Jadran won the first game of the final of the Croatian League playoffs beating Jug narrowly in a thrilling match in Split – 14:13.
Jadran kept a home-field advantage, although it opened the match very badly. In the middle of the first quarter, the hosts found themselves 0:4 down. But they recovered from the shock quickly and secured the win in the second half.
2022/23 Croatian League, final (best-of-five)
Jadran S – Jug 14:13 (2:4, 6:4, 3:3, 3:2)
Jadran Split: Anic , Buric 1, Marinic Kragic 2, Cagalj, Butic 1, Pejkovic, Bukic 2, Tomasovic 1, Delic, Dobud, Setka 1, Duzevic 3, Zovic 3. Head coach: Marelja.
Jug AO: Popadic, Burdjelez, Fatovic 1, Zvono 1, Jokovic 3, Vukojevic, Biljaka, Lazic, Krzic 3, Kakaris 1, Grgurevic 1, Zuvela 3, Jurisic, Mozara. Head coach: Kobescak.
Jug opened the match in a way that nobody expected. Jug scored a goal from each of the first four attempts in the match and stormed to a 4:0 lead after less than four minutes of play. After Jug’s fourth goal, Jadran’s head coach Jure Marelja called a time-out. The hosts, who played with only one goalkeeper, Mate Anic (Ivan Marcelic was ill), started recovering after that pause. They halved the deficit before the first break. Rino Buric netted in Jadran’s first possession in the second quarter for 3:4, and Jadran was back in the game.
In the middle of the second quarter, the home side leveled for the first time after Bukic scored from a 6 on 5 – 6:6. Krzic responded immediately for 7:6. In the last three minutes of the first half, the teams traded the goals, so they were tied at 8:8 at halftime.
Jug wasn’t able to take the lead in the following two periods, but everything was open until the end.
In the 19th minute, Tomasovic put Jadran in front for the first time, and Jerko Marinic Kragic doubled the home side’s advantage shortly after – 10:8. Jadran’s defense worked very well at the finish of the second and at the beginning of the third period to keep Jug scoreless for almost six minutes. Marko Zuvela ended the visitors’ goalless phase with two quick goals in the 29th minute and leveled at 10:10.
Before the final period, the score was 11:11. The first three minutes of the fourth quarter were crucial for Jadran’s victory. The hosts produced a 3:0 run in 92 seconds (Bukic, Duzevic, Zovic) and jumped to 14:11. More than five minutes were left on the clock after Jadran’s 14th goal, but Jug didn’t come back. A minute and a half before the end, Konstantinos Kakaris scored his first goal in the match (12:14). At 00:59, Maro Jokovic made it 13:14 from a penalty shot,.
After Jadran failed to score in its last attack, Jug had the ball in the last eight seconds but lost it, and Jadran made the first step toward the trophy.
The next match will be played in Dubrovnik on April 30.
3rd-place playoffs (best-of-three)
Mladost – Primorje 12:10 (2:2, 4:3, 4:3, 2:2)
Mladost: Gluhaic 4, Mijc 2, Vrbnjak 1, Jelaca 1, Adeishvili 1, Rakovac 1, Elez 1, Fabris 1.
Primorje: Te Riele 3, Brubnjak 2, Cubranic 2, Crippa 1, Tonicic 1, Da.Brguljan 1
Mladost is one win away from 3rd place after beating Primorje in Zagreb. The hosts had a 6:5 advantage at the middle break. Primorje opened the second half with three goals and went ahead (8:6). But, Mladost responded strongly, with a 5:0 run. In the 27th minute, Mijic converted a penalty to give Mladost an 11:8 lead. After that, Primorje just reduced the gap to two.
5th-place playoffs (best-of-three)
Solaris – Mornar 11:9 (4:1, 3:2, 4:3, 0:3)
Solaris: Jakovcevic 3, Butic 3, Penava 3, Burburan 1, Sparada 1.
Mornar BS: R.Akrap 2, Hrvatic 1, Omrcen 1, Buzdovancic 1, D.Akrap 1, Guduric 1, Knezevic 1, Buselic 1.
Mornar – Solaris 9:8 (3:4, 1:3, 1:0, 4:1)
Mornar: Cumbelic 4, R.Akrap 2, Omrcen 2, Guduric 1.
Solaris: Sirovec 2, Burburan 1, Sparada 1, Rak 1, Condic Kadmenovic 1, D. Butic 1, Krekovic 1.
The third match will decide which team will finish 5th. Solaris defeated Mornar at home 11:9. The Sibenik-based side opened the second match very well. The visitors led 7:4 at halftime. However, Mornar produced a great comeback and recorded a 9:8 win. Omrcen scored a winner a minute before the end.
POSK – Medvescak 7:18 (0:2, 2:4, 1:6, 4:6)
POSK: Carev 2, Jankovic 2, Tonkovic 2, Vegar 1.
Medvescak: Busic 5, Miljak 5, Car 2, Gavranic 2, Simunovic 1, Bakaric 1, Skegro 1 Matesic 1.
Medvescak – POSK 18:16 (4:2, 4:3, 5:6, 5:5)
Medvescak: Car 4, Busic 4, Simunovic 4, Miljak 2, Brcic 2, Gavranic 2.
POSK: Tonkovic 5, Bezer 3, Carev 2, Vegar 2, Jankovic 2, Sesnic 1, Carrieri 1.
Medvescak won 7th place after scoring 36 goals in the first two games of the 7th-place playoffs.