Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Western Second Division was very similar to the Eastern one, with only two exceptions: a few stronger former first division clubs – Celik (Zenica), Spartak (Subotica), Proleter (Zrenjanin), which were may be temporary weak – and one team dominating the championship from start to finish. As for the rest – one absolute outsider, one relative outsider, and 13 fairly equal teams. The last two were directly relegated – Bosna (Visoko), dead last with 15 points, and Vrbas (Vrbas), 15th with 20 points. Above them 8 points separated the 2rd from the 14th. GOSK Jug (Dubrovnik) was lucky 14th with 28 points – lucky, because they should have been relegated, but were not, thanks to Maribor (Maribor), 9th in the final table. Most likely Maribor was found guilty of fixing matches and expelled.
Svoboda (Ljubljana) finished 8th. Standing from left: Magič, Milojević, Dimitrijević, Omanović, Huselj, Klemenc, Poljanšek, Bušić, Zupančič, Šišić.
First row: Kolarič, Petrik, Protić, Busuldžić, Kadivnik, Zajnilović, Kerković.
It is not that Svoboda did anything interesting, but their photo serves rather as a taste what the second division was made of. Svoboda not even dreamed of playing top level and most of the other clubs.
With 33 points Proleter (Zrenjanin) finished 4th. Top row, from left: Vučetić, Tošić, Dubljević, Pleše, Šarenac, Savković, Karanović, Glišin, Ezveđ.
Middle row: Vidović, Gaćinović, Škorić, Zorić, Radosavljević, Geca, Stanić, Ilijašević, Ivančević, Sitting: Lukač, Radulović, Milivojević, Mišić, Soldo, Mićanović, Jonjev, Đorđević, Bursać.
Proleter should have been one of the favourites for promotion, but obviously were at a low point and not a factor. Dinamo (Vinkovci) bested them by a point for the third place and Iskra (Bugojno) finished 2nd with 36 points. All this is just for the record – the championship was dominated by NK Osijek (Osijek), which finished without trouble on top with 42 points from 17 wins, 8 ties, and 5 losses. The winners shared the best scoring record with delinquent Maribor – 50 goals each, bested by Dinamo (Vinkovci) – 51 goals. But Osijek's defense was impeccable: they received only 16 goals.
Confident winners and much stronger squad than Teteks' – Meter, Ostojic, and Hukic may not have been leading players and a bit over the hill, but had solid reputations. Osijek was no stranger to first division and although never very strong, they had good chances to last longer than a single season among the best. Well, judging by this strong season, Osijek was ready and eager for one more return to the top league.