Sarajevo FC during the period of 1980 - 1990
1980 - 1990
Having won the second position in the Championship of Yugoslavia, the team of Sarajevo FC was about to the return to the European arena, which they had been awaiting for 13 years. As the luck of the draw had it, Koševo was about to host the famous German giant - HSV.
A series of matches with no victories at the beginning of the new season was stopped in the third round, with a match against Borac on Koševo. Sarajevo FC heavily defeated the team from Banjaluka with a high score of 3:0 achieved by goals of three young scorers, Musemić, Hadžialagić and Merdanović. After the victory over Borac, two consecutive defeats followed, first the one by Vardar in Skopje, and then another one in the city derby with Željezničar on Koševo. Then came the match in Hamburg, against HSV. The game was opened with a better play on the part of Sarajevo FC who takes the lead of 1:0 by the score of Sušić already in the eighth minute. Only eight minutes later, referee Thomas sends off Sarajevo FC's number one player, Radeljaš. With an extra player and led by the excellent Hrubesch, by the end of the first half HSV takes advantage of the confusedness of Sarajevo FC's defence and scores two more goals resulting in their lead of 3:1. Still, Fuad Muzurović's team did not give up, and it seems that the 15 minute break was exactly what his players needed to recover from the shock and get back into the game. That is what happened in the 77th minute, after an action of Pašić and Sušić, the popular Pape hits the net of HSV for the second time, resulting in the brilliant 3:2. While the match continues, Sarajevo FC is left without two more players! In this kind of strength ratio, 8 to 11, the bordeaux team simply had no chance to level the score. During the last five minutes of the regular part of the match, and another five minutes of the referee added time, despite the huge advantage in the number of players, HSV managed to score only one goal through Hartwig and triumph with 4:2, which still gave hope to the fans of Sarajevo FC that their team could carve out their way further and qualify after the return match. Sarajevo FC used the ten-day break until the next match with HSV to prepare as best as possible for the second leg of the first round of the UEFA Cup, but the good atmosphere was spoiled by the news received from UEFA that the three players who had been sent off, Radeljaš, Hadžibegić and Milak, were punished by three-match suspension, while the Sarajevo FC club treasury was fined 17,500 dollars for, as stated, improper conduct of the players on the pitch and Management of the team on the bench during the match in Hamburg.
In the great atmosphere created by 50,000 supporters of the bordeax team, Sarajevo FC took the lead three times, and as many times Hamburg number nine equalised, and finally with the total win of 7:5, HSV (un)deservedly qualified to the second round of this prestigious competition.
That season Sarajevo FC played with a varying success. The autumn part of the championship ended with the team taking the eleventh position. The situation did not change for the better in the spring, either. Sušić was sorely missed and coach Muzurović, despite all his efforts, could not find an adequate substitute. Sarajevo FC was generally invincible on Koševo, having recorded five victories, two ties and only one defeat from Velež, but they had a problem when they played away. With no more than a single victory, the one in the match with Olimpija in Ljubljana, and two ties, Sarajevo FC finished this season ranking very poorly at number 13 which was its worst position since 1977. The 1980/81 season is remembered only by the UEFA Cup derby and two duels with the famous HSV.
The 1981/82 season saw Sarajevo FC without any major reinforcements. Several youngsters joined the team, one of them being the talented Boban Božović.
Despite great expectations to mend the bad impression from the previous season, Sarajevo FC had a very poor start in the new championship. The season opened with a 2:1 defeat on Kantrida, followed by a home tie with Osijek and no goals being scored, and then another defeat, this time in Ljubljana from Olimpija. It was not before the fourth round that the players of Sarajevo FC had their first triumph; goals scored by Pašić and Janjoš, along with an own goal of Todorovski, marked the victory against Vardar of 3:1. The fifth round saw a city derby between Sarajevo FC and Željezničar on Grbavica, which the home team won, only for Sarajevo FC to suffer another defeat seven days later. Sarajevo FC hosted Dinamo from Zagreb, but the goals scored by Pašić and Musemić were not enough for them to remain undefeated, while the blue team from Zagreb returned home with a 3:2 victory and both points. It was this match that was critical for the coach Fuad Muzurović to withdraw from his position the very next day; Sarajevo FC Management acted promptly and brought another former player from Koševo, Srboljub Markušević, in his place and Mirsad Fazlagić as his first assistant. Thus, the half season saw Sarajevo FC standing in the 13th position of the national League.
