The end of the regular seasons in most European leagues is approaching. The playoffs have already started in Croatia.
In the last few days, several quarterfinals matches have been played. Reigning champion Jug already booked its place in the semifinals.
2022/23 Croatian League, playoffs, quarterfinals (best of two)
Medvescak – Jug 9:23 (3:6, 2:7, 2:6, 2:4)
Medvescak:Car 2, Busic 2, Gavranic 1, Ljepava 1, Matesic 1, Simunovic 1, Miljak 1.
Jug AO: Kakaris 5, Burdjelez 3, Fatovic 3, Lazic 2, Vukojevic 2, Loncaric 2, Zuvela 2, Zvono 1, Prkoca 1
Mornar – Mladost 9:14 (1:3, 3:4, 2:3, 3:4)
Mornar: Buselis 3, Omrcen 2, Buzdovancic 2, D.Akrap 1 Cumbelic 1.
HAVK Mladost: Mijic 4, Herceg 4, Elez 2,Vrnjak 2, Dadvani 1, Jelaca 1.
POSK – Jadran S 5:13 (0:2, 2:4, 2:2, 1:5)
POSK: Gadza 2, Vukic 1, Jankovic 1, Borovcic – Kurir 1.
Jadran Split: Setka 4, Marinic Kragic 3, Zovic 2, Tomasovic 2, Pejkovic 1, Duzevic 1,
Solaris – Primorje on Wednesday
Jug – Medvescak 18:11 (5:3, 4:0, 6:2, 3:6)
Jug AO: Kolak 4, Burdjelez 2, Jokovic 2, Lazic 2, Grgurevic 2, Zuvela 2, Zvono 1, Vukojevic 1, Biljaka 1, Vlahovic 1.
Medvescak: Gavranic 3, Ratej 2, Ljepava 2, Simunovic 2, Skegro 1, Car 1.
The other matches of the return leg are scheduled for March 29.
Jug is the first team that qualified for the semifinals. According to an agreement between the clubs, both encounters were played in Dubrovnik on Thursday and Friday. Medvescak was officially the host in the first game. Jug played with almost all members of the national teams who finished their participation in the world Cup Division 1 just two days before (Croatia’s Fatovic, Zuvela, Lazic, Biljaka and Greece’s Kakaris). Only goalkeeper Popadic was missing. Centre-forward Konstantinos Kakaris was the best scorer in a 23:9 win, with five goals.
“Only” seven goals separated Jug and Medvescak in the second match (18:11). Jug’s roster in that game was different. Head coach Vjekoslav Kobescak offered more chances to younger players. One of them – a 19-year-old Patrik Kolak – contributed to the win with four goals.
Jadran and POSK faced off in the Split-derby against POSK today. Both teams were European champions in the 1990s. But, today, the difference in quality is big. Jadran finished the regular season in 1st, and POSK in 8th place. So, nothing but Jadran’s convincing win was expected in this game.
Jadran, which played without two members of the national team, Luka Bukic and Rino Buric,controlled the match. Early in the third period, Jadran earned a 6-goal lead (8:2). POSK narrowed the difference before the fourth quarter (4:8). Jadran doubled the advantage to 13:5, so the return match will be only a formality.
Mladost made no mistake in the first match against Mornar in Split. The seven-time European champion had a 7-goal lead in the middle of the fourth quarter (13:6). The hosts reduced the gap at the finish, but Mladost secured a nice 5-goal advantage before the return match – 12:7.
The first match of the pair Solaris – Primorje has been moved to next week because Solaris played in the relegation playoffs of the Regional League this week. Solaris, which finished 11th in the regular season, kept a spot in the Premier League. The Subenik-based side played against Valis Valjevo, the 2nd place in the A1 League. Valis won by three goals in the first game in Valjevo (13:10). Still, the Serbian team didn’t save the advantage earned on the home field. Solaris recorded a 12:8 victory in Sibenik and will play in the Premier League next season.