Ground: Stadion HNK Rijeka
Date: 22nd July 2016
Match: Rijeka - Istra 1961 4-1 (1. HNL)
Attendance: 3 954
In Croatia there is always a game in 1. HNL on Friday evening. This Friday that game was Rijeka v Istra 1961 and at 10am my bus left the bus station in Zagreb. At 12.30 we arrived in Rijeka and my hotel was then a 15-minute walk from the bus station. The temperature was slightly lower than in Zagreb but 27-28 °C is still quite hot for someone from Sweden. After checking in at my hotel I did a short sightseeing tour of central Rijeka. With a population of 130 000 Rijeka is the third largest city in Croatia. Rijeka has a deep-water port and is situated in the Kvarner Bay, an inlet in the northern Adriatic Sea. Being quite hungry my sightseeing was a short one and I found a restaurant where I had lunch. I then went back to the hotel (where once again) the AC made life comfortable for me.
HNK Rijeka has since 1946 played at Stadion Kantrida. Being situated on top of the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea Kantrida has one of the most scenic settings anywhere in the world. The ground is old and outdated though and in time for the 2015/16 HNK Rijeka moved to a new temporary home. Kantrida is to be redeveloped into a modern stadium with a 15 000 capacity. As I undersand it the demolishing has not yet started and hopefully I will one day have the chance to visit the "old" Kantrida. The temporary ground is situated in Rujevica, where the club´s training complex is. Stadion HNK Rijeka, as the ground is officially called, has stands on three sides and a capacity of around 6 000. Having not being able to find out how to reach the grounds by public transport I booked a taxi and for the reasonable price og 6 Euros I was driven to the ground. From Rujevica you have a magnificent view of the city and the Adriatic Sea. I could even see the bridge to Krk which brought back a few memories. Not wanting to sit in the sun I decided to buy a ticket for the West Stand and I ended up buying one in the leftmost block. 180 HRK was a bit expensive though. Anyway, for a temporary ground I have to say Stadion HNK Rijeka is a nice ground. The magnificent views makes this ground almost as scenic as Kantrida.
HNK Rijeka started the season with a 3-0 victory against RNK Split and they started their first home gamed of the season in a similar way. After seven minutes Rijeka were 2-0 up and at half-time it was 3-0. Istra 1961 are from Pula (in the Istra peninsula) and brought around 30 fans to Rijeka. Not much for them to cheer about this evening. The game ended 4-1 to Rijeka who are now top of the table and I wouldn´t be surprised if they push Dinamo Zagreb all the way for the league title. Once the final whistle was blown an impressive firework display was set off the north end of the ground. My pre-ordered taxi showed up on time and at 22.15 I was back at my hotel.
Sightseeing pictures from Rijeka
View from my hotel room
Gradski Toranj (City clock tower)
View of Rijeka
Pictures from Rijeka v Istra 1961
View from outside the ground
View from outside the ground
Rear of the West Stand
Fans enjoying a pre-match drink
Players and officials entering the field
View of play
View of Stadion HNK Rijeka
Fireworks (set off after the game)