest talents. The income recieved for Dinamo is such that even teams in A standard European leagues would love to see. The HNS however would ideally prefer if Dinamo focused more on ploughing some of their finances into other Croatian sides, rather than going abroad or to their links within Zapresic and Lokomotiva. Due to lack of player sales Rijeka and Varteks particularly have become a pale shadow of their former self which has damaged their competiveness in the Croatian league. Dinamo has also been found to be skimping in recent years in their pursuit of players from Osijek and Sibenik.

Hajduk Split meanwhile are guilty of hoarding a crazy amount of Croatian talents who could also be helping other Croatian teams. Hajduk's transfer policy has led to nearly 20 Croatian footballers being starved of first team action which does little to help Croatian football.


LOKOMOTIVA 2 HAJDUK 1 (Rubil O.G, Bule/ Vukusic)
BELUPO 0 DINAMO 1 (Slepicka)
RIJEKA 0 SIBENIK 1 (Alispahic)
VARTEKS 1 CIBALIA 1 (Mumlek/ Grgic)
ZADAR 2 MEDIMURJE 0 (Terkes, Santini)
ZAGREB 1 ISTRA 1 (Ljubojevic/ Chago)

Hajduk Split suffered a set back in their hopes of qualifying for Europe after Lokomotiva put an end to their good run of form with a 2-1 win in Zagreb. Goran Rubil gave them a helping hand by putting through his own net early in the match. Ante Vukusic equalised, but ex Hajduk favorite Nino Bule struck from the penalty spot. The result was made worse for Hajduk as Sibenik and Karlovac both won to leap above them. Mehmed Alispahic gave Sibenik a excellant 1-0 win away to Rijeka. Second place Cibalia did however slip up only drawing 1-1 with out of form Varteks.

NK Zagreb and Istra have reasons to stay positive despite sharing a 1-1 draw in the bottom of the table class. Two of the big hopes for both of their seasons however were at the fore as Matias Chago opened the scoring for Istra, before Goran Ljubojevic headed home the equaliser. A excellant sweeping move also saw Ljubojevic secure the points for Zagreb, but it was cleared off the line. A point however both sides closer to Zapresic and Medimurje, who both lost whilst Varteks gained a draw.

Inter Zapresic were beaten by Neven Vukman's late winner for Karlovac. Zadar were the main beneficiaries as they defeated fellow strugglers Medimurje. Goals by Zelimir Terkes and Ivan Santini give them a little bit of breathing space. Croatia Sesvete drew 0-0 with out of form NK Osijek.

In the late match league leaders Dinamo Zagreb kept up their excellant defensive record since winter break with a 1-0 win over Slaven Belupo. Miroslav Slepicka's early strike proved the matchwinner. Dinamo's improvement in defence has been credited to former Argentine international Leandro Cufre who also has had a positive effect on left back Luis Ibanez. Belupo and Rijeka's season meanwhile is petering out into midtable obscurity.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Belgian Tennis player Justine Henin returned to the WTA Tour at the start of the year after taking a break from the game since 2008 when she announced her retirement from the game. Henin is regarded as one of the most exciting attack minded tennis players in the modern era with the flair comparable to Roger Federer.

At the age of 27 the dedicated likable Belgian has 41 WTA titles and has won The Australian Open in 2004, The French Open in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and the US Open in 2003 and 2007. It has however not been easy for Henin. In 1995 she lost her mother to cancer. She also endured a long time estranged from her family, before recently being reunited. She also married, but later divorced and suffered illness due to a immune system problem which left her with little strength. It was therefore a well earned rest for Justine during 2008 and 2009 where she was able to focus on new things such as charity work and a Belgian TV programme in which she engaged in several different tasks.

Following the successful return to tennis of compatriot and Davis Cup teammate Kim Clijsters, Henin made her own comeback in 2010 and reached the final of the Australian Open. It is just the start for Henin who has a strong following and respected by critics. At 5ft7 Henin manages to overcome opponents much stronger and taller than her, but through huge heart, talent and energy has made herself a major reputation in the game. Henin is also credited with having one of the best one handed back hands the game has ever seen. This following interview carried out with English TV gives an insight into Henin as a person and as a player. Best of luck Justine in 2010.

