Group A, Day 4 – Jadran Split (CRO) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) 21-7
Under a newly appointed head coach, Jure Marelja, Jadran was about to find back to the winning way. After bagging three points in Hannover on Day 1, the Croats had a weaker period, lost to Recco and Olympiacos at home, failed in the domestic cup final – so the match with bottom ranked Dinamo offered a now-or-never opportunity.
And Jadran took it. The first period offered some fine and exciting water polo, the hosts jumped to a 2-0 lead, but the Georgians came back to 2-2, held on for 4-3, then Niksa Dobud and Andelo Setka added two in 48 seconds for a three-goal lead.
Then in the second, the encounter turned into a lopsided contest as Jadran blew their rivals away. Though Dinamo were defeated heavily in all rounds, none of their previous matches brought such a thrashing within a quarter than in this period when Jadran staged a 8-0 rout. Jerko Marinic-Kragic returned to the pool – missed Day 3 action due to minor health issues – and quickly scored four goals. Three of those came really quickly, within 54 seconds in a row, to put the game in bed.
The second half was more balanced, Jadran have some breaks in scoring, once they had more than three minutes ‘off’, so at the end they added seven more in sixteen minutes, one less, then alone in that demolishing second period – still managed to equal the single-game scoring record of 21 goals, shared by Recco and Olympiacos till now.
How they saw it
Jure Marelja, coach, Jadran
“It’s a very good feeling that we won, and I’m happy with the way we achieved it. The players did everything we agreed in the locker room. I didn’t expect such a high scoring game and such a big difference, but I’m happy with it.”
Marino Cagalj, player, Jadran
“We started well and we didn’t have any problems. Now we must focus on our next game against Vouliagmeni, that is a big one in our quest for fourth place.”
Dejan Stanojevic, coach, Dinamo
“There was no question about the result. Well, we know from the beginning that our team is not on the level of the Champions League, especially after we changed six players since last year, and not even last season we were on level with the other teams. We must accept what is our level but at the same time we have to show some progress. Instead, we make mistakes which are not normal even at our level. We must change something as we cannot do like this, that OK, we are not at this level, so let’s just play till the end like this.
Players cannot approach the games likes this as these serve the preparation for the national team of Georgia and also them individually. We will make changes during the holidays.”
Andrija Vlahovic, player, Dinamo
“Jadran is better than us, contenders for the Final Eight. We tried to play, but we lack playing serious games. We are trying our best, but it is not working for us so far.”