Influential NK Dinamo Zagreb vice-president Zdravko Mamić is certainly not underselling the Group D meeting with FC Spartak Moskva on Thursday, announcing it will be "the match of decade" for the Croatian Prva Liga leaders.
Mamić warmed up for the big game by sacking coach Branko Ivanković on Monday and promoting his assistant Marijan Vlak to the top job for a fourth spell at the helm. Ivanković, who led Dinamo to a domestic double in 2006/07, left the team for the second time in less than 12 months – on both occasions with the Croatian side at the top of their domestic standings.
With Dinamo's form in the league falling short of Mamić's expectations, Ivanković left by mutual consent not long after answering questions about the Spartak game in a press conference on Monday night. Mamić certainly wants to see something special against the Muscovites. A home win would give Dinamo an excellent chance of progressing – only once in the four-year history of the UEFA Cup group stage has six points not been enough to qualify – and Mamić is making no secret of what the game means to him. "The match against Spartak Moskva is the match of the decade for us," he said.
"If we win this match, we can stay in Europe until the spring but we need our fans for that," he added. "We need 20,000 fans to make a real atmosphere at the stadium. I will be 50 next year and I don't have much time left to be happy at Dinamo, and I don't want leave as a loser. If I leave without success, my life will be unsuccessful too. I want the players to sparkle for Dinamo."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.