Pigeons or Fighters (Hajduk Beograd)

After the craziness of the derby, the Sunday morning fixture in the Serbian Srpska Liga (Belgrade Area) could have been a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show. The third tier fixture between FK Hajduk Lionu and FK Zemun took place at the Stadion Hajduka na Lionu, home of “The Pigeons” since 1953. Pigeons seemed a somewhat of an ill-fitting nickname for a Serbian football team, however, Hajduk itself translates as “fighters” so maybe this is more suitable.

The ground itself is interesting, hemmed in at both ends by flats, tall nets preventing balls landing on residents’ balconies. The near side has a smart clubhouse, dressing rooms and a scaffolding and wooden plank stand which was rammed for this 11.00am match. Opposite is a pitch length uncovered terrace, the left hand end being segregated with its own entrance for visiting fans. Zemun’s supporters arrived just before kick-off and in impressive numbers. Their match-long singing would preclude any possibility of a lie in for the local residents. There was edginess to their chanting, local reports of anger at the release of a Croatian warmonger was said to be the cause of their ire. The Zemun fans covered the fencing with colourful banners including one of, presumably, a heavily bearded Serb leader.

The Pigeons started the stronger and took the lead early on when full back Hema Tolovic lashed in a powerful strike. This goal separated the sides at the break. Zemun grew into the game, their young coach loudly berating his charges. His voluble instructions and the constant support of their ultras had the desired effect when skipper Nikola Rnic curled in an unstoppable free kick. Zemun looked like they were in the ascendancy and this was borne out when Rnic’s free kick was nodded in by centre back Borislav Terevic. The Zemun coach ran on the pitch to celebrate with his players, only to be ordered from the bench by the punctilious referee. This caused several moments of comedy when first a security guard and then an elderly Hajduk supporter stood in front of him to ensure he complied with the referee’s wishes. Like a caged tiger he paced at the back of the stand until the final whistle.

The whistle sounded and the Zemun players joined their supporters to celebrate a deserved victory over the course of the 90 minutes.

FK Hajduk Lionu Beograd (1)1 (Tolovic 13) FK Zemun (0)2 (Rnic 73, Terevic 84)

Attendance: 400 (approx)

Hajduk:

Dragoslav Poleksic; Hema Tolovic; Philip Belak; Milan Nisnic; Predrag Topuvic; Marko Tepavievic (c); Aleksandr Stamenkovic; Dejan Filipov; Ernes Dalifi; Bojan Bazhovic and Zdravko Kovacevic.

Subs: Milan Pantelic; Marko Zhivkovic (for Stamenkovic,46 mins); Sasa Paunovic (for Kovacevic,79 mins); Zoran Curic; Sasa Filipovic; Igor Milovic; Marko Vujovic.

Zemun:

Bojan Knezevic; Milos Zivkovic; Marko Rajovic; Nikola Rnic (c); Mirko Vunevievic; Borislav Terevic; Milos Terevic; Milos Malovac; Nikola Vukailovic; Nikola Moisilovic; Igor Miladinic and Dino Dolmajic.

Subs: Marko Pavlovic; Marko Divjak; Monsto Stojakovic; Philip Savic (for Moisilovic,88 mins); Stefan Okrebo (for Dolmajic,58 mins); Dejan Vukojevic; Goran Vukovic (for Vunevievic,63 mins).

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