Day 7, Group A: Jadran Split (CRO) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) 5-9
Both sides enjoyed some uplifting experience last weekend, Jadran managed to beat arch-rival Jug in the domestic league to secure the top spot in the regular season while Barceloneta came off with another trophy from the Spanish cup weekend. Though that required a hack of input from the team as they had to win a series of matches and in the final they had a really tough encounter with Sabadell and could down them only in the penalty shootout.
After that, a Monday travel to Split and a Tuesday game against Jadran was perhaps the last thing they wished for – but at the end they showed outstanding quality and real character as they simply blew the Croats away and they needed only two periods to achieve that.
It was amazing how they killed the hosts’ offence – and this time the usage of this word is not an overstatement. The Spaniards simply left no chance for their rivals, they denied them in three man-downs while taking a 0-2 lead in the first period, thanks to Alberto Munarriz’s double. Then early in the second they floored them by scoring three goals in 50 (!) seconds: a penalty goal was followed by two fast ones, Felipe Perrone’s second goal after a steal and a one-on-one was demoralising and not even an emergency time-out did much to regroup Jadran.
The Croats could force only one man-up in this quarter, missed it and Marc Larumbe penalised them with an action goal. The home players were more and more desperate, but they were unable to beat Edu Lorrio in the Spanish goal, so the halftime score looked disastrous from the hosts’ perspective: 0-6.
It didn’t get much better in the third – though Barceloneta also slowed down and missed two man-ups (but killed two more), Luke Pavillard managed to add another one from action after a scoreless period of almost seven minutes. This latter piece of stats was nothing compared to Jadran’s miseries – they could finally break the ice after 21:59 painfully long minutes as Rino Buric’s 6m shot found the back of the net for 1-7. Martin Famera replied from a 6 on 5 but at least the Croats could add two more inside the last minute for 3-8, so it looked slightly more acceptable (at least numerically).
Running out of steam, the visitors no longer pushed that hard, though still defended well enough to shut out Jadran in the first five minutes of the final period before Luka Bukic pulled one more back from an extra. The last 30 seconds saw one goal apiece – leaving only one Croatian happy in the pool: the coach of Barceloneta, Elvis Fatovic.
How they saw it
Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta
“I think, for us the most important was the beginning. We were tired after the cup, still, we could show a very good defence and were sharp in attack in the first half. It was inevitable that we were getting tired in the second part of the game.”
Jure Marelja, coach, Jadran
“The first two periods were disappointing, and we cannot be happy that we lost by only four at the end. Barceloneta’s goalkeeper was tremendous, thanks to him, they could play their fantastic counter-attacking game, so we didn’t have any chance, to be honest.”