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The Adriatic Adventure - FM11

FM 2011
Started on 26 September 2012 by tbendis
Latest Reply on 27 February 2013 by tbendis
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A spectacular Hajduk kept it going against Scandinavian opponents, thrashing the Norweigens at home 6-1 before carrying it over to Norway, scoring another three goals to make it through to the final qualifying round.
Of course, the obvious question is: "who scored?", and we have that answer, although it might take a while to get through: Vukuši?, Malo?a, Kušnír, Zajac all scored in the first leg, while Malo?a, Vukuši? and ?op scored in Oslo.
Hajduk are obviously going for broke, trying to desperately get into the group stage to try to make a little bit of a better impression than they did last year, where, although they ended on a high, kicking Bayern out in the last match. After two matches going, basically, as far North as they could for the qualifying matches, Hajduk finally get a match closer to home, where they play against FK Austria Wien in Vienna.
The team is ready, the players are ready, and the coach is ready. What people should be aware of is whether everyone else is ready for Hajduk.
Austria Wien started both legs with goals within the first three minutes. Both from long range, both bringing Hajduk down. Duje ?op, fortunately, showed up in the first half of the first leg to even it out and bring the first leg to a close in Vienna, 1-1.
However, when Hajduk conceded again in Split, Bendiš was less than happy... Roland Linz popped up to grab the opening goal, but, after the early goal, it was all Hajduk. Frano Mlinar assisted Vukuši? for him to dash up the middle and poke the ball home for 1-1 late in the first half. Then, it was Ivan Mili?evi?, who, as usual dashed up the right to get a ball into the middle for Vukuši?, again, to volley into the net, before Peter Zajac ran up the left cut the ball right for Vukuši? and the open net, taking Hajduk, yet again, to the Champions League, and another chance at glory.

The Champions League Group stage has been drawn again, and, while there are no clear-set groups of death, the hardest one to get out of will certainly be Group G, with Liverpool, Juventus, and Schalke, all pushing out CFR Cluj. Hajduk Split is in a slightly easier group than last year, with Palermo, Galatasaray, and Athletico Madrid, while AC Milan follows up their Serie A championship with an easy group: CSKA, Standard, and Monaco. English Champions: Chelsea are facing Beškitas, Porto, and Celtic. Finally, Barcelona is facing Wolfsburg, AEK, and Ajax, the last of whom beat out Leverkusen to make the appearance.
So, I have a small back-up... of files... here goes
A dismal Hajduk lost against last place Karlovac as Karlo Primorac made an early header count. The game was a large bore, as Ryan Babel and Ondrej Kušnír made several attempts to get up the wing, but simply couldn't get it done. On the other hand, Sunara, the Karlovac goalkeeper from Split made sure to hold off all attempts at goal, foiling Peter Zajac, Ante Vukušić and Duje Čop, chasing his 25th goal for Hajduk and his 25th career goal. Hajduk go down amid speculation of the Sparta Prague job opening up, and Bendiš seeming to get the nod for the, admittedly, higher profile job.

Hajduk manager, Timmy Bendiš, who has been associated with Sparta due to his transfer market activities, has turned down a triple in wages for a move to Prague. The Croatian manager has had two major deals go through with the Czechian club: Ondrej Kušnír, a relevation for the Croatian club, and Roberto Punčec, who, since his move to Prague, has been a relevation for the Czech's. However, with recent under-par performances in the league, Slovakian Roman Golian has gotten the sack, and the first place Sparta looked was down the coast... at the club founded in the same city. Bendiš, however, seems to be enjoying his place in the Champions League.
HNK RIJEKA 2-4 HNK HAJDUK Bezjak x2 - Mlinar, Čop, Kušnír, Vukušić
Bendiš took to the pitch yet again, as the tactical mastermind looked to outsmart fellow manager, notable for taking small teams (most often Rijeka) to big upsets, with a new, hyper-attacking formation, as he neglected Coelho on the right flank in favour of home-boy Mirko Oremuš, and decided to favour 3 strikers to 4 defenders. The final result? Hajduk, while slightly unprepared in opposition counter-attacks were ferocious in the opposite box, with 18 year old wünderkind Peter Zajac and 20 year old Ante Vukušić flanking a towering Duje Čop for the 3-4-3. It was, however, Frano Mlinar that decided the first goal, as he slammed a free-kick from way out to open the scoring early, before Rijeka's Svaguša got a red card five minutes later. Rijeka managed to pull back off of a corner, but then it became the massive target man's turn, as Duje Čop got to a rebound and got it past the keeper moments after the equalizing goal, and moments before the half time whistle. Some say, however, that Bendiš was still not pleased, and perhaps, because of this, Miličević did what he did and rushed up the left flank to cross (as he has many times this season) to empty space... soon filled up by the very quick Czech: Ondrej Kušnír for 3-1. Bezjak did bring it to 3-2 for Rijeka, but then it was Peter Zajac's turn, as he ran up the left flank to cross to Ante Vukušić for 4-2. Karlo Težak and Jure Vladović were among the substitutes who made appearances, two very young prospects, while Marko Livaja is firing on all cylinders for the youth team.

