By Fuad Krvavac
NK Željeznicar and NK Zrinjski continue to lead the way in Bosnia-Herzegovina with a seven-point gap between them and third place, although champions NK Široki Brijeg are gradually improving.
Željeznicar remain first, but their lead has been cut to a single point after a shock 2-1 defeat by FK Leotar on 16 October. They have since recovered with three successive clean sheets to gain a draw and two wins, despite the resignation of their Czech coach, Jirí Plisek, ahead of the derby against FK Sarajevo.
Plisek's assistant Ismet Stilic took charge for the historic game, which marked the inauguration of the new Asim Ferhatovic-Haso stadium and the 50th anniversary of the fixture. Željeznicar's Aldin Kajtaz scored the only goal and Stilic has been rewarded with a caretaker's role. Sarajevo were also without a coach for the match, though they have since announced that Edin Prljaca will take the helm for the remainder of the season.
Despite the turmoil at Željeznicar, Zrinjski were unable to retain top spot, having briefly led before the goalless draw against Široki Brijeg on 31 October. They bounced back with a 3-1 victory at third-placed NK Orašje on Saturday, though, and are on course to challenge for their first league title.
Title-holders Široki Brijeg have yet to regain last season's sparkle but have improved after a poor start, and the 1-0 win against Leotar on Saturday stretched their unbeaten run to six games. They now lie fourth, a point behind Orašje, who continue to confound expectations with an exciting blend of attacking football that has brought 23 goals this season.
FK Modrica are fifth after a 2-0 win against FK Buducnost Banovici at the weekend, their first in four matches, which left the visitors second from bottom. FK Rudar Ugljevik remain at the foot of the table despite registering their third seasonal win against NK Posušje on Saturday under new coach Miroslav Timic, who has replaced Zvonko Ivezic. Another struggling side, NK Zepce have also changed coaches with Nikola Nikic succeeding Pavle Skocibusic.
But the month was marred by events at FK Borac Banjaluka. Their players went on strike ahead of the Bosnia-Herzegovnian Cup quarter-final against Sarajevo, which the club's youth side subsequently lost. The league game at FK Slavija Sarajevo was then awarded to the hosts after Borac failed to field eleven men and although the mid-table club did provide a team for last weekend's match against Sarajevo, the fixture was abandoned after a crowd disturbance. The Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation will decide what action to take in the next fortnight.
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