NK Široki Brijeg coach Toni Karačić has called on his side to build on six successive league victories and catch Bosnia-Herzegovina's Premijer Liga leaders, the side that knocked them out of the cup, Borac Banja Luka.
Široki Brijeg have climbed to within touching distance of Borac at the top of the table, moving to within three points of the pacesetters with a game in hand. Borac's 3-1 aggregate cup victory over their nearest league challengers has merely served to spice up the battle for top spot. "Borac eliminated us from the Bosnia-Herzegovina Cup, so now we only have the national championship title to go for," Karačić said. "We want to catch Banja Luka's team and win the title at the end of the season."
Two-time league winners – in 2004 and 2006 – Široki Brijeg were knocked out of Europe this season by SK Sturm Graz of Austria, losing 3-2 on aggregate in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. Karačić is determined that they now channel all their focus on league matters, paying particular attention to improving a record of two defeats in five away fixtures. "The most important thing is that we play very well away, and bring points," he added.
Titleholders NK Zrinjski continue to struggle to make their mark once again and have dropped to eighth, nine points adrift of the leaders, having picked up just a draw from their last two fixtures. That came on 25 October against a FK Slavija Sarajevo side who have also belied their status as pre-season favourites to fall to 14th in the 16-team league, just two points clear of bottom-placed FK Laktaši.
Such travails prompted a change of coach in the capital, with Milomir Odović the man charged to arrest the club's slide following the departure of Zoran Erbez. Erbez is not the only man to have been relieved of his duties, with Amir Durgutović replacing Ratko Ninković after his resignation from his post at NK Zvijezda Gradačac, and Marko Stojić filling the void left by Zoran Čurguz at FK Modriča.
The cup, meanwhile, continues in haste in Široki Brijeg's absence, with last season's finalists – winners Slavija and runners-up FK Sloboda Tuzla – meeting in the quarter-finals. Former winners FK Željeznicar and Zrinjski will also be joined in the last eight by previous finalists Borac, Sloboda and FK Leotar, with the semi-final lineup being decided on 11 November.
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