Justine Henin Interview

Saturday, 13 March 2010


Croatia remain on the hunt for a replacement for Niko Kovac to fill the role of solitary defensive midfielder to play alongside Luka Modric. Kovac's retirement was first entrusted to Genoa's Ivan Juric, but at 34 years old is not regarded to be the future. Juric at 1.75m also lacked height and physical presence. After one friendly match V Romania, one non event V Andorra and the decisive 2-2 draw with Ukraine, Juric was dropped to the bench and is currently out the squad entirely.

Next man to step forward was Dinamo Kiev's Ogjnen Vukojevic who enjoyed excellant seasons at Dinamo Zagreb winning titles in 2007 and 2008, before switching to Ukraine where he immediately won a first team place and the league Championship in his first season. The club also reached the semi finals of the Europa Liga. Closer inspection however would suggest that Vukojevic has been sharing the role of combative midfielder with Nikola Pokrivac in Zagreb and with Tamas Mykhalyk at his current club. Vukojevic also has a taste for moving forward and pressurising on the ball. In Croatia Vukojevic registered 11 goals in the 2007/ 08 season. Vukojevic would therefore appear unaccustomed to the task holding off a opposition alongside a lightweight Modric.

Tomislav Dujmovic, however is much more used to the role of sitting and protecting his backline, which he has done to great success with Lokomotive Moscow and Amkar Perm. Dujmovic is 1.86m in height, only slightly taller than Vukojevic, but more fiercely built player. Aierily Dujmovic also appears stronger than Vukojevic and is often seen at Lokomotive taking the ball from his back line to feed the more creative talents in midfield. If Dujmovic can hold his place in a increasingly ambitious Lokomotive side then many Croatia fans would like to see him get the start in the coming matches. Siena's Mato Jajalo and Red Bull Salzburg's Nikola Pokrivac are also on the fringes of the side. Jajalo however is relegated threatened, whilst Pokrivac's appearence in a inferior league doesn't help his cause at the present moment in time.

Both Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic were in similar positions a year ago. Both were regularly selected in the national team with Slaven Bilic overlooking the talents of Sporting Gijon's Mate Bilic, Rapid Vienna's Nikica Jelavic and even at times proven Bundesliga striker and Euro 2008 star Ivan Klasnic. The situation however has now changed with even Palermo's super sub Igor Budan back in the goals. Kalinic is spending time with the Under 21's whilst Mandzukic continues to do for Dinamo against inferior opposition. With Eduardo back, Mladen Petric, Olic, Klasnic and also Bilic now on board it is unlikely their will be room for one of Mandzukic, Kalinic or Jelavic on a regular basis. All must fancy their chances in circumstances of injuries with Klasnic, Eduardo and Petric particularly vulnerable in this area. However 70% of the time Slaven Bilic is likely to decide on one or the other. With Mario Mandzukic likely to transfer in the summer, Kalinic will not need to worry about pressure from Dinamo Zagreb to get Mandzukic his neccessary caps for too much longer. Both have impressive HNL1 stats. However Kalinic is now finally starting to prove himself in a top foriegn league despite a slow start whilst Mandzo is still waiting to transfer. It is likely when both players begin the next season they will be in a showdown in their respective clubs to get the call from Bilic.

Drago Gabric and Ivan Perisic belong to a new breed of Croatian midfielders emerging to aid Slaven Bilic squad. Kaiserslautern's Ivo Ilicevic and Dinamo's Milan Badelj also continues to intrigue the national team selectors, but are not expected to boom till next season. Gabric and Perisic however are already performing in a Tier 2 league with Trabzonspor and Club Brugge respectively. Gabric currently holds a place in Croatia's squad having ousted Anas Sharbini. Gabric is regarded as a steady tactically minded creative player, maybe lacking the flair of Kranjcar, Rakitic or Modric, but with the reliability of Dario Srna who can play right or left or as emergency full back. Its Gabric's workrate and energy which may have him in the squad at present ahead of the more mecurial Ilicevic, Badelj and Sharbini. Gabric is also with a strong club in a respected league that features giants Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas. Gabric has been playing well at club level, but at present seems behind Rakitic, Srna on the right and Kranjcar and Pranjic on the left.

