Thursday 29 Mar

Rudes vs Istra 1961 - Match Preview

28 Mar 2018 Ed Mackey CROATIA: HNL

NK Rudes

  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L


16:00 GMT
29 March 2018

NK Istra 1961

  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L

16:00 GMT 29 March 2018

With a large proportion of recent European football being on the international stage, there hasn’t been much room for club football. However, with all the World Cup warm-ups done, the final stretch of the season can commence. This begins on Thursday in Croatia as Rudes and Istra 1961 meet with both sides looking to avoid the drop. Rudes are rooted to the bottom of the table while Istra are precariously one place above the relegation play-off position.


  • There’s a reason why Rudes are cut adrift at the base of the Croatian top-flight and that’s because their form has been so poor. They have won just one of their last five and are showing no signs of escaping the drop. They stood no chance last time out facing runaway leaders, Dinamo Zagreb away from home. The minnows certainly didn’t disgrace themselves as they lost just 2-0.
  • Istra aren’t in such a dire state and look as though they will avoid relegation this term. Their form isn’t much better than that of their upcoming opponents. With two wins in their last five, it has given them some breathing space but with six away losses on the bounce, the visitors won’t be full of confidence. They were beaten 1-0 in their last game against Inter Zapresic.
  • Despite their poor campaign, Rudes haven’t struggled to find a good goal scorer. Mario Budimir is having a great season with nine goals.
  • Istra 1961 haven’t had the benefit of a prolific frontman, Dejan Maksimovic is their top scorer this term with just four goals.


This season is the first where these two teams have been in the same division and with every side playing each other four times, they have faced off twice already. Rudes won the first one 1-0 on their turf before Istra won 2-1 in their stadium which will provide a boost for the home side on Thursday. Over the two fixtures, there were 14 bookings so it might be worth expecting a feisty game.


Three points would see Rudes move into 9th which would take them out of the automatic relegation place and into the play-off place, however, if Cibalia pick up a draw or win on Friday, it would take Rudes back to the bottom.

Latest matches: NK Rudes

17.03.2018 HNL NK Dinamo Zagreb NK Rudes 2:0 L
14.03.2018 HNL HNK Cibalia-Vinkovci NK Rudes 1:1 D
09.03.2018 HNL NK Slaven Belupo NK Rudes 2:0 L
03.03.2018 HNL HNK Hajduk Split NK Rudes 1:0 L
16.02.2018 HNL NK Rudes NK Inter Zapresic 2:0 W


While mathematically it is possible for Istra to move up a place with a win, the seven-goal goal difference between them and 7th-placed Lokomotiva Zagreb is an unrealistic target to reach. It would steer them further from the drop zone though.

Latest matches: NK Istra 1961

24.03.2018 HNL NK Inter Zapresic NK Istra 1961 1:0 L
16.03.2018 HNL NK Istra 1961 NK Slaven Belupo 2:1 W
10.03.2018 HNL HNK Hajduk Split NK Istra 1961 3:2 L
02.03.2018 HNL NK Istra 1961 HNK Cibalia-Vinkovci 0:0 D
17.02.2018 HNL NK Istra 1961 NK Lokomotiva Zagreb 1:0 W


Of the three lowest scoring sides in Croatia’s top-flight, Thursday night’s game sees two of them in action so it won’t produce fireworks. Rudes have already shown they can beat Istra at home and the visitors’ away form is nothing short of abysmal so the hosts should fancy their chances. Although, Istra are in a better position in the league so shouldn’t be overlooked.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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