Dinamo Zagreb dropped out the Champions League on Wednesday night after losing on penalties to FC Sherriff of Moldova. Despite the largely small sized opposition, Dinamo had FC Sherriff where they wanted them, but Miroslav Slepicka, Milan Badelj and Etto were not able to take there chances, whilst Sammir forced the keeper into two fine saves.
On this performance Dinamo still do not look ready to step into the high level competition of the Champions League. Although link play between Badelj, Etto and Sammir was impressive at times, Dinamo had no finish to their moves. Miroslav Slepicka lacked pace to lead the attack on his own and was too quick to pass up good opportunities to teammates. The Czech striker did not even step up during a long running penalty shoot out. Dodo also has not proved himself yet even at HNL1 level and may be farmed out on loan in the next week. Ante Rukavina, made his debut but does not look match fit or to have adjusted to his new surroundings yet so needs more time. Last night showed Dinamo however will not get by purely on Rukavina and will need another striker.
Inter Zapresic are waiting for players such as Dodo and Ilija Sivonjic to be sent over. Lokomotiva were keener to loan Dinamo's young players like Domagoj Antolic, but appear satisfied now with their forward line of Nino Bule, Tomislav Hajovic and Ivan Peko. Zapresic meanwhile are short in attack and would be keen to see their former players Dodo and Sivonjic return. Arguably Dinamo only recruited Sivonjic and Dodo to put resources into Zapresic who largely act as a feeder club to the Croatian Champions.
Dinamo can take heart from the performance of some of there players. Sime Vrsaljko missed one of the penalties, but looks a prospect as an attacking right back in the mould of Dario Srna, Marijan Buljat and Silvestar Sabolcki. Etto and Luis Ibanez also showed signs that they may be more useful to Dinamo in attack minded roles and applied themselves well last night. Similarly Sammir is playing his best football as the teams playmaker and Chago and Adrian Callelo appear to have fixed last season's issues in defensive midfield and are pressuring the ball well.
Worryingly however Milan Badelj has dropped off in form, although did show flashes of quality last night. Pedro Morales also did not feature when he has in the past proved to be the one player capable of brilliant finishing when Dinamo needed it. It seems apparent that Dinamo to enroll Morales in place of Slepicka if they are to improve their goalscoring threat.
In defence Leandro Cufre looks important. However Igor Biscan remains leggy and left back is also still an issue at this level. The rest i.e Tomislav Barbaric, Dario Simic and Leonard Mesaric are seen as cover. Despite this, the reasons for defeat were not in the defence last night. Although Dinamo lost the match may give confidence to Filip Loncaric.
How Zdravko Mamic may respond to this is likely to be through changing the strikers. Ante Rukavina will naturally stay and Slepicka will be kept for HNL1 matches and as a impact substitute. However Dodo and Sivonjic, who have affordably wages are likely to be leaving on loan. Dinamo has still not seen enough of Andrej Kramaric and he should stay on. A new number 9 is certain to arrive, most likely in the shape of Fatos Beciraj of Buducnost Podgorica.