In the spring, however, Sarajevo FC appeared to be in a better shape. Goalkeeper Janjuš returned from Olimpija only six months after he had left, and Srbo Markušević's team got a new centre forward, the 24-years old Muhidin Teskeredžić, who arrived at Koševo from a Sarajevo FC lower league team of Iskra.
Sarajevo FC ended the season in the 4th position this time, and the city derby is considered as the key match of the season. Before the record-breaking number of 55,000 spectators, the two rivals from Sarajevo FC played a derby that became part of history as the most visited duel of the Sarajevo FC rivals ever. After the first 45 minutes of the match, Željezničar had a one goal lead following the score by Nikić. However, in the second half, the duo Vidović – Sušić that had scored all goals for Sarajevo FC during the previous three matches, made a brilliant appearance. First Vidović assisted Sušić in the 52nd minute for an equaliser, and then five minutes later he hit Šujica's net himself, bringing a great victory to Sarajevo FC with the score of 2:1, which later turned out to be the key one for the qualifications in the European arena. In the following months the national team of Yugoslavia participated in the World Championship and Sarajevo FC's Sušić and Pašić were members of the best team of Yugoslavia.
Following the disaster of the national team at the World Championship, the topic of all football news was the potential transfer of Safet Sušić. There was a lot of talk about his possible departure abroad, primarily to Italy, but also to France, while many expected to see him in Zagreb's Dinamo. As he did not receive a permit to go abroad from the Yugoslav Football Association (FSJ) before January 1983, that meant that Sušić would stay at least for another half a year in the Yugoslav football. Pape then refused an offer from the "blue team" telling them that while in Yugoslavia, he was only going to play for Sarajevo FC. Sušić's stay brought relief to supporters of the bordeaux team, but also to the coach Srboljub Markušević, who managed to keep the core of the team from the previous season and could concentrate on the preparations for the new season and for the appearance in the UEFA Cup.
Sarajevo FC had an excellent start in the following season and deservedly made their way through the winter on the 4th position. During the winter break Sarajevo FC first lost its best player. In the transfer allegedly worth 1,000,000 US dollars, Safet Sušić became a new member of the PSG, so that after nine years and a half, 244 official matches and 96 scores, the popular Pape departed from Koševo. In addition to Sušić, Zoran Lukić also left the team, and there was a change in the Staff. Although weakened by the loss of two standard first team players, it was firmly believed in Sarajevo FC that the team could keep the number four on the table and make its way to Europe that year, as well. The spring half season was opened by a 1:1 tie with Crvena Zvezda on Koševo. In the next round, Boško Antić's team visited the leading team on the table and the autumn champion, Partizan, and with the goal of Boban Božović a minimal triumph was achieved which pushed them up to the 3rd position on the table. At that point it seemed that Sarajevo FC could join the race for the title, given that three out of four forthcoming matches were to be played at their home pitch. But then an incomprehensible downfall ensued, as in the following four rounds Sarajevo FC's performance was exceptionally poor; a defeat from Hajduk on Koševo, a tie with Velež in Mostar and then also with Osijek and Sloboda on the home pitch, all of them pushed the bordeaux team away from their dreams of the title, but also the prospects of qualifying for the UEFA Cup gradually became unlikely. In those times, the only solace was their placement for the semi-finals of the Cup. Despite a favourable draw which pitted Sarajevo FC against Orijent, a lower league team from Rijeka, the placement among the four best teams in the Cup was all but easy. In a very tough game which did not see any scores even after 120 minutes, Sarajevo FC had more luck and knowledge in penalty shootouts and thus found themselves one step away from the finals. From that point on, it seemed that all that Antić's team was thinking about was the semi-finals match with Hajduk on Koševo and possible qualification to the finals; a series of poor results ensued and Sarajevo FC sunk lower and lower on the table. Indeed, the match against Hajduk eventually ended a success; before around 18,000 spectators gathered that Wednesday on Koševo, both teams played a solid game. When it seemed that the match, as did the one against Orijent, would go into overtime, eight minutes before the end of the standard time, a reserve player Davor Jozić hits the