When the Under 21's complete competitive action Ivan Perisic hopes to join Milan Badelj and Nikola Kalinic in pushing for a place in Croatia's first team squad. Perisic will bring to Croatia what they seem to lack from central midfield which is goals. Perisic can play right, left, centrally and in attack. Perisic brought 8 goals last season whilst on loan at Rosesaleare and this season has found 9 in all competitions for Brugge which has brought him to the attention of stronger clubs after only a year and a half of competitive action. It would not be surprising if Perisic's assent all meant regular appearences in Bilic's squad for the 2012 qualification campaign. Perisic appears to have it all. Both strong on his right and left side. A good runner with decent pace and at 1,80m he is excellant in the air and a serious threat from corners and crosses which has seen him compared in playing style to Mikael Ballack. This is a player which Croatia do not have in their current squad or wider squad. Kranjcar, Rakitic and Modric are known a highly technical creator with excellant crossing, dribbling and passing ability. Gabric, Srna and Pranjic also have good creative ability combined with excellant workrate and stamina. Badelj and Ilicevic will also supply the similar qualities to Modric, but none of these players are as proficient in the penalty as Perisic who is eager to get on the end of chances.

Friday, 12 March 2010


NK ZAGREB 3 VARTEKS 0 (Vugrinec, Abdurahimi 2)
ISTRA 1961 1 SESVETE 0 (Zupan)
MEDIMURJE 1 OSIJEK 1 (Vuka/ Hrncevic)

It was a dreary week in the Croatian league on Saturday as three matches finished goalless. Dinamo Zagreb was one of the culprits for providing little excitement as they drew at home to Zadar. Cibalia ensured they stayed in second after in form Zjelko Malcic struck home a penalty to see off Lokomotiva. With Sibenik, Belupo, Karlovac and Osijek also drawing it was as you were. Similarly down the bottom Zapresic, Medimurje and Zadar only picked up a point, which allowed Zagreb and Istra to benefit as they both claimed victories.

NK Zagreb beat Varteks, whilst Istra won their second straight game after Dragan Zupan's goal defeated Sesvete. The three points was hugely important for both sides as they are finally both within just a win of Zadar, Medimurje, Zapresic and more aminously Varteks immediately above them. Varteks look in serious trouble as they are now starting to shows signs that the clubs off field financial troubles is effecting the team. Zagreb's Davor Vugrinec showed why he was once a Croatian international with a outstanding free kick, whilst Croatia appears to have a new creative star in Besart Abdurahimi who scored two fine goals and has been on fire lately.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Tomislav Sokota moved onto four goals for the season despite another poor performance by out of form Lokeron. Sokota, had been experiencing a disappointing season with only 2 goals, one of which was disputed, but his recent strikes against Westerlo and now in the 4-1 defeat against Charleroi may have improved matters. The side, who also have Ivan Leko and Mario Carevic on their roster are hugely threatened by relegation.

It is questionable whether Lokeron will retain any of their Croats, but Sokota's recent improvement may at least ensure interest from the HNL1 at the end of the season. Dinamo particularly having seen the benefits of experienced players such as Zjelko Sopic and Nino Bule would be happy to see a few elder heads in Lokomotiva's changing rooms to help their young stars of the future.

Another player enjoying a more impressive goalscoring spree is Krunoslav Lovrek. Since moving to the Korean League with Jeonbuk Motors, the 30 year former NK Zagreb player just cannot stop scoring. Lovrek only recently joined the club in January but has netted three times and made his first appearence in Asia's version of the Champions League. Lovrek's experiences may attract other Croatians to venture to the Far East. Lovrek's main motivation for the transfer was the break out of a impossible situation with former club Eskirespor who were holding his registration and preventing his return to Croatia. The same situation to which prevents Stjepan Poljak moving across to HNK Rijeka and kaiboshed any deal happening in Poland.

