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Inter carrot motivates Hajduk at Skonto

HNK Hajduk Split go to Skonto FC 2-0 up already dreaming of a tie with FC Internazionale Milano, Marko Livaja having told his Nerazzurri colleagues all about the Poljud stadium faithful.

The Hajduk fans hope to be seeing their side against Inter next Thursday
The Hajduk fans hope to be seeing their side against Inter next Thursday ©Getty Images

HNK Hajduk Split may be visiting Skonto FC on Thursday but they can be forgiven for having FC Internazionale Milano in their thoughts.

Hajduk beat the Latvian side 2-0 last week in Split and travel to Riga as strong favourites to reach the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, where the winners of this tie have been paired with Inter.

Already Hajduk have agreed with Inter to switch the fixtures from the draw, so assuming they go through, the Croatian team would welcome the Nerazzurri to Stadion Poljud next Thursday before going to Milan the following week.

"It will be a spectacle, there is no doubt about that," Hajduk midfielder Dinko Trebotić said. "We would be playing against one of the best teams in the world and until now we could only dream of playing them. But let's concentrate on the match against Skonto first."

Forward Ante Vukušić added: "I really wanted this tie. I am looking forward to facing such a big club. Of course it will be difficult but it's a dream match for us. It will be a huge experience, for me and for the whole team. We will be brave and without pressure."

For one Inter player, a meeting with Hajduk would represent a homecoming. Marko Livaja, 18, moved to Inter from the Split club's academy last year and the striker is now part of the senior squad. "I told the lads at Inter that Hajduk have the best fans in the world," Livaja said. "Some of them have heard about the 'Torcida' [Hajduk supporters], others will learn very soon.

"It will be a full stadium for both matches, in Split and Milan. I expect the fans will like what they see on the pitch." But only if Hajduk avoid an upset at Skonto.

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