Novi Beograd, Crvena Zvezda, Radnicki, and Partizan are the semifinalists of the playoffs of the Serbian Championships.
Radnicki, Novi Beograd, and Crvena Zvezda beat their respective rivals convincingly in both games of the quarterfinals. As expected, the most exciting duel was the one between Partizan and Sabac.
Partizan, the 5th-placed team in the regular season, earned a spot in the semis after a penalty shootout in the second leg. Partizan won the game in Belgrade by three goals (9:6). Sabac recorded a 14:11 victory at home, so the penalty shootout decided the winner in the aggregate score. After six rounds of shots, Partizan was better in the shootout (4:3) and qualified for the semifinals.
2022/23 Serbian Championship, quarterfinals (best of two)
Sabac – Partizan 17:15 (3:2, 5:2, 4:4, 2:3 – PSO 3:4) – first leg 6:9
Sabac: Stojanovic 6, Sulc 3, Krug 1, Stanic 1, Korac 1, Toholj 1, Markovic 1.
Partizan: Milos 3, Gladovic 2, Smiljevic 2, Giga 2, Trtovic 1, Jaukovic 1.
Penatly shootout: Stojanovic, Sulc, Markovic for Sabac; Gladovic 2, Giga 1, Jaksic 1 for Partizan.
Crvena zvezda – Vukovi 16:7 (4:1, 2:1, 6:2, 4:3) – first leg 13:6
Crvena Zvezda: Radovic 3, Subotic 2, Vasic 2, Dankovic 2, Seman 2, Milojevic 2, Tankosic 1, Gajic 1, Basara 1.
NBG Vukovi: Sofranac 3, Janosevic 1, Markovic 1, Urosevic 1.
Novi Beograd – Vojvodina 28:6 (5:1, 6:1, 8:1, 9:3) – first leg 21:6
Novi Beograd: Skoumpakis 5, S. Rasovic 4, Pijetlovic 4, Shushiashvili 4, Martinovic 2, V.Rasovic 2, Vucinic 2, Jaksic 2, Granados 1, Vlachopoulos 1.
Vojvodina: Rogac 3, Boskovic 1, Mitrovic 1, Radovanlija 1.
Radnicki – Valis 16:12 (3:4, 5:3, 4:4, 4:1) – first leg 13:5
Radnicki: Kojic 3, Lukic 3, Vrlic 3, Jankovic 2, Draskovic 1, Cuk 1, Brankovic 1, Poznanovic 1.
Valis: Radanovic 4, Bursac 3, Nikolov 2, Posmuga 1, Obradovic 1, Baucalo 1.
All eyes were on Sabac since everything in the remaining three pairs was practically decided last week.
Sabac led throughout the home match against Partizan. The hosts erased a three-goal deficit from Belgrade and earned an advantage in the aggregate score by the middle break. At halftime, Sabac was 8:4 up. Ognjen Stojanovic, one of the most talented players who “grew up” at Partizan’s water polo school in the past ten years, was Sabac’s power engine. He netted six goals in the second match. The hosts were very close to the semifinals as they had a 5-goal lead at the finish (14:9). However, Partizan prolonged the game in a shootout, scoring two goals in the last 50 seconds (Gladovic and Smiljevic) for 11:14. Both goalkeepers, Stefan Zivojinovic (Sabac) and Evgeny Kostrov (Partizan), posted a few saves in the shootout, but the visitors were more successful. They emerged as the winners in the penalty thriller – 4:3 to secure themselves a spot in the semis.
Partizan’s rival in the semifinals will be the reigning champion and 1st-placed team in the regular season Novi Beograd, which cruised to the next round with two very convincing wins over Vojvodina.The semifinal series (best of three) begins on Saturday. Pairs: Novi Beograd – Partizan, Crvena Zvezda – Radnicki. Novi Beograd and Crvena Zvezda will be the hosts in the first and eventual third matches
The Serbian Cup winner Crvena Zvezda defeated Novi Beograd’s development team NBG Vukovi with ease in both games. The “Red Whites” are still without center-forward Milos Vukicevic, who hasn’t recovered from an injury, but, despite that fact, NBG Vukovi didn’t pose a danger to them. Crvena Zvezda beat Vukovi by nine goals in the second match (16:7).
Radnicki beat Valis Valjevo twice. The Kragujevac-based side played without first-pick goalkeeper Lazar Dobozanov in the second game. Radnicki had an 8-goal advantage from the first match and entered the return game quite relaxed. Valis played at full speed from the beginning and had a 6:3 advantage after ten minutes. The visitors scored more goals in these ten minutes than in the 32 minutes of the first match. Still, Radnicki came back and went ahead at the finish of the first half (8:7). Each side scored four goals apiece in the third period, so Radnicki had a slim 12:11 lead before the final eight minutes. The hosts broke Valis’s resistance with four straight goals in the fourth quarter for a safe 16:11 lead.
Novi Beograd beat Partizan in each of the four encounters between these two teams this season (Regional League, semifinals of the Serbian Cup and twice in the regular season)