Group B, Day 4 – Novi Beograd (SRB) v AN Brescia (ITA) 11-9
The teams continued where they stopped at the beginning of June in the semi-final when Angelos Vlachopoulos scored the winner for Novi Beograd with 0:05 to go to close down a thriller. The first period brought a game of high intensity, aggressive and vibrant defending and still some fine plays in offence at both ends. The Serbs jumped to a 3-0 lead, Dorde Vucinic hit two, Nikola Jaksic came up with a great one-timer – 3:33 remained from the period and Brescia were yet to score. However, soon they made up what they missed in the first five minutes, Vincenzo Renzuto sent the ball home from a man-up and with 1:25 remaining Edoardo di Somma blasted one from 6m for 3-2.
Missed extras kicked off the second period (two by the Serbs, one by the Italians), then Alvaro Granados made it 4-2 from action, but Vincenzo Dolce’s rocket also blew up in the net. Though Brescia killed the next man-down, Dimitrios Skoumpakis was on target from the perimeter which did not make Sandro Bovo too happy at the Italian bench. And the coach was even more upset as his players didn’t even take a shot in a 6 on 4. Netting the following man-up would have given the hosts a definite psychological advantage, but they were unable to deliver after a time-out, at least Joao Fernandez stopped Christian Presciutti’s close-range shot in a counter, so NBG led 5-3 at halftime.
Brescia missed a man-up early on and that proved to be crucial as Granados hit one from 6m for 6-3 at the other end and after that the Italians could never come closer than two goals. They always pulled one back, but the Serbs always found the answer. Three more exchange of goals followed still inside this period as NBG held on for a 9-6 lead. The Italians were unable to cope with their 6 on 5s, the hosts netted 3/3 in this phase.
They denied one in the fourth, Brescia could also survive the next, then Presciutti scored from action, still Radomir Drasovic put the ball away from the next 6 on 5 for 10-7. Boris Vapenski also buried an extra and Brescia then had two chances, a centre shot and a man-up, but Fernandez was tremendous in the goal. He had 16 saves altogether, played a huge part in the Serbs’ win, just like their extras as Miroslav Perkovic scored another one for 11-8, with 2:47 on the clock and that put the contest to bed. Dolce blasted one with 1:33 to go but that was too late, so NBG took the top spot and remained the only unbeaten side in this group.
How they saw it
Zivko Gocic, coach, Novi Beograd
“I guess it was our stabiliity in defence which made the difference for most of the game. We were very aggressive from the beginning and if we could do that in this way, it’s hard to play against us. Brescia also had a great performance, but our players gave everything, their heart, their power and I congratulate them for this evening’s victory.”
Sandro Bovo, coach, Brescia
“I can name the problem for my team easily: it was Novi Beograd. It is a great team, it’s hard to play against them, they are organised with many great individuals. We made a lot of stupid mistakes in the first half, our reaction in the second was good.”