For the second year in a row, Novi Beograd will play in the final of the Champions League.
The host of the Final Eight defeated Barceloneta – 12:10 after a penalty shootout in the first semifinal game.
Barceloneta had a 4:1 and 5:2 lead in the second period. But, Novi Beograd found its rhythm and produced a 4:0 series to earn a 6:5
advantage. Barceloneta made a new turn. In the middle of the quarter, the Spaniards led 8:7. Still the match entered the shoootut (8:8). Novi Beograd had stronger nerves in the penalty thriller and qualified for the final.
The power play conversion was one of the factors that made the difference. Barceloneta didn’t convert a single of its eight man-up attacks, but it made no mistakes from the 5m line in the regular time (3/3). Novi Beograd scored four goals from 11 man-up opportunities.
Olympiacos convincingly beat Jug in the first semifinals of the 5th-8th place classification.
2023 Final Eight Belgrade, Semifinal 1
Barceloneta – Novi Beograd 10:12 (1:1, 4:2, 1:4, 2:1, PSO 2:4)
Barceloneta: Aguirre, Famera, Matkovic 1, Munarriz 3, De Toro, Larumbe 2, Pavillard, Fernandez, Tahull, Perrone 2, Biel, Bustos, Porter. Head coach: Fatovic.
Novi Beograd: Filipovic, S.Rasovic 1, Martinovic, Granados 1, Vucinic, Pijetlovic 2, Drasovic 1, Jaksic 1, Perkovic, Vlachopoulos 1, Skoumpakis 1, V.Rasovic, Fernandez. Head coach: Gocic.
Penalty shootout:Perrone 1:0, Drasovic 1:1, Munarriz hit the post, Granados 1:2, Larumbe 2:2, S.Rasovic 2:3 (Filipovic replaced Coimbra Fernandez in front of Novi Beograd’s goal), Pavillard – Filipovic saved, Vlachopoulos 2:4
Novi Beograd opened the match fine. Already in the second minute, Nikola Jaksic converted a man-up to give the Serbian champion a 1:0 lead. The hosts kept a slim advantage until the 6th minute, when Marc Larumbe leveled from a counter attack to set the score of the first quarter.
Barceloneta’s defense was very tight in the first half. The Spaniards kept Novi Beograd far from their goal, while the attack was better and better. Barceloneta produced a 3:0 run in the second quarter. In the middle of this period, Matkovic scored from a tricky shot and Barceloneta went to 4:1. Most of Novi Beograd’s attempts in the attack in the first half were shots from a perimeter.. Barceloneta kept the Serbs far from its goal. Novi Beograd couldn’t score for more than 12 minutes. Strahinja Rasovic ended that period with a long-distance shot (2:4). In the next possession, Barceoneta regained a 3-goal lead after Munarriz converted a penalty. Still, two goals separated the rivals at halftime. Skoumpakis found the net from the deep left (3:5) and boosted the home team’s hopes.
The teams switched the roles in the third quarter. Novi Beograd imposed its rhythm. The Serbs strengthened their defense. At the same time, Novi Beograd became more and more aggressive in the attack. The hosts found better solutions and made more opportunities from close range shots. Barceloneta couldn’t guard Novi Beograd’s center-forwards as well as it did in the first half. Dusko Pijetlovic, netted for 4:5 in the 25th minute and Novi Beograd continued its comeback.
Drasovic leveled at 5:5. The fourth Novi Beograd’s goal in a row was Granados‘, who converted a 6 on 5 and put the Serbian team in front – 6:5 in the 22nd minute. Marc Larumbe broke Novi Beograd’s 4:0 series from a penalty shot (6:6).
However Dusko Pijetlovic closed this period, with a power play goal for 7:6.
By the middle of the fourth quarter, Barceloneta made a new turn. Munarriz leveled at 7:7 with an excellent from seven meters. Perrone put the Spaniards in front from a counter-attack 8:7. But, Vlachopoulos leveled quickly with an extra player. There were no goals in the last three minutes. Novi Beograd had the last possession and earned a man-up. Granados had his shot blocked in the dying seconds, and Vlachopoulos missed, so the match entered the penalty shootout.
The shootout ended after four series. All Novi Beograd’s shooters found the net. At the other end of the pool, Munarriz hit the post in the 2nd round. Before the 4th round, Zivko Gocic switched goalkeepers – Filipovic replaced Coimbra. That turned as an excellent move. Filipovic saved a shot from Pavillard. Vlachopoulos sent the ball home at the other end, and Novi Beograd went to the final.
Semifinals 5th – 8th place, Match 1
Jug – Olympiacos 5:14 (0:4, 1:3, 0:4, 4:3)
Jug: Popadic, Burdjelez, Mozara, Zvono 1, Jokovic 1, Vukojevic 1, Biljaka, Lazic, Prkoca 2, Kakaris 1, Grgurevic, Zuvela, Jurisic. Head coach: Kobescak.
Olympiacos: Bijac, Gkillas, Vamos 2, Genidounias 1, Fountoulis, Gouvis 1, Dervisis 1, Buslje 1, Mourikis 1, Filipovic 1, Dimou 2, Papanastasiou 4, Zerdevas. Head coach: Milanovic.