Serbian goal keeper debuts in Croatian football club Rijeka

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Sunday, July 31, 2005

A goal keeper from Serbia and Montenegro, Dragan Žilić, made his league debut for Croatian football club Rijeka against Cibalija. Žilić's appearance caused disturbance among some of Rijeka's fans, Armada, who did not approve of having a Serbian player in their outfit.

However, the game played yesterday proved that only a minority of fans have such strong nationalistic sentiments.

A group of about 200 Rijeka's fans present at the game started chanting songs such as: "Žilić go away" (Žiliću odlazi), "Hang Serbs on trees" (Srbe na vrbe), and "Fuck fudbal (Serbian), I like nogomet (Croatian)" (Jebeš fudbal, ja volim nogomet).

However, most of the other observers did not sing along, while the opposition's fans chanted in support of Žilić. In the 60th minute, a group of 200 fans left the stadium in protest, while the rest of the stadium kept singing supportive songs.

At the end of the game, the entire stadium applauded the Rijeka team. "I congratulate my team for greatly played game. Armada? That story had been told. I hope that support of fans was clear. I don't want to spread hate on that topic, I am only interested in club's results," Žilić said.