net of Hajduk's goalkeeper Simović to the great delight of Sarajevo FC, placing the team in the finals of the Maršal Tito Cup, for the second time in the club's history, after having waited for 16 years and being defeated by the team of Hajduk itself. This time, in the fight for the "most precious trophy" Sarajevo FC was up against the then number one on the table, Dinamo from Zagreb led by the charismatic coach Ćiro Blažević. It was that match, played on Marakana, that was the only one worth mentioning from the start of the season, at least when it comes to quality of Sarajevo FC's play. Considering the disastrous end of the season in which Boško Antić's team recorded three ties, four defeats and not a single win, Sarajevo FC ended up 11th at the end of the season, which by no means could be considered a satisfactory outcome because all until April it was placed at the top part of the table and fought for winning the 4th position and appearance in the European arena. Still, the most important match was played on Belgrade Marakana as part of the Cup finals on 24 May 1983. Already in the 14th minute Dinamo took the lead with a score of Kranjčar, but in the 30th minute the centre forward of Sarajevo FC Musemić levels the score to 1:1. The equalizer not give any boost to the players of Sarajevo FC as expected, but rather, slackened their game for a ten minute period right after the goal, which cost them the trophy. Dinamo took advantage of Sarajevo FC's incomprehensible down by Cerin's score in the 32nd minute and Kranjčar's in the 36th minute, taking the lead of 3:1 which they carried to the half-time break. The second half-time saw Sarajevo FC play much better than their opponents, but all it resulted in was a consolation score of Mirza Kapetanović and a 3:2 defeat. That is how the team from Koševo, ended the Cup in defeat, failing to use at least this avenue to make it to the European berth.
For a long time to follow, Sarajevo FC awaited new seasons almost without any ambitions. On the other hand, after Sušić and Lukić had left in January, Vidović also used the transitional period to make a change and go abroad. In addition to all this, two best players of the bordeaux team, Pašić and Hadžibegić, left for their compulsory military service, while the standard players Janjuš and Radeljaš missed the start of the season because of injury. Numerous changes and poor performance placed Sarajevo FC in the 9th position at the end of the season.
The new season did not open in a spectacular manner, either. A relative success at the start of the championship, a 2:0 win over Sutjeska, and defeat on Kantrida with the same score was followed by an unexpected drop out of the Cup of Yugoslavia as early as in the first round. Eliminated by the Macedonian Republic League team of Pelister, Antić's team was heavily defeated by 1:4 in Bitola. The justified anger of the fans was somewhat alleviated four days later when Dinamo from Vinkovci was beaten on Koševo with a high score of 3:0. Two goals scored by Musemić, and one by the newcomer Jakovljević, announced better days of the League member from Koševo. After the victory over Dinamo, two matches followed with no goals scored, on the stadium of Tušanj against Sloboda, and on Koševo in the Sarajevo FC derby. In the sixth round, Sarajevo FC was scheduled to visit Maksimir and play with Dinamo who was undergoing perhaps its biggest crisis ever since its foundation. In the first five rounds the "blue team" of Zagreb did not have a single win, and at the time of the match with Sarajevo FC they ranked 16th in the league. After the first 45 minutes, Dinamo took the lead with a goal scored by Bogdan, but could not keep their advantage as Musemić and Pašić hit Dinamo's goal in the second part reversing the score and bringing Sarajevo FC the first victory of the season as visitors, and sending Dinamo to the last position of the Premier League table. The win on Maksimir boosted the players' spirit so that another brilliant match was given seven days later when Hajduk visited Sarajevo FC. A goal scored by Faruk Hadžibegić's resulted in a minimal win of the bordeaux team and the second position on the table with 10 points, as many as had the leading team on the table, Željezničar, but with a slightly better goal difference. In the eighth round, Sarajevo FC visited Partizan at the JNA stadium where it suffered a minimal defeat of 1:0. After the defeat from Partizan, the match with Budućnost on Koševo ended in a scoreless tie of 0:0. At that point Sarajevo FC was on the third position on the table and no one could assume that a typhoon would start from Koševo and blow away all its opponents. And that was exactly what happened. Victory in Priština over the opponent of the same name marked the beginning of a fantastic series of