Ex-Liverpool midfielder wins title 2 months into new job as manager

Sacking a manager when seven points clear with nine games to play is a bold move, but it benefited ex-Liverpool midfielder Igor Biscan.

When Ante Cacic was relieved of his duties at Dinamo Zagreb at the start of April, it was viewed as a knee-jerk reaction by the club’s board.

Dinamo had just lost 2-1 to HNK Sibenik in the semi-finals of the Croatian Cup, but Cacic had led his side to a healthy seven-point lead at the top of the league.

But the club moved their two-time manager on and swiftly appointed Biscan as his replacement, the 45-year-old vacating his role as Croatia under-21s coach in doing so.

Biscan has now helped Dinamo over the line for his fifth trophy in seven years as a senior manager.

The Zagreb outfit finished the campaign 10 points clear of Hadjuk Split, with Biscan overseeing a nine-game unbeaten run after taking over.

That included six victories and three 0-0 draws, with 18 goals scored and only three conceded, as Dinamo made it six consecutive HNL titles.

Dinamo have won the top flight in 17 of the last 18 seasons, their only second-placed finish in that period coming as HNK Rijeka lifted their first-ever title in 2016/17.

Biscan himself won four of those titles as a player, having joined Dinamo for his second spell in 2008, after leaving Liverpool via Panathinaikos.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. TUESDAY, MAY 3rd, 2005: Liverpool's players line-up to face Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)..Back row L-R: Dietmar Hamann, Djimi Traore, Sami Hyypia, Jerzy Dudek, Igor Biscan, Jamie Carragher. Front row L-R: Luis Garcia, Milan Baros, John Arne Riise, Steven Gerrard, Stephen Finnan

Five years spent at Anfield saw him lift the treble under Gerard Houllier, as well as another League Cup and, in his final game, the Champions League.

He was an unused substitute in Istanbul, though, despite starting every game from the last 16 on as Liverpool went unbeaten over two legs against Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea.

Now bringing his experience into management, Biscan has also won the Croatian second tier with NK Rudes, before a league and cup double with Slovenian side Olimpija Ljubljana and the Croatian Cup while in charge at Rijeka.

The former midfielder can now plan for his first full season back in Zagreb – and defend the HNL title once again.