Soviet Surge Part 30 | FK Radnicki #4: Chasing European Qualification

A strong start to their first season in the Serbian SuperLeague saw FK Radnicki 1923 Kragujevac sitting fourth heading into 2035, despite the media expecting them to finish 12th. Crveni Djavoli only trailed Serbian giants Red Star and Partizan and surprise leaders Vozdovac, who were expected to finish mid-table, with eight games of the Preliminary Phase remaining.

The Russian manager strengthened his squad slightly with backup right-back Marcelino, who may need to be retrained to a centre-back. He also loaned in hard-working midfielder Cezar Ghenciu from Romanian side Viitorul and 18-year-old left-winger Petar Rodic, who he gambled on signing on deadline day to cover a few injuries. In other news, Latunov’s former side Galatasaray sold Bolivian striker Jorge – who’d previously been sold from Zorya to Barcelona when Latunov was at Shakhtar – to AC Milan for a huge £86 million.

Back to the SuperLeague

The opening fixtures of 2035 weren’t pretty as FK Radnicki 1923 entertained Cukaricki, to whom they’d lost 4-1 away, then faced a daunting trip to Partizan. To make matters worse, they had both first-choice wingers injured. First up, Valentine’s Day saw Cukaricki come to town and, despite conceding early and being battered by 28 shots to nine, Radnicki nicked a 1-1 draw thanks to a goal from top scorer Nikola Milosevic. They also took a hammering at Partizan but only lost 2-0 – but they did win 6-2 on yellow cards.

Luckily, bottom of the league Zemun were up next and Milosevic came up big with a first half brace, which saw him become the club’s all-time record league scorer with 69 goals – surpassing his strike partner Nikola Mitrovic. A poor second half effort saw Zemun get a goal back but Milosevic’s goals were enough for a first win of 2035. Interestingly, Man City manager Pep Guardiola was spotted at Cika Daca scouting excellent young centre-back Matar Coulibaly.

The team was slightly strugling for goals but the Nikola M strikeforce struck with a goal apiece to down Napredak 2-0. That moved them six points clear of the league split with just three games remaining. And they confirmed a top half finish with a 2-0 win over namesakes Radnicki, in which homegrown winger Jovan Ruzicic scored his first goal for the club.

They finished the preliminary phase in fourth place on 48 points, seven points back from third-place Red Star and five ahead of eighth-place Vojvodina. But normality had resumed at the top, with perennial title winners Partizan moving ahead of Vozdovac.

SuperLeague Final Phase Group A

Radnicki 1923’s start to the final phase of the league was far from easy with games against all of the top three. It began away to Red Star, which they were lucky to only lose 1-0 having been dominated and played with 10 men for most of the second half. Then they travelled to Vozdovac with three first-choice defenders missing and lost 6-3, in a game where both teams scored pretty much every chance they had. Then leaders Partizan came to town and snuck a 1-0 win.

They got a first win in six games as the two Nikolas combined with a brace apiece, including a screamer by Mitrovic, to down Cukaricki 4-1. That put them one point behind Cukaricki, who were in the final European qualification place, with three games remaining. And they moved above them as a Milosevic hat-trick inspired a 4-2 win over Vojvodina.

Milosevic was the hero again as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at sixth-place Backa the dayt after Cukaricki beat Vozdovac, which handed the title to Partizan. The season rounded out at home to Zlatibor while Cuckaricki faced Partizan. A goal from right-winger Rajko Dmitrovic scored the only goal after 75 minutes to lead FK Radnicki 1923 into Europe!

That ensured Radnicki 1923 finished in fourth place, which equalled the club’s highest-ever finish set back in 1945/46. They finished on 60 points, four ahead of Cukaricki and only five behind Red Star and second place Vozdovac. Milosevic finished as the second top scorer in the SuperLeague with 21 goals and the joint-most player of the match awards with seven, while Mitrovic had the joint-most assists with 11, but he only added one to his tally after the winter break.

Season Review

Radnicki 1923’s success this season was very much down to the Nikola M strikeforce. The duo, who both came through the club’s academy in 2025 and 2026, are the two highest scorers in the club’s history. Milosevic scored 22 goals with three assists and won the fans’ player of the season. While Mitrovic scored 13 and created 11 goals, which won him the fans’ young player of the season.

The Nikolas aside, Dobrivoje Dukic scored and assisted eight but was poor towards the end of the season and Dmitrovic scored seven and assisted five. Midfielders Christ Kouamé and Maurício Generosi got six and five assists between them, which was a little disappointing.

Latunov’s contract was up at the end of the season, which left him with somewhat of a dilemma. He considered Radnicki 1923 unlikely to challenge Partizan for the league title and he was keen to get back to challenging for silverware. However, there were no jobs available through the summer, so he decided to stay in Serbia.

Join us next time as Latunov looks to strengthen his Radnicki 1923 squad to take the challenge Serbia’s finest.

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