Europe: Big kick-off in Croatia, Romania and Moldova; Leagues Round-Up
The league championships of Croatia, Romania and Moldova kicked off this weekend whilst some countries league championships are a couple of weeks old now. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the best of the recent action across Europe.
Croatia’s Prva Liga saw the big two, Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split, record big victories this weekend and, thus, began the new season in their usual place at the top of the table. Champions Dinamo easily saw off the challenge of newly-promoted Hrvatski Dragovoljac 4-1 with all the goals coming in the first forty-five minutes. Cup holders Hajduk did better beating NK Istra 6-1 with brothers Anas and Ahmad Sharbini both getting on the scoresheet.
In Romania both defending champions CFR Cluj and their rivals Unirea Urziceni could only muster goalless draws away at Universitatea Craiova and Pandurii Târgu Jiu respectively. This left the door open for three clubs from the capital Bucharest to go above them with Rapid, Dinamo and Steaua among the early pacesetters beating FC Vaslui, FC Astra and Universitea Cluj respectively.
In Moldova champions FC Sheriff Tiraspol have set the ball rolling for another anticipated season of dominance with an easy 3-0 home win against local rivals FC Tiraspol with all the goals coming in the second half. Zimbru Chişinău, who were the dominant force in Moldovan football until FC Sheriff began their run of success, also won their opening match by three goals to nil against FC Sfintul Gheorghe.
The Ukrainian Premier League is three matches old now and the only team with a prefect 100% record is FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk preserving this record with a 5-1 rout of FC Illichivets Mariupol thanks in part to Yevhen Seleznyov who scored a hat-trick. The big two of Dynamo Kyiv and champions Shakhtar Donetsk are still unbeaten after victories this weekend against Metalist Kharkiv and FC Zorya Luhansk respectively kept them two points off the summit. Arsenal Kyiv lost their 100% record this weekend going down to a 1-0 home defeat against PFC Sevastopol.
In Switzerland defending champions FC Basel have set the tone after two games after their 2-1 win over FC Sion ensured that they were the only team with a 100% record.
In neighbouring Austria Sturm Graz, Wiener Neustadt and Austria Wien also have perfect starts to the season after two matches beating FC Kapfenberg, Rapid Wien and LASK Linz respectively on matchday two of the new Bundesliga season.