Jug advanced to the final of the Croatian League playoffs and joined Mladost, which qualified for the final on Saturday.
Jug defeated Solaris in the semifinals, after a series of unusual and turbulent events. Firstly, Jug refused to play the game against Solaris, because of the risk of coronavirus infection. In the end, after the testing, the game was played, and Jug recorded a 16:7 victory.
The second game of the final of the Montenegrin playoffs was played today. Primorac defeated Jadran HN 8:6 and took a revenge for the defeat in the first game.
Croatian League, playoffs, semifinals
Jug – Solaris 14:7 (5:1, 3:4, 3:1, 3:1)
Jug AO: Papanastasiou 4, Fatovic 3, Obradovic 2, Merkulov 2, Loncar 1, Krzic 1, Garcia 1.
Solaris: Penava 1Goreta 1, Strkalj 1, Herceg 1, Pelicaric 1, Koprcina 1
Only one match was played in this pair, and that is a consequence of problems with the coronavirus, that affected changes in the schedule.
Several turbulent events happened before the match.
The return leg of the quarterfinal pair Primorje – Solaris (Primorje won 10:9 in the 1st game), initially scheduled for April 24, was postponed for May 3, because of coronavirus cases at Primorje. But, Primorje wasn’t able to play on Monday because most of the players haven’t recovered and they are still in self-isolation. They can’t play this week. Primorje asked for a new postponement. The Croatian Water Polo Federation couldn’t accept Primorje’s request and decided to cancel the return leg and to award a 5:0 win to Solaris. The reason for this decision is, as it was explained, a lack of available dates for new postponements, due to the packed national and international competitions’ calendar and a pre-defined schedule of broadcasting the final series on television.
Jug and Solaris played only one game (instead of the series best-of-three) due to the same reasons. Both clubs agreed with this decision.
The final series (best-of-five) starts on May 8. The fifth game is scheduled for May 26. After that, Jug will play at the Champions League F8 (June 3 – 5).
But, new problems with the encounter between Jug and Solaris appeared today, on the day of the semifinal match. Jug refused to play because Solaris players didn’t go COVID testing before the match. Solaris says that their players didn’t have to undergo testing, while Jug claimed something else – that there was an agreement about obligatory testing before the game. The management of Jug wanted to avoid any risk, because Solaris played against Primorje two weeks ago, and maybe some of the players from Sibenik were infected. Because of that, Jug asked the pre-match testing. New infections might endanger the finish of the season in the national league and the Champions League. Accroding to unofficial information, all players of Jug are vaccinated.
The game was scheduled for 18:00 CET. Solaris was in the pool in time, while Jug players didn’t jump into the water. Referees whistled the start of the match, and after the first swim-off (won by Solaris, of course), the game was ended.
After that, the players of Solaris started preparing to travel home, while Jug started a training session. But, shortly after the first “match”, a new decision by the officials was made – the game was rescheduled for 20:30 CET. Solaris players underwent testing in the meantime, and there were no positive cases. So, the new game could start.
Jug proved that it was the favorite, and achieved a big win.
But, many were angry before and after the match.
After the first game (started at 18:00 ) and before testing and the re-scheduling of the game for 20:30, Tomislav Dumancic, the president of VK Jug contacted Croatian media. In a statement for Sportske Novosti, he said:
“As Jug’s President, I congratulate Perica Bukic (the vice-president of the Croatian Water Polo Federation – Ed.), Mladost, and Solaris on their qualifications for the finals of the Croatian Championship! This is a great shame for Perica Bukic. But it won’t end there. Now we are going into open conflict. Croatian water polo wouldn’t be at this level without Jug! We gave 6-7 players in each of the medals of the Croatian national team. In the end, I underline – while I am in the club, Perica Bukic’s life wish for his son to play in Jug will never come true.”
2020/21 Montenegrin League, playoffs
Final (best-of-five), 2nd match
Jadran HN – Primorac 6:8 (3:2, 1:3, 1:2, 1:1) – score in the series 1:1
Jadran HN:Averka 2, Gardasevic 1, Dj.Radovic 1, Brkic 1, Petkovic 1.
Primorac:Gopcevic 2, Janovic 1, Vukasovic 1, Molthen 1, Perkovic 1,Matkovic 1, Stanojevic 1.
For the full statistics and a play-by-play timeline visit Total Waterpolo Arena
Last week, Jadran defeated Primorac in the first match, after a penalty shootout (14:11). This evening, Jadran started better and earned a 3:2 lead. But, Primorac took control after the first break. An experienced Gopcevic scored two goals from penalty shots to give the Kotor-based team a 4:3 lead. Jadran Gardasevic equalized 39 seconds before the end of the first half, but 26 seconds later Matkovic put Primorac in front. The visitors built a 2-goal lead in the third period (6:4, 7:5). Jadran reduced the gap once more in the 29th minute (6:7), but Perkovic converted a man-up in the next possession to close the match – 8:6.
The second match will be played on May 10.
Live scores and statistics of the Montenegrin League you can follow on our TOTAL WATERPOLO ARENA