Our prediction for this Croatia HNL match:
All eyes will be on Stadion HNK Rijeka when Rijeka and Osijek face each other in the Croatian Cup semis on Sunday evening. Rijeka set up a meeting with Osijek by beating the likes of Buje (11-0), Varazdin (2-1) and Dinamo Zagreb (1-0), with the team moving one step closer to defending their trophy. The Rijecki bijeli are likely to adopt an attack-minded approach in Sunday’s football match as they have slim chances of winning the national championship.
Osijek, on the other hand, are eyeing a place in the Croatian Cup final for the first time since 2012, when they suffered a 3-1 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in the title game. The Bijelo plavi are not regarded as good travellers, which is probably the main reason why we are tempted to put our money on Rijeka this time out. In their last meeting in a competitive match Rijeka defeated Osijek 1-0.
Highlighted Player (Dario Zuparic):
Dario Zuparic is a Croatian footballer, who plays for Pescara as a defender. Zuparic played for the likes of Sladograna Zupanja, NK Granicar Zupanja and Cibalia during his youth career. He continued playing for Cibalia at senior level and he made 57 league appearances for the Croatian outfit from 2011 to 2013.
In 2013 he signed a contract with Pescara and made 21 appearances for the team in the 2013/2014 Serie B campaign. Zuparic quickly established himself as a first-team regular at Pescara and it has to be noted that he played 36 games for the Delfini in the 2015/2016 season. The Pescara highly rated defender was born in Croatia, but he started playing for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He has 3 caps for Bosnian and Herzegovina U19 team, but he eventually decided to represent Croatia on the international stage. Zuparic has 5 caps for Croatia U20 and he played three matches for Croatia U21. The 188-cm-tall footballer was born on 3 May, 1992 in Zupanja.
Highlighted Team (Rijeka):
Founded on July 29, 1946 as Sportsko Drustvo Kvarner, Rijeka are a Croatian football club that have always been in Dinamo Zagreb’s shadow. Dinamo are undisputedly the biggest football club in Croatia, but Rijeka did well to put an end to their dominance in the HNL in the 2016/2017 season.
The Rijecki bijeli won their first ever domestic trophy and, as a result, they made it to the Champions League qualifiers. However, Greek champions Olympiacos proved to be a big catch for Matjaz Kek’s troops in the play-offs for the group stages of the elite competition.
Before the breakup of Yugoslavia Rijeka won two domestic cups (1977/1978, 1978/1979) and it has to be noted that they clinched their fourth Croatian Cup title in 2017, with the team beating Dinamo Zagreb in the final of the competition. Rijeka welcome their rivals at Stadion Rujevica and the capacity of the stadium is 8.279. The venue was opened in August 2, 2015.