Jug Dubrovnik is one step away from its 16th title of the Croatian champion. The reigning champion beat Mladost 13:11 in the second match of the final series (best-of-five) and now leads 2:0.
The very exciting match was decided after the penalty shootout, just like it was in Dubrovnik on Saturday (when Jug won 18:16).
The match offered a lot of twists and turns. The sides fought a hard battle, and, in the end, Jug came out as a winner. The next game will be played in Dubrovnik on Saturday, so Jug has a chance to secure the title in front of the home fans.
The heroes of today’s win were Loren Fatovic, who scored 6 goals (5 in regular time and one in the shootout), and goalkeeper Toni Popadic with 16 saves (two in the shootout).
On the other side, Lovre Milos scored four goals for Mladost.
Croatian Championship, final (best-of-five), 2nd match
Mladost – Jug 11:13 (2:2, 3:3, 2:4, 3:1, pso 1:3)
Mladost: Milos 4, Radu 1, Biljaka 1, Cuk 1, Bukic 1, Lazic 1, Kharkov 1.
Jug AO: Fatovic 5, Papanastasiou 3, Loncar 1, Krzic 1.
Penalty shootout: 0:1 Obradovic, 1:1 Radu, 1:2 Papanastasiou, 1:2 Bowen missed, 1:3 Fatovic, 1:3 Bukic-Popadic saved, 1:3 Garcia – Marcelic saved, 1:3 Lazic – Popadic saved.
For the full match’s statistics visit the page powered by Total Waterpolo Arena: Mladost-Jug
Mladost grabbed an early 2:0 lead (Lovre Milos scored both goals). Jug got on the scoreboard in the 6th minute, when Loren Fatovic nailed his first of this evening’s five goals. The same player equalized 25 seconds before the first break by converting a man-up.
Loren Fatovic’s “one-man show” was continued in the second quarter. He opened the second period with a power-play goal, and Jug went in front (3:2). By the middle of the quarter, Mladost retook the lead (4:3). But, Jug responded with two goals, and the visitors had a 5:4 advantage in the finish of the first half. However, twenty seconds from the end of the first half, Cosmin Radu leveled the score – 5:5.
The third quarter belonged to Jug. Midway through this period, Loren Fatovic and Luka Loncar scored action goals, and the title-holder earned a 7:5 advantage. Milos Cuk found the net for 6:7, but Greek Alexandros Papanastasiou replied with two quick goals, and Jug jumped to a 9:6 lead.
Three seconds before the final break, Konstantin Kharkov found the net for 7:9.
In the first four minutes of the last period, Lovre Milos added two more goals and equalized once more – 9:9. In the 30th minute, Matijas Biljaka gave Mladost a 10:9 advantage. The hosts’ defense worked perfectly in these moments. After Biljaka’s goal, Jug had a 6 on 4 attack, but Mladost managed to defend. Still, Filip Krzic hit the back of the net from a counter-attack with 80 seconds to go and leveled at 10:10. Both teams missed their chances in the last minute and, just like in Dubrovnik on Saturday, the match entered the penalty shootout.
In the penalty shootout, only one of the home players found the net (Radu). On the other side, Obradovic, Fatovic, and Papanastasiou scored, and Jug celebrated a new win after a big thriller.
Schedule of the final series (best-of-five)
Saturday, July 18: Jug – Mladost 18:16
Wednesday, July 22: Mladost – Jug 11:13
Saturday, July 25: Jug – Mladost (20:15).
If it will be needed
Wednesday, July 29: Mladost – Jug (20:15)
Sunday, August 2: Jug – Mladost (20:15)
FOLLOW THE LIVE SCORE AND STATISTICS ON OUR PAGE, POWERED BY TOTAL WATERPOLO ARENA: Jug-Mladost, the final series of the Croatian League