seven consecutive wins. After Priština, Osijek was beaten on Koševo, and on that 4 November, after 11 rounds, Sarajevo FC reached the top position on the table, keeping it through the end of the season, which was a rare endeavour. After Priština and Osijek, a great show took place in Niš, at Čair stadium, a traditionally troublesome place for Sarajevo FC. Still, by two goals scored by each, Musemić and Merdanović, coach Antić's team successfully overcame this obstacle, too so that they could calmly await the upcoming two matches on their own stadium, eventually winning both of them. Two minimal wins of 1:0 each were gained over Vojvodina and Velež, and both times the scorer was Sarajevo FC's centre forward, Husref Musemić. Musemić continued to score brilliantly in the following two rounds, too, first when visiting Bugojno's Premier League newcomer, the team of Iskra, when he, Jakovljević and Hadžialagić scored to win 3:1, and thereafter also in the match with Vardar on Koševo. The score was 3:2, and in addition to Musemić, it was Jakovljević who scored the remaining two goals. With the victory over Vardar, Sarajevo FC secured the title of the autumn champion, with three points more than Hajduk, in the eve of the last autumn round and before a visiting match with Crvena Zvezda. The bordeaux team had the opportunity to perhaps increase its lead on the table ahead of the team from Split before going to the break because Zvezda was in a serious crisis, while Hajduk, on the other hand, was awaiting a big derby with Dinamo in Zagreb. However, rather than increasing the lead, it was reduced by one point, given that Hajduk and Dinamo ended the match at Maksimir in a tie, while Sarajevo FC suffered a heavy defeat on Marakana with a 1:4 score. Despite the defeat, with 25 points won, two more than Hajduk on the second position, for the third time in its history, Sarajevo FC became the autumn Champion of Yugoslavia.
After the fantastic autumn, the question was whether the players of Sarajevo FC would have the strength to repeat the success achieved in 1967 with the generation led by Antić, their coach at the time. All players, from goalkeeper Đurković to captain Pašić thought that with the right kind of engagement they could win the title, being sure that the situation from 1980 would not be repeated, when Sarajevo FC also ended the autumn as a champion, but then in the fight for the highest title gave way to Crvena Zvezda. While other teams used their winter break to strengthen their ranks, Sarajevo FC did not change anything during the mini transitional period and entered the continuation of the season with the identical composition that won the first position in the autumn part. At the start of the second part of the season, in the first three rounds, the bordeaux team gained only two points by winning the match with Rijeka on Koševo with 1:0, while the matches in Nikšić and Vinkovci ended with the host teams winning. Despite the somewhat poorer start, the bordeaux team kept the leading position on the table, because in the first three rounds Hajduk managed to win only one point more, so that after the 20th round the order at the top of the table was the same, but the difference in points was reduced from two to one point difference. The match in Vinkovci has eventually been remembered as the last defeat of Sarajevo FC in the season of 1984/85, given that in the remaining 14 matches of the season, Boško Antić's team never surrendered to the opponents. In the following three rounds a minimal win was gained over Sloboda and two ties drawn with Željezničar on Grbavica and Dinamo on Koševo. After Dinamo, Sarajevo FC was facing the first match point to clinch the Champion title, the visiting match on Poljud. Sarajevo FC came to Split with a difference of one point, aiming to at least keep the same difference if not to make it bigger after that 24th round. The match in Split before around 25,000 spectators, was exactly what Sarajevo FC hoped for, hard and strong, with neither team being particularly dominant, and it ended as it started, with a 0:0 tie. This meant that Sarajevo FC would enter the last 10 rounds with one point advantage. Already after the following round the advantage went up for another point, the team benefited from Hajduk's poor performance as a visitor team in Mostar, where the "white team" drew a tie of 1:1 with Velež, while Sarajevo FC on their own stadium defeated Partizan with Musemić, Jakovljević and Janjoš scoring a win of 3:1. After the victory over the "black-and-white team", a visit to Budućnost at the stadium below Gorica brings the same outcome as the one in the first part of the season, a 0:0 tie, to the benefit of Hajduk who reduced Sarajevo FC's advantage again to only one point difference by a victory over Iskra. In the rounds