The result did have a bit of bitter taste to it, though, as it is widely presumed that the reason Coelho didn't play is that Bendiš is trying to move away from his reliance on the right back, instead filling his spot with some home-made talent. And with Schalke and Genoa sniffing in Split, perhaps it is time for Bendiš to cash in on the 29 year old, who, if we remember, he received for free three seasons ago. In fact, if you factor in the wages, Bendiš still makes a cool million euro's on the proposed transfer fees of 1.4 M €... for a net profit in the Croatian division, that isn't half bad, and should help finance the mad rushes for the youth prospects of the world... No one is going to forget Gianluca Tacconi very quickly... for better, or for worse... as the "next big thing" moves from AC Milan to Hajduk Split for "only" 3 million... a huge sum for the Croatian manager.

The Croatian division, this season is characterised by two separate races: we have the one on the top, with defending champions Hajduk Split, managed by charismatic Timmy Bendiš, fighting a typically strong youth setup in Osijek, Zadar (populated by Bendiš's youth players) and Rijeka, and the race on the bottom, with Dinamo, 12 time former champion languishing only one spot above the relegation zone, with only one extra point between them and the red line of 10th place. It is a bit early in the season to be insinuating anything, but Dinamo's in for quite the race, especially if Hajduk (which is one of Dinamo's games in hand) has anything to say about it. Nothing would please Hajduk fans more than to see their biggest rivals fighting for their very survival, as charges of corruption and "odd player contracts" are starting to seem a bit louder...
GALATASARAY SK 2-2 HNK HAJDUK Altintop, Güner - Vukušić, Jonjić
In such a radically different formation than they played on Saturday that we're still pretty shocked they managed to pull it off, Bendiš's boys nearly got the win - twice - against a crowd of 35 000 at Turk Telecom Arena to get their qualifying campaign to a thundering start, snatching third place, and challenging Athletico for second.

Bendiš, throwing out the 3-4-3 from the win in Rijeka on Saturday implemented a - wait for it - 5-2-2-0-1, with Frano Mlinar pulling the strings and Ante Vukušić desperately alone all the way up front. However, he just managed to pull it off, as Mlinar, playing as a deep lying playmaker for the first time in his senior career made a GLORIOUS long range pass which Vukušić got to with ease, before rounding Enyeama and putting the ball into an empty net in the 33rd minute. Hajduk's five strong, tall defenders rarely looked like they were going to concede in the first half, and even dominated some spells of possession, but Hamit Altintop got lucky with a free kick after the break to make it 1-1.

To be fair, even Bendiš thought it was over... Kušnír was getting wound-up on the right flank, and with Miličević suspended, Tomičić just wasn't ready to play at that level alone on the left wing. However Kušnír showed why half of Europe is chasing him (literally) as he dashed past, not one, not, two, but three Turkish players before crossing to a superb diving Matej Jonjić for the lead yet again.
Unfortunately for Hajduk, it wasn't meant to be, as Güner scored a cheap shot, but with this superb defensive performance, one can only wonder if Hajduk can repeat similar antics and maybe, just maybe, qualify for the latter stages of the champions league.

