Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v CN Marseille (FRA) 14-9
Andrija Prlainovic’s fine shot from the perimeter kicked off the party, Marko Zuvela equalised right away from an extra, but soon the French took the upper hand. It was Croatian Ante Vukicevic who netted two fine goals lately in the opening period to give the French a 2-4 lead, despite Jug managed to kill two man-downs earlier. A fine save also prevented them from pulling one back before the first break.
It came soon, though, Zuvela converted a penalty, but Prlainovic also was on target in a 6 on 5. Loren Fatovic netted an extra from the next possession for 4-5 and soon it was even as Goran Grgujevic’s magnificent backhander hit the back of the net. A great steal denied the French in their man-up, however, later they earned a penalty during the next extra and Serbian double Olympic gold medallist Prlainovic sent it home to regain the lead.
Still, the Croats also had a veteran Olympic champ on board and Maro Jokovic’s magical left did some damage in the last two minutes of the first half. First, he blasted one from an unusual position, from the leftback’s spot, then defenders didn’t pay too much attention to him while he approached the goal, and he sent a fierce shot to the net. It was a five-goal rally from the hosts in the second period, so they could turn into the third with a 7-6 advantage.
After a quick exchange of man-up goals, Jug had a chance to double their lead, but they couldn’t make their man-up after a time-out – unlike Marseille, where the time-out helped to set up Ugo Crousillat who had a clear shot and the leftie didn’t make any mistake. However, soon the Croats started rolling while the French – a bit unexpectedly – virtually faded from the scene.
Franko Lazic put away a man-up, then Jokovic let the ball fly once more from the distance, so Jug had the two-goal lead finally. And soon the gap grew bigger, Fatovic netted another man-up, then Toni Mozara finished off a counter and finally the Jug defence easily neutralised a man-down to crown their 4-0 run.
That was decisive – and to start the last period in style, another French man-up was denied while Jokovic netted his fourth (all from action!), at 13-8 was inevitable that there would be no way back for Marseille. There was not indeed, the French could score one more, Prlainovic hit his fifth, though it was rather a gift from the hosts as their lazy backpass found the Serb unguarded. Marseille’s ‘real’ attacks didn’t work any longer, the visitors wasted two more man-ups while Grgurevic put away the last one to conclude Jug’s outstanding 6-1 rush after 8-8.
How they saw it
Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug
It was a tough match and a great performance from our side. Again, we started with a bit low energy level, we were weak in defence. Then we raised our level, our defence tightened, and we started to make good decisions in attack. Jokovic scored few goals to further lift the team’s morale so I should say that we played the last two quarters extremely well. We hoped for a win but didn’t expect such margin, so I’m really satisfied.”
Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille
„We started the game really well, however, it did not take much time for Jug to solve the problems they had at the beginning. We tried to re-organise our defence, but our man-up and man-down didn’t go well at all after a while. We couldn’t manage to score enough to stay in the game for long enough. Jug played with discipline and created more and more problems for us.”