that followed, the great shape of the first attacker of the bordeaux team Musemić, but also of captain Pašić, were of critical importance. The two of them scored once each in both matches that followed, which was enough for a victory over Priština of 2:0, and a 2:2 tie with Osijek as a visitor team. In 29th round that came next, Musemić also scored, this time two goals against Radnički from Niš, while Merdanović and Hadžibegić added one goal each for a 4:2 victory. Only five rounds remained to the end, Hajduk followed closely all the time, keeping the difference of one point. The team from Split saw an opportunity to take over in the forthcoming, 30th round. Rijeka visited on Poljud, which was an easy prey for Hajduk, while Sarajevo FC visited Vojvodina. Given a very difficult situation of the club from Novi Sad one would expect that they would storm for victory from the very first minute of the match. So they did and already after 120 seconds of the game Vojvodina was winning 1:0 with the goal scored by Ilić. However, in the 35th minute, Jakovljević levels the score, while only seven minutes before the end of the match Slaviša Vukičević volleyed a euro goal from the top of penalty box, right into the net of the hosts for a great score of 2:1 which kept them at the top position on the table. The following round saw our team visiting Hercegovina to confront Velež. After the first 45 minutes which did not bring anything particularly interesting, the second half-time was abundant with goals. Pašić and Musemić's scored, resulting in 2:0 lead of Sarajevo FC in the 60th minut, whereby it almost secured a victory. However, being overly relaxed as a result of the high lead, was soon to take a toll on the bordeaux team, and in only two minutes Bijedić and Kodro score two goals for Velež, which brought a tie. Disappointment for missing the victory did not last long as the news came from Vinkovci that Dinamo beat Hajduk, which increased the difference on the table to 2 points, for the first time after the 25th round. Sarajevo FC needed to gain five points in the last three matches to win the title, and the plan had already been made. By winning over Iskra and Zvezda on Koševo, and a tie with Vardar in Skopje the bordeaux team planned to gain 48 points which would not be attainable to Hajduk, given that before the final three rounds, the team from Split had only 41 points. The plan started to materialize, first Iskra was defeated with two goals by Pašić and one by Musemić, and then the first key match of the season came, the match with Vardar. Sarajevo FC could have even lost in Skopje, but that was contingent on the defeat of Hajduk who at the same time confronted Željezničar on Koševo. While Sarajevo FC played in Skopje, a suspicious game, as it seemed, was played on Koševo; Hajduk was winning 4:1 at half-time, which is why the home players were booed at half-time. Željezničar played a lot better in the second part and levelled the score, but eventually this match turned out to be irrelevant since Sarajevo FC managed to realize its plan and return from Skopje undefeated. Two scores by Jakovljević sufficed for a 2:2 tie, and had Hadžibegić been more focused when kicking from the penalty spot ten minutes before the end, Sarajevo FC could have won the match and thus secured the new title of the Champion of Yugoslavia.
Like this, however, the team from Koševo entered the last round with two points advantage over Hajduk, which meant that in case of either tie or win, it would be completely irrelevant what would happen in Split where Hajduk and Dinamo were about to play. In a fantastic atmosphere, before 35,000 spectators, after 23 minutes Sarajevo FC already took the lead of 1:0, and it was Musemić who headed a fantastic goal into the net of the visitors from Belgrade. As the end of the match was approaching, the atmosphere on the stands was becoming more and more heated, and when in the 75th minute Jakovljević scored to 2:0, the celebration could begin. Zvezda reduced the score to 2:1 through Đurovski, but there was no fear of losing the title; had Zvezda even miraculously reversed the score in the last five minutes, the title would have still come to Koševo, because in Split, Hajduk was losing from Dinamo by 4:2. However, no score reversals occurred so that in Koševo the score remained 2:1, and in Split 2:4, meaning that Sarajevo FC won its second Champion title with the total of 48 points, 4 points more than the second ranking Hajduk. Thus the fantastic success from 1967 was repeated and in the history of the club the names of the following 11 standard members of the Koševo team Second Champion Generation will be inscribed in gold letters: Đurković, Radeljaš, Kapetanović, Jozić, Hadžibegić, Janjoš, Jakovljević, Vukičević, Musemić, Merdanović and Pašić.