Coelho, the Croatian/Brazillian right back free-kick maestro is leaving Hajduk after two and a half seasons for the German Schalke Gelsenkirchen. At the age of 29, Bendiš, not Coelho, decided it was time for the Brazillian to move on, as Mirko Oremuš is finally getting into his stride. The payments will be made over 48 months, with 20% going to Coelho. The net profit (including two and a half year's salary) is approximately 650 000 €, or, roughly 5% of the club's annual income last year (21 531 776 €)
A match Hajduk dominated, even with 10 men, resulted in a draw, as Osijek scored in the dying seconds of the second half against the run of play. The derby at the top of the table (Hajduk 1st with 25 from 11, Osijek 2nd with 21 from 12) was mostly dictated by Hajduk's forwards simply not getting a decent chance, even with Frano Mlinar setting them up in 3 on 2s again and again, and again (earning his first Croatia call up) but, while it can be argued that Hajduk definitely deserved to win this home fixture, an early red card for Denis Perger was enough for the three points to slip through their fingers.

While Frano Mlinar did set up the forwards many times, because they couldn't get their act together, the man of the match award went to an equally deserving Ondrej Kušnír, as the Czech assisted with a perfectly timed cross to a running Duje Čop. The pair seem to be finally gelling together (about bloody time... I can't wait 'till my 17 crossing winger and my 17 heading forward get their act together) as the towering target man headed in a 100% chance. Oddly enough though, Ante Vukušić, usually one of the best players on the pitch, was simply unlucky, as the local boy simply couldn't get the ball into the net.

After the match, for the first time in years, three Hajduk players were called up to the Croatian national team for the world cup qualifiers. First among them is the stalwart goalkeeper, Stipe Pletikosa, arriving for his 92nd cap, while Mario Maloča has the opportunity to win cap #2, and Frano Mlinar can make his senior debut, after leading the U20 team to glory in Columbia.

After 10 games (admittedly, two less than most of their companions in the lower end of the Croatian division) Dinamo find themselves in a precarious position: last. While they have two games in hand, the many-times Croatian champions are having trouble this season, and a win against Istra seems unrealistic, much less so than their other game in hand against Hajduk. Hristo Stoičkov is supposedly lined up to be the replacement, but can he save the team?

Hajduk continues it's dismal start to the 2013 season with another draw against Osijek, as they thoroughly dominated the Northern side, and yet, failed to score a goal until the 67th minute. Osijek, on the other hand, scored early (in the 7th minute) to stress the boys from Split out early.
Vedran Nikši? got on the other end of a badly defended corner, as Danijel Subaši? stood no chance for the Osijek player's toe in. Then, Hajduk proceeded to orchestrate half-chance after half-chance, never making it into something decent, grabbing an enormous statistic of 17 shots versus Osijek's 4. And even when Hajduk did score, it wasn't even that decent of the chance. A big cross into the middle from Mili?evi? ended up near the new Osijek keeper, Flavio Kretzer, who sorta-kinda cleared it to, yet again, Ivan Mili?evi? who, far less convincingly, thwocked the ball towards the middle. Duje ?op, seeing the unconvincing cross, went for the impossible, and, with something straight out of... well not a textbook... but... got his foot over his head to pull the overhead kick goal out of his hat, and into the goal, to the roar of everyone, even the home fans who had just lost two points. For a goal like that, everyone deserves a standing ovation.
Without a doubt, the shoe in for the goal of the month, if not the season.

A draw to Dinamo and to Osijek, the two frontrunners of the First Division (except for Hajduk), and two losses, against Šibenik and Karlovac (the lowest teams of the division) leave Hajduk in dead last. With two points from four matches. Bad warm up in any case.

Peter Zajac scored two, as a thankful Hajduk moved on from their four game streak without a win to grab the 2013-2014 season's first league win. Poljud had been waiting for quite a while for a decent matchup, as both of their big matches (Dinamo, Osijek) had been away from home, but, with the Adriatic derby finally being played in Split, the young Hajduk side took full advantage, scoring four.

