The Bosnian Premijer Liga has begun with results that suggest an exciting season is in the offing, with FK Velež emphatically winning their opening two games and being one three clubs still boasting a 100 per cent record.
After struggling in the bottom half of the table last season, the Mostar-based outfit have hit the ground running this term, scoring nine goals and conceding one in defeating NK Travnik and FK Olimpik Sarajevo at home. Young coach Abdulah Ibraković is optimistic about the future: "The constant fight to stay in the league is now history," he said. "We have worked hard on the team and staff, and are looking to bring the glory back to one of the oldest clubs in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
FK Željezničar also opened their season with two wins, albeit in less freescoring fashion, at NK Čelik and at home to NK Široki Brijeg. The derby victories have filled the three-time champions with confidence, particularly so the 1-0 defeat of Čelik which was the club's first on the road in almost 800 days, a run dating back to 23 May 2007. Last season Željezničar accumulated only two points from 15 away games. FK Borac Banja Luka, surprise fifth-place finishers last term, lie second in the fledgling table following successive 2-0 defeats of FK Laktaši and FK Leotar.
However, FK Sarajevo – the only remaining Bosnian representatives in Europe – have made a less auspicious start, collecting one point from their opening fixtures. The capital club followed up their 1-1 draw with FK Sloboda Tuzla with a 3-0 defeat at FK Modriča, the match coming only three days after they defeated Helsingborgs IF 5-4 on penalties to reach the play-off round of the UEFA Europa League, where Romania's CFR 1907 Cluj await. Champions NK Zrinjski have also struggled for form early on, collecting just a point following an opening-day loss to NK Zvijezda Gradačac.
NK Laktaši's Vladimir Karalić had the honour of scoring the first hat-trick of the season. The striker took just 16 minutes to complete the feat during the 4-2 win against a Sloboda outfit who lost their coach, Sakib Makočević, a few days before the season started. Assistant coach Adnan Osmanhodžić, a Sloboda player until two years ago, has taken charge.
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