In other news Bosnian international Dragan Blatnjak has switched to FK Rostov after FK Moscow pulled out of the Russia Premier League due to problems with their sponsor. Moscow acquired Blatnjak and Karlovac's Goran Drmic as they hoped of starting the season, but Blatnjak has now been forced to go elsewhere.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Although a somewhat surprising one to watch, with no hope of entering the Croatian national team or even to that matter likely to be on the wishlist of Dinamo or Hajduk, nevertheless Olympiakos Volos striker Domogoj Abramovic has been reminding people he can play a little in recent months.

The 28 year old is playing in the Greek second division and has been finding the net as they attempt to break into the top flight. Abramovic had an interesting career. For those that look to a players youth statistics as a measure of their abilities to establish themselves at senior level Abramovic would go down as a peculiar case. In fact Abramovic found youth football easy scoring over 100 goals whilst in Dinamo Zagreb's academy. He also found life HNL2 childs play smashing 16 goals in 20 games whilst loaned out to Croatia Sesvete and then eight in 16 during the early revival of the new HNL1 force that is Lokomotiva Zagreb. Unfortunately though Abramovic will have to go down as a HNL1 flop. At Dinamo he scored only 4 times and failed to convinced the coaches he was worth a place in the side. In a loan spell in Cibalia he also didn't impressed, leading him to quit Croatian football and move to Croat enclave side Sikori Briceg in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Abramovic was excellant in the Bosnian league scoring 34 goals and helping them to titles in 2004 and 2006. He then made the surprise switch to Finland where he won the league with Inter Turku in 2008 with a brief flurry of goals hitting 7 goals in just 12 games. Greek side Thrasyvoulos then boughted the striker in attempt to save them for relegation. The move failed to pay off with just the one goal leading to his switch to Volos. That has however gone far better and Abramovic at 28 is back on the way up. Volos are in top spot and a whole 9 points ahead of OFI in third position.


Bosnian international Mirko Hrgovic has returned to former club NK Sikori Briceg, the club announced on Tuesday morning. Hrgovic was made a free agent after falling out with his coach at German Bundesliga 2 side Greunther Feurth. He also spent time at both Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split where he fell foul of both supporters after two seperate incident during the countries winter Indoor tournament.

Hrgovic is an attack minded left sided player, who suffered whilst at Dinamo due to being used in defence. He faired better at Hajduk Split before departing for the Japanese league with JEF United. Hrgovic has also played with Wolfsburg, whom he joined in 2003 from Bosnia's Sikori Briceg. He played 35 times in his previous spell with Sikori scoring 15 goals. He has also played 30 times for the Bosnian national team scoring 3 goals. Hrgovic follows in the footsteps of Mirslav Karoglan in returning to his old team and should receiving clearence to play within the week.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


VARTEKS 0 ISTRA 1961 2 (Andelkovic, Sehic)
RIJEKA 1 CIBALIA 1 (Krizman/ Malcic)
ZAPRESIC 0 HAJDUK 3 (Strinic, Ibricic 2)
SLAVEN BELUPO 2 SIBENIK 2 (Delic, Rogulj/ Alispahic, Medvid)
SESVETE 2 MEDIMURJE 1 (Pokrajcic, Zubak/ Vuka)
ZADAR 1 KARLOVAC 1 (Santini/ Jerniec)

Hajduk Split made it two wins in two games under new coach Stanko Poklepovic as they overcame Inter Zapresic 3-0 with two goals from Senijad Ibricic and the other coming from Ivan Strinic. The win moves them up to 4th place, with none of the sides around them claiming victories. Hajduk are now just three points from second place Cibalia and just one point behind Sibenik. It was also a good week for Lokomotiva who move up to seventh after Nino Bule's 10th of the season saw of neighbours NK Zagreb.

For Igor Stimac sides, the defeat to Lokomotiva leaves them now 5 points adrift of safely. Although Zapresic, Varteks, Medimurje and Zadar are all struggling for form. Zagreb now slip down to second from bottom in the table as Istra defeated Varteks 2-0. Asim Sehic scored his eighth of the season. It was excellant start for new coach Zoran Vulic who replaces Valdi Sumberac. Sesvete also stunned Medimurje 2-1 with goals from Pokrajcic and Zubak. The club appointed Drazen Jerkovic in the week in place of Adolf Pintar.