Crvena Zvezda is a new winner of the Serbian Cup.
The Red Whites shocked two favorites on their way to the trophy at the Final Four in Belgrade. Yesterday, they beat Radnicki, the outgoing Serbian Cup champion, in the semifinals (11:10).
Today, they downed one of the favorites for the Champions League title, Novi Beograd. It was a game with a lot of twists and turns. It was a real rollercoaster. And the result was the same as in the semifinals. Crvena Zvezda recorded an 11:10 victory.
We must mention that Radnicki and Novi Beograd had a lot of trouble with their rosters before the tournament. Many players of Novi Beograd haven’t recovered from injuries or illnesses. Two big aces, Nikola Jaksic and Angelos Vlachopoulos didn’t play at the Final Four.
Crvena Zvezda’s win is a huge surprise, but the “Red Whites” deserved the trophy.
An overture for the men’s final was the gold match of the Serbian Cup for ladies. Vojvodina retained the trophy with a win over Crvena Zvezda.
Novi Beograd – Crvena Zvezda 10:11 (2:3, 5:2, 2:5,1:1)
Novi Beograd: Pedro, S.Rasovic 2, Mandic 3, Granados 2, Vucinic, Pijetlovic 1, Drasovic 1, Cetkovic, Perkovic, Martinovic, Skoumpakis, V.Rasovic 1, Shushishvili. Head coach: Gocic.
Crvena Zvezda: Misovic, Tankosic 1, Gajic, Markovic, Subotic 2,Vasic 1, B.Banicevic, Basara 2, M. Vukicevic, Seman 2, Milojevic, Radovic 2, Ivanovic, Dankovic. Head coach: Filipovic.
Crvena Zvezda started bravely. It didn’t bring a white flag. Crvena Zvezda’s defense was excellent in the first eight minutes. Its players didn’t commit a single personal foul in the first quarter. Novi Beograd had four exclusions. Crvena Zvezda converted two of its three man-ups in this period but missed one penalty shot. Still, at the first break, the team in blue caps had a slim 3:2 lead.
Crvena Zvezda had a great chance to double its advantage early in the second quarter when Dusan Vasic started a counter-attack. But, Novi Beograd’s goalie Joao Pedro saved Vasic’s one-to-one shot. That was one of the turning points in the game. After that save, Novi Beograd produced a 5:0 series and earned a 7:3 lead. Still, at the finish of the quarter, Crvena Zvezda got back into the game with two goals (one from a penalty and another from a man-up) and halved the deficit to 5:7.
However, new twists were yet to come. Crvena Zvezda kept momentum after the middle break and continued its series. It opened the second half with four consecutive goals. Three minutes before the last break, Dusan vasic found the net from a distance to give Crvena Zvezda a 9:7 lead. Immediately after, Drasovic ended Zvezda’s 6:0 run. Strahinja Rasovic leveled the score at 9:9. Still, Crvena Zvezda entered the final period leading 10:9 as Lucas Seman scored with an extra player in the 23rd minute.
Fans’ support was wind in Crvena Zvezda’s back. The water was boiling. Crvena Zvezda kept a minimal advantage until the middle of the fourth period. In the 28th minute, Perkovic equalized with a power play advantage (10:10). But, Basara put Zvezda in front shortly after, firing the ball from the left for 11:10 with three minutes left on the clock.
Novi Beograd did everything it could in attack, but it couldn’t equalize. Vladimir Misovic posted some nice saves, and Crvena Zvezda maintained a minimal lead.
Novi Beograd lost the ball in its last attack with 25 seconds left on the clock. Crvena Zvezda kept the ball after that and started celebrating a surprising win.
Viktor Jelenic, the president of the Serbian Water Polo Federation, presented the trophy to Crvena Zvezda’s captain Dusan Markovic.
Crvena Zvezda’s coach Aleksandar Filipovic commented:
“My players deserved the trophy because they did their best from the first minute until the last buzzer of the match. We believed in ourselves. As Novak Djokovic said- dream your dreams. They may come true. We had a dream. We knew that we could beat the favorites and we succeeded. We were four goals down in the second quarter, but after that, we fixed mistakes in our attack and re-found our rhythm, which led us to victory.
Filipovic was Crvena Zvezda’s coach in the season 2020/21 when the club won its previous trophy in the national cup.
Novi Beograd lost the final game of the Serbian Cup for the second time in a row, last year it was defeated by Radnicki.
Zivko Gocic, who arrived at Novi Beograd last summer, coached Novi Beograd for the first time in a final match. After the loss, he said:
“We dominated in one part of the final match. But, after that, we didn’t continue to keep the game under control. The fatigue of our players and the fact that we had one player less on the roster (including only one goalkeeper) took their toll.
We had big troubles with injuries and illnesses in the past ten days. However, we don’t ask for excuses. I am unhappy, of course, we came here to win the trophy. But, I have to say that the players fought as best as they could considering all circumstances. However, we made some mistakes, and let the rival score some easy goals. The match entered a thrilling finish. We didn’t handle well at the finish of the game. We finished some of our attacks rashly like we wanted to score two goals in one attack.
Congratulations to Crvena Zvezda. They played their game, they made the most of the current situation and deserved the trophy.”
2006/07: Partizan; 2007/08: Partizan; 2008/09: Partizan; 2009/10: Partizan; 2010/11: Partizan; 2011/12: Partizan; 2012/13. Crvena zvezda; 2013/14: Crvena zvezda; 2014/15: Radnicki; 2015/16: Partizan; 2016/17: Partizan; 2017/18: Partizan; 2018/19: Sabac; 2019/20: KVK Radnički; 2020/21: Crvena zvezda; 2021/22: KVK Radnicki, 2022/23: Crvena Zvezda.
Before the men’s final, the gold-medal match of the Serbian Cup for ladies was held.
Vojvodina Novi Sad won its third national cup in a row.
The team from Novi Sad was the favorite against Crvena Zvezda. The Belgrade-based team kept up with Vojvodina in the first half. Moreover, one goal separated the rivals in the middle of the third period (Vojvodina led 9:8). But, in the last four minutes of the third period, Vojvodina produced a 3:0 run for a 12:8 lead which was vital for the outcome.
Vojvodina – Crvena Zvezda 12:9 (3:2, 5:5, 4:1, 0:1)
Vojvodina: Hamzeva 4, Svec 3, Amylaeva 2, Savtchenko 2, Avdic 1.
Crvena Zvezda: Mamoglou 3, I.Ljijuc 2, J.Ljijic 1, Todorovski 1, Ilic 1.