Peter Zajac, last year's Croatian First Division Young Player of the Year, and one of Slovakia's youngest capped players (19 years 86 days vs. Slovenija) opened the scoring early, as Frano Mlinar finally go this game on with a delightful through pass that split two sets of defenders for the Slovakian to place the ball into the top right corner and take the lead for Hajduk. It is important to note that Hajduk had not yet had the lead in the Croatian First division this season. And they didn't hold it long this time either.

Ivan Baraban scored off of a penalty of Alex, the Brazil U20's captain (on loan from Hajduk parent club OM) only 9 minutes after the Zajac goal. It is interesting to note that, while Bendiš has little faith in the loanées from his parent clubs, he was was losing what faith he had fast with Alex's performance. And then it happened again, as Alex failed to come out to guard a certain Roman Bezjak, who walloped a shot from 25 meters for the 1-2 lead for Rijeka.

Then, however, Hajduk got their game back together, as Frano Mlinar scored in the end of the first half for 2-2, also from pretty far out, before assisting for Ante Vukuši? in the 48th minute for the lead and playing a big part in Zajac's 55th minute goal for 4-2.

Rijeka did manage to get a goal back in the 72nd, but, despite a late push, it was Hajduk who, for the first time in a month, managed to hold on, specifically Alex, who made a number of game saving tackles to grab Hajduk's first league win this season.

Denis Krklec, Croatia U20's hero from 2010, as he stepped in as the main keeper for the youth squad has joined Hajduk for 250 000 € on a five year contract, looking to replace Stipe Pletikosa as a back-up keeper, and perhaps Danijel Subaši? as the long-term first choice.
Meanwhile, Adriano has joined Internacional in Brazil on loan, as he looks to gain first team experience, rather than taking a permanent transfer somewhere else in Europe, while Hajduk announce a link with Olympique de Marseille, cutting the ribbons with the one-year loan of Brazil U20 captain, Alex. Alexandre Maragon has spent only 9 days in France before joining Hajduk, but looks to be the perfect replecement for Adriano on the bench. Because would you rather have your player on the bench, or playing 90 minutes a game in one of Brazil's best teams.
Finally Timmy Ivo Bendis gets a victory. Great stuff. :)
2012-11-30 07:22#70060 akash.vidyasagar : Finally Timmy Bendis gets a victory. Great stuff. :)

I have to start getting them somewhere :)

Ante Vukuši? grabbed a hattrick to send HNK Hajduk to their third consecutive Champions League Group Stage, as the Slovakian Champions failed to get a shot on Denis Krklec's goal. The result leaves Hajduk with yet another enormous payout, and, for the first time, a third seed in the Group Stage, as the Croatians can finally look forward to an easier draw, and perhaps an easier knock-out stage. The result is also notable for being the first home match that had a better result (in the qualifying stages) at home, than away (0-2 vs. 3-0).

Despite the goal-scorer, the result was marred by a horrific injury to one of Hajduk's best players: Duje ?op, who was hacked down in the box, only for a penalty not to be awarded. Fortunately, it wasn't anything serious, as he will be back on the pitch in a month, but it motivated substitute Peter Zajac, the Slovakian, to get back at his home's champions. From quite far out, Zajac got the ball into the box and off the post, before one of the Slovakian's cleared it in the path of a certain Gianluca Tacconi, who blitzed up the wing to cross the ball to a waiting Ante Vukuši?, who simply had to keep the ball down - and that he did - opening the scoring in the 15th minute.

Vukuši? continued, as Mlinar, everpresent in Hajduk this season, made another now-famous through ball for Vukuši? to receive and dribble around Slovan's goalkeeper for 2-0. And, as if he wanted to show Europe what he was capable of, Vukuši? finished his scoring from outside the box in the 67th for an impressive 3-0 at Poljud. Taken off in the 75th for Marko Livaja, the hometown boy, Vukuši? was given a standing ovation, and in the 90th, the whole team was cheered through the town, as they celebrated yet another appearance in the biggest league in the world.

tbendis's avatar Group tbendis
10 yearsEdited

In, A.) what was billed to be an Atletico victory, and B.) The "most exciting tie of the round" and "a shock result" (according to the Champions League round-up), Bendiš got it all right, as, at odds of 4-1 against, the Croatian league champions tore through a strong Atletico side in front of 31 000 eager, thrilled supporters on the first Champions League group-stage day.

