Exciting games of the playoffs finals have been played all across Europe today. Mladost is a new Croatian champion. Brescia dethroned Recco, in Italy. Serbia will also have a new title-holder, but the final has just started.
Radnicki earned a narrow 11:10 win over Novi Beograd in the first match of the playoffs final of the Serbian League (best-of-three). After 32 minutes of play, the score was 7:7. Radnicki secured a win after a penalty shootout.
Neither Radnicki nor Novi Beograd has won the Serbian League so far. Besides, Novi Beograd debuted in the final today.
Serbian Championship, playoffs
Final (best-of-three), 1st game
Radnicki – Novi Beograd 11:10 (1:3, 2:0, 1:3, 3:1, PSO 4:3)
KVK Radnicki:Rasovic 2, Lukic 2, Toholj 1, Krug 1, Ukropina 1.
Novi Beograd: Gogov 2, Cuk 1, Bursac 1, Gardasevic 1, Shushiashvilli 1, Nikolov 1.
Penalty shootout: Gogov 0:1, Rasovic 1:1; Dj.Filipovic 1:2, Ukropina 2:2 , Shushiashvili 2:3; Jankovic 3:3; Gardasevic – Todorovski saved, Brankovic 4:3; Cuk – Todorovski saved
Both teams had ups and downs today, and there were a lot of twists and turns. The first quarter belonged to Novi Beograd, which had a 3:1 advantage before the second period.
There were no goals in the opening five minutes of the second period. Krug halved distance three minutes before the middle break (2:3), while Lukic equalized (3:3).
Radnicki’s center-forward Nebojsa Toholj put the hosts in front (4:3) early in the third. After Radnicki’s 3:0 series, Novi Beograd responded in the same way – with three straight goals. Milos Cuk ended the visitors’ goalless phase that lasted 11 minutes (4:4). By the last break. Novi Beograd found the net twice and regained a 2-goal lead (6:4).
Novi Beograd had a 7:5 lead in the middle of the fourth period, but the hosts came back into the match. Strahinja Rasovic equalized two minutes before the end (7:7). Both sides had excellent chances to secure a win before the shootout, but there were no goals.
There were no misses in the first three rounds of the shootout. Before the 4th round, Radnicki’s coach Uros Stevanovic made a move that proved vital for the outcome. Stefan Todorovski replaced Lazar Dobozanov in front of the goal (Stevanovic did the same in the shootout in the Regional League semifinals against Mladost). Todorovski saved shots by experienced Novi Beograd’s players Filip Gardasevic and Olympic champion Milos Cuk. None of Radnicki’s shooters missed the target, and the Kragujevac-based team won the exciting game.
The second match will be played in Belgrade on Saturday.