Novi Beograd and Jadran Herceg Novi finished the first phase of the Memorial tournament “Vlaho Bata Orlic” in Belgrade atop their groups.
Besides the hosts and the Montenegrins, four teams have participated in the tournament – Partizan and Sabac from Serbia, German champion Spandau 04, and Mladost Zagreb (Croatia).
In the first stage, the teams were split into two groups of three clubs. Novi Beograd, Jadran, Partizan, and Sabac advanced to the semifinals. Spandau and Mladost will play for 5th place.
Novi Beograd, Partizan, and Mladost played in Group A. Jadran, Sabac and Spandau were in Group B.
Novi Beograd beat Partizan 18:12 in the first game in Group A. The “Black Whites” kept up with the Serbian champion for almost three quarters. Two minutes before the third break, the score was 10:10. But Novi Beograd produced an 8:2 run in the last 10 minutes for a convincing win. The best scorers in the winning team were Nikola Jaksic (4) and Alvaro Granados (3). Vuk Draskovic, who recently joined Partizan (arrived from Radnicki), scored three for Partizan.
2 Filip Filipovic debuted for Novi Beograd with two goals against Partizan, the club where he grew up as a player.
Novi Beograd blew Mladost away in the second round – 19:8 with five goals from Granados. Dario Rakovac scored three for Mladost.
Partizan defeated Mladost 18:10 in the last round and qualified for the semifinals. It was a clash of two seven-time Champion League winners. Petar Smiljevic netted three goals for Partizan, but the best scorer was Mladost’s Jerko Penava (4).
Jadran Herceg Novi opened the play in Group B with a 17:12 victory over Spandau. The first half was quite balanced. The Montenegrin champion was just one step ahead of the Germans (10:9) at the middle break, but it dominated in the second half. Jadran, led by Matej Caraj (5 goals) recorded a five-goal win. Marek Tkac netted three goals for Spandau.
The remaining two games in Group B were very thrilling.
Sabac edged out Spandau 04 – 8:7 (the teams were tied at 6:6 before the final period). The best scorers in a close contest were Toholj, Macic (Sabac), Tomasovic and Strelezkij (Spandau 04), with two goals each.
After two losses, Spandau was out of the race for the semifinals, while the game Jadran – Sabac decided the group winner.
The encounter between the Serbs and the Montenegrins was a neck-and-neck from the first whistle until the final buzzer. Sabac led 8:7 and 9:8 in the dying minutes. Jadran leveled on both occasions. The Montenegrins scored the last goal in the match – 9:9 with 30 seconds left on the clock. According to the new rules, a penalty shootout decided a winner. Jadran was more successful and kept 1st place with a 13:11 win. Matej Caraj was Jadran’s best scorer again, with four goals, and Russian Dmitri Kholod added three. Mihajlo Repanovic scored three for Sabac.
The pairs of the semifinals: Novi Beograd – Sabac, Jadran – Partizan.
The tournament will end on Sunday.
Memorial Tournament “Vlaho Bata Orlic”, Group Stage
Novi Beograd – Partizan 18:12 (4:3, 0:1, 9:6, 5:2)
Novi Beograd – Mladost 19:8 (4:2, 5:3, 5:0, 5:3)
Mladost – Partizan 10:18 (3:5, 2:3, 2:4, 3:6)
Standings: 1. Novi Beogad 6, 2. Partizan 3, 3. Mladost 0.
Jadran HN – Spandau 04 17:12 (5:4, 5:5, 4:3, 3:0)
Sabac – Spandau 8:7 (1:1, 2:3, 4:3, 2:1).
Jadran HN – Sabac 13:11 (1:1, 4:3, 1:4, 3:1, PSO 4:2)
Standings: 1. Jadran 5, 2. Sabac 4, 3. Spandau 0.