And, to be honest, it looked like it from the start. Peter Zajac made a huge claim for fame, and was as deserving of the match's first goal as he was of his first Slovakia goal only last week, as he danced through the box, only to be clattered to the ground from behind by a clumsy Sebastian Bassong tackle. The Swiss referee, Carlo Bertolini was nearby, and showed no hesitation as he pointed to the spot for the Slovakian to finish the job past Daniel De Gea for a huge lead for the Croatians 1-0.

But he wanted more, and, not 10 minutes later, Vukuši? was the orchestrator of a fantastic play. Gianluca Tacconi, a new youngster from AC Milan who made the move to the Croatian coast this season for 3 M €, swung the ball in front of Ivan Mili?evi?, cutting inside from the left flank, before the Osijek born Hajduk player put in a through ball for Ante Vukuši?. Vukuši? calmly dribbled past two defenders to come in front of De Gea, only for Zajac to come up behind the keeper, receive Vukuši?'s horizontal pass, and go, from about 16 meters, for the goal, smashing it into the top right corner. The play was a brilliant showing in team effort, as both wingers and both strikers all combined with less than 15 touches to get the ball from the back into the net.

And then the fans waited. With the 2-0 lead they were thrilled, but Agüero and Forlán mean business, and they got in front of goal a couple times, only to be thwarted by Hajduk's 4 man defensive line, new to the Champions League this year (last year, they only played with at least 5 men in the back, frequently 6 or 7). And, while Hajduk were doing well in keeping the ball on Atletico's side of the pitch, it happened on occasion that the Spaniards would get uncomfortably close, and it happened one to many times in the 75th minute, as Felipe Anderson got a simple pass at the edge of the box to power it into the top corner to fuel Atletico's desire for a comeback.

Which simply wasn't meant to be, as Gianluca finished the game in front of his home fans, screaming and cheering like there was no tomorrow, for the final score of 3-1, and 2nd place in the group, as Olympique Lyonnais also won against a much easier opponent: Levski, 4:0 at home.

Also, CSKA Moskva won against United at Old Trafford against new manager Mike Phelan and new chairman Sir Bobby Charlton.

Hajduk provided two master classes in one week, as Denis Krklec made his first appearance agains his former club (as Hajduku against Varaždin), and Krešo Ljubi?i? did the same (as Varaždin against Hajduk) in the 4-0 away win for the reigning champions. Goals were scored by Frano Mlinar, Mili?evi?, and Andri?, along with an own goal, for the final score of 4-0, marking their first away victory in the league this season.

Stade de Gérland simply wouldn't let it happen. What Hajduk wanted, what they never deserved, and what they so much longed for, was a win, away in the Champions League. And, they kept on waiting, because Bendiš, getting ambitions employed a slightly defensive 4-1-3-2 tactic against the French Champions and came home with... well... nothing. On international television, Hajduk lost it early, as the French cheered far into the night over a big win against the Croatians.

It was Jonathan Biabany, over Inter and Parma fame who opened the scoring, after dashing up the right flank and managing to get past Denis Krklec in the first half, and, while the result stayed that way, Lopéz wouldn't have it, as he scored early in the second to demotivate the Croatians even further, and, somewhat irrelevantly, scored again, alongside Douglas to send them home with their tails between their legs.

Bendiš commented later, "It was an unrealistic match to win. I know that I am supposed to praise my players, but, where we have Frano Mlinar, they have Yoann Gourcuff, or Hugo Lloris instead of Denis Krklec. Or even Michel Bastos. I'm not saying that I would rather have their players, but they have a much more experienced, well rounded team, while Hajduk is... a lot of talented young players who haven't learned everything there is to learn yet, held together by a few older, but not by much, maestros, like Kušnír or Vukojevi?. I'm not saying that Vukuši? or Tacconi are bad players. On the contrary, they are excellent, but they are still young, and, at that level, it is hard to make a positive performance against such a strong Lyon. I blame myself for my ambition, and my optimism in the first half, but you [the press] need to understand that, as Rome wasn't built in a day, neither was Hajduk. It's a learning process. For all of us."

