Hibs 1-1 HNK Rijeka: All to play for in second leg after breathless Easter Road encounter
A Martin Boyle ensured Hibs go into next week’s second leg against NK Rijeka with a fighting chance after the winger cancelled out Issah Abass’ opener.
The Easter Road side peppered Nediljko Labrović’s goal in both halves with Lewis Stevenson hitting the post and Jamie Murphy and Kevin Nisbet hooting straight at the 21-year-old ‘keeper in the opening 45 minutes.
Nisbet must have thought he’d levelled as he headed goalwards from close range but Labrović pulled off a fine save, only for Boyle to smash home the rebound.
Daniel Mackay had a glorious chance to score the winner when he was sent through one-on-one by substitute Scott Allan but Labrović stood up well and denied the summer signing a stunning winner for Jack Ross’ side.
Hibs should feel confident when they travel to Croatia next week – although there will be a feeling that they could have, and maybe should have, made life a lot easier for themselves.
Relive the action below.
HIbs v HNK Rijeka
Another Thursday night, another European fixture for the mighty green and white. Croatia’s Rijeka are the visitors tonight - we’ll have all the action from what is hopefully a memorable night for Hibs.
Macey; McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon, Stevenson; Magennis, Newell, Doyle-Hayes; Murphy, Nisbet, Boyle.
Subs: Dabrowski, Samson, Doig, McGregor, Brydon, Gogic, Mackay, Wright, Campbell, Allan, Gullan, Doidge.
Just the one change from Sunday as Doyle-Hayes, who entered the fray as a second-half substitute, replaces Alex Gogic in the starting line-up.
The man in the middle tonight is Juan Martínez Munuera, a bit of a queso grande in La Liga. He’s been a top-flight whistler since 2013 and he took charge of the 2021 Copa del Rey final and was a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) during Euro 2020.
It’s also not his first time taking charge of a Hibs game - he oversaw Hibs’ 1-0 home loss to Brondby in July 2016.
Tonight is his 305th match as a referee.
Looks like Rijeka will be wearing their change kit this evening - a sort of cherry/maroon(!) colour with sky blue piping. More Whitehill Welfare than West Ham...
Not long now before the teams return to the park for the start of this Europa Conference League third qualifying round first-leg encounter.
Bit of a heart-in-mouth moment for Hanlon as an attempted clearance gets caught in his feet but the chance fizzles out for Rijeka.
Magennis flights in a free kick to the backpost, Hanlon goes up for it but his header is over the bar and he collides - somehow -with goalkeeper Labrovic and Vukcevic - all players receiving treatment.