By Elvir Islamovic
NK Dinamo Zagreb all but booked their place in the first round of the UEFA Cup with an emphatic 4-0 victory at home to NK Primorje thanks largely to three goals in the first 28 minutes of the match.
The victory gives the Croatian side a comfortable cushion for their visit to Slovenia for the second leg of their second qualfying round tie on 26 August, and Nicola Jurcevic's side will be confident of progressing to the competition proper.
Captain Niko Kranjcar set the home team on their way to victory at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, opening the scoring in the fourth minute with a top-class free-kick from the left that expertly found the corner of the net through a crowd of players.
The second goal arrived in the 19th minute as Dinamo midfield player Ivan Bosnjak tried his luck from around 20 metres and saw his shot take a wicked deflection off Primorje defender Goran Vicetic and loop high into the net.
Nine minutes later it was three, although again the goal had a touch of luck about it as Danijel Pranjic's strike was half-blocked only to rebound kindly for Goran Ljubojevic. The striker showed excellent composure to find Pranjic again with an unselfish pass, and this time the midfield player made no mistake, shooting into the top corner.
The visitors did have chances of their own in the first half, however, the best of them falling to Simon Gregoric on the half-hour but his shot from close to the penalty spot was stopped by Dinamo goalkeeper Ivan Turina, who was able to punch clear.
Kranjcar came close to his second and Dinamo's fourth two minutes after half-time having burst powerfully into the penalty area, but this time his aim was wayward and the ball went wide.
Primorje committed more men forward as the match wore on, with both Tim Lo Duca and Peter Kalin seeing shots saved by the excellent Turina in the 66th minute. Three minutes later and Dinamo had breached the visitors' defence again with Brazilian forward Eduardo da Silva the catalyst, breaking powerfully down the left and crossing perfectly for substitute Dario Zahora - who had only been introduced moments earlier - to score the fourth.
Zahora had another chance two minutes later, but this time his strike came back off the crossbar. It mattered little, however, as Dinamo controlled the match in the last 20 minutes to wrap up a fine win.