While Hajduk failed to win in the first division, they did manage to snatch a draw from Inter Zapreši? right after their Lyon game, before winning two more matches. Their 2nd round cup match was played by mostly U19 players and won 3-2 in Plo?e, Croatia, while Norweigen defender, Elton Ajazi scored a marvelous hattrick against Zadar in Hajduk's 4-0 victory. Zajac and Mili?evi? both scored in Hajduk's win against Karlovac, 2-0 at Poljud (Split), while their next match is against league leaders and fierce rivals: Dinamo Zagreb.

If Lyon wouldn't take a beating, Poljud was there to dish it out, and, unfortunately for the league leaders, they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. In only the second round of the Croatian cup, a one-leg round, Hajduk came back from behind to thrash the capital's players into submission, sending them onto the early bus home.

But, while the end result may look pleasing, the beginning certainly was not. Hajduk was just coming off a draw against local rivals, Šibenik, which, despite dominating the entire game, they only equalized in the 85th minute, after Šibenik scored early. When Tonel scored an improbable angle in the 6th, it looked like the writing was already on the wall - and Dinamo isn't Šibenik to lose the lead so easily. But while it took Zajac 75 minutes to hit back in Šibenik, it only took him 23 against Zagreb, as he received a pass at the edge of the box, teased one of Europe's transfer market's most interesting players, Tomislav Barbari? with a dribble worthy of Zidane himself, before calmly placing the ball through the legs of an oncoming Ivan Kelava.

In front of 29 000 people, ?op was the next one to fire Hajduk ahead, receiving Kušnír's wide pass and simply placing the ball into the middle, but the last goal was a thing of beauty. Winger, Ivan Mili?evi?, who even says that he is no good at scoring, dribbled all the way up the left flank, a position he has only learned recently, before cutting inside and drilling the ball straight across the mouth of the goal into the top right corner for a thrilling ending to the 3-1 spectacle, knocking Dinamo out of the cup so early, that they didn't even get a taste of actual opponents (only opponent was Croatia League 2, Me?imurje).

Hajduk got back to winning ways with a 4-1 win over Bulgarian champions Levski. ?op and Mili?evi? both scored (coincidentally, also the scorers against Dinamo) before Zajac finally got his game on, picking up two of his own. The only negative remark was Birá's free kick in the 78th minute, which grabbed a goal for the visitors. Atletico Madrid and Lyon drew 0-0 in Madrid the same evening, giving a big chance for Hajduk to claim top spot if they perform in Madrid and at home against Lyon.
Bayern posted a big loss against Feyenoord, as the Dutch scored twice in München. Real Madid top the group of death (Group G in my opinion) with 9 points from 3 matches. While Chelsea top Group H, Porto on the bottom. In group A, Barcelona and Tottenham both have 5 points, while Stade Rennais has 4 and Panathinaikos has 1, and Manchester United are in second behind 9 point CSKA Moskva, but ahead of HSV by three points (9, 6, 3, 0 Sheriff)


It was over in the first 20 minutes, as Bira, a Brazillian hot prospect, who was at some point being courted by Hajduk, got his red card in the third minute. Vukojevi?, captain for the day, scored a penalty in the 6th minute, before Zajac got his first goal of the night in the 18th minute for 0-2. And, if that wasn't enough, it was Matheus who actually finished the match off in the 21st minute, hacking down Frano Mlinar with both feet, grabbing the second Levski red card of the night, and keeping Levski down at the bottom of Group D.

The rest of the match was "uneventful" according to Levski manager, :
Zajac (30)
?op (58)
Zajac (63) for the hattrick.
Mlinar (75)
Mlinar (80)
and, possibly the worst part of the match, Mlinar missed a penalty in the 86th to fail to close out his first career hattrick.


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