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Pukstas Scores Another Game-Winner for Hajduk Split

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Rokas Pukstas has started the Croatian First League season in excellent form as he came to the rescue again for Hajduk Split with the goal to seal a 1-0 win over Rijeka on Sunday.

The midfielder started and went the distance for the team, completing 89 percent of his passes, winning seven duels, and making four tackles along with putting two shots on target.

After a 2-1 win last weekend over reigning league champions and rivals Dinamo Zagreb, the coastal club was hoping to keep the momentum going into week two.

The host had a scare just two minutes in when Rijeka midfielder Toni Fruk decided to have a go from distance as his team went on the counterattack. His shot beat Hajduk goalkeeper Ivan Lucic, but it didn’t beat the post as the ball came rattling off the frame. They had another chance to open the scoring in the 20th minute, but Marijan Cabraja’s free-kick went just wide of the target.

Hajduk finally got into the game in the 25th minute when Dario Melnjak sent a cross into the area for Marko Livaja. The striker’s powerful volley forced Rijeka goalkeeper Nediljko Labrovic to make the save to keep the game scoreless.

The hosts continued to put pressure on their opponent’s goal and had another great chance to break the deadlock in the 38th minute when Livaja put the ball into space for Pukstas. The 18-year-old had an excellent chance to score, but his hot went directly toward Labrovic as he parried it away from danger.

Pukstas would make up for his earlier attempt as the game entered the second half. Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe’s corner kick was headed onto the framework before there was a scramble to clear the ball from the area. The ball would end up at the feet of Fahd Moufi who sent a shot toward the goal only for Pukstas, who was standing at the edge of the six-yard box, to redirect the ball past the Rijeka goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Pukstas’ goal would be enough for Hajduk as they claimed another three points to remain undefeated in this early season.

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Kenya Brown

Born in America, but raised in Europe and Asia, Kenya has loved soccer ever since his parents put a ball at his feet. While covering some of the top U.S. players around Europe, he loves putting the spotlight on players who are based in leagues off the beaten path. He also interviews coaches and other people in the game to gain more insight.

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