The Mostar Derby is the ultimate symbol of the split of the city. An inheritance of the armed battle during the civil war. The Neretva river and the big boulevard at the Westside of the old city are the borders between East and West, between the Bosnians and the Croats, between Islam and Catholic, between left and right. The place where football is dominated by politics and religion. Velež and Zrinjski are rivals in every aspect. All ingredients for a proper derby day!
Today it’s sunny, around 25 degrees. Our Balkan food lunch goes down rapidly. You don’t have a clue of the coming derby when wandering around old town despite the kick-off is in just a few hours. Rođeni Stadium is situated a couple of miles outside the city center. The closer we get, the more red we see. The Velež are confident about a good result today, as there is a cozy atmosphere around the stadium. Meat on the grill, a beer in your hand. Their rival is nowhere to be seen. Due to safety regulations the away end will be filled with 200 fanatics 10 minutes after kick-off. Standard procedure apparently.
Proper derby atmosphere inside the ground. Especially when the away end gets filled. Offensive songs go back and forth. The match itself is not good, but you feel the tension. Velež is equal to Zrinjski, maybe a bit better. We have to be patience until the last minutes of the game. A deflection of the ball ends in the back of the net. Red Army goes crazy. The home team takes the ultimate revanche in winning this derby after being defeated earlier this season. A gab is created with the relegation zone. The east side of the city remained restless for a long time.
25.10.19 update: Velež wins again tonight away at Celik Zenika