"It was a real pleasure to wake up a champion this morning,” said GNK Dinamo Zagreb coach Ante Čačić after his side's seventh successive Croatian title victory.
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GNK Dinamo Zagreb secured their seventh succssive Croatian title victory after completing a 3-0 away victory against HNK Šibenik 3-0 on Saturday.
It was a comfortable championship success for Dinamo, who stretched their Prva Liga lead over HNK Hajduk Split to 15 points with five rounds remaining thanks to two goals by Jorge Sammir either side of Milan Badelj’s second-half strike. Their superior head-to-head record against their closest rivals means the 14-time champions hold an unassailable lead at the league summit.
"It was a real pleasure to wake up a champion this morning, and the best greeting came from my grandchildren who sang, 'Dinamo are the real champions' to me," said Dinamo coach Ante Čačić, whose side scored 64 goals and conceded just eight over the courrse of their 25 matches. Since replacing Krunoslav Jurčić at the helm in December the 58-year-old has masterminded an eight-match winning sequence in the Croatian top-flight.
"There was an expectation for us to be champions and that was effectively secured our derby success against Hajduk," added Čačić. "Now we need to remain motivated until the end of the season and we have to show character. It is important to play our remaining matches at the highest level to satisfy the fans and everyone associated with the club."
With Dinamo having now won 14 of the 21 titles that have been contested since the inception of the Croatian championship, festivities after this latest triumph were muted, taking the form of a few drinks on the team bus, which made a quick pit-stop at a petrol station to fill up on supplies on the way back to Zagreb.
For 22-year-old defender Domagoj Vida, however, the achievement represented a novel experience. "Finally, I have won something," said the defender Domagoj Vida of his first taste of title success. The champions, whose UEFA Champions League involvement this term ended at the group stage, need seven points from their remaining five matches to surpass the 72-points total they accomplished last season.