HNK Hajduk Split captain Mario Maloča said his team had proved the doubters wrong after sealing the Croatian Cup with a thrilling 5-4 aggregate final victory over NK Lokomotiva Zagreb.
Hajduk began the second leg in the capital 2-1 up, but within nine minutes it was all square as Mario Šitum struck for Lokomotiva. Goals from Ivan Vuković (45) and Tino-Sven Sušić (52) swung the tie back in the Split outfit's favour and although Andrej Kramarić (71) revived home hopes, Danijel Stojanović's strike within 60 seconds effectively killed them off.
"People were telling us [last summer] that we would be fighting to survive relegation this season," said Maloča, whose team were given a scare in added time when Karlo Bručić found the net with a stunning effort to make it 3-3 on the night. "After all our hard work and effort we have won a trophy. We deserved it. We are aware how difficult the situation is and what this success means for the club."
Hajduk also exceeded expectations by finishing third in the league behind champions GNK Dinamo Zagreb and Lokomotiva. Cup success means Igor Tudor has picked up his first title as coach, just three weeks after he replaced Miše Krstičević at the helm.
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