Jadran is lost in the Greek mountains

Day 12, Group A – Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jadran Split (CRO) 10-7

After Vouliagmeni’s win in Tbilisi, Jadran had a mountain to climb, a Greek one – not the Olympus, but another giant, Olympiacos. It would have required something very special from the Croats to make a miracle.

Jerko Marinic-Kragic opened the scoring, but Olympiacos hit back with a double in 74 seconds, though they failed to deliver in their following two extras. Jadran did, though Marton Vamos replied immediately from a fine action goal to put the hosts ahead for 3-2.

Konstantinos Genidounias’ blast from the perimeter kicked off the second quarter, then, after a missed man-up, Andro Buslje hit the next 6 on 5 against his fellow Croats for 5-2. Another Croatian made Jadran’s life even more difficult as Marko Bijac stopped Andelo Setka’s penalty and 23 seconds later Vamos netted his third so the Greeks enjoyed a massive 6-2 lead. Jadran wasted another extra before Luka Bukic made one 51 seconds before the break. Then 29 seconds into the third, he added an action goal to halve the distance at 6-4.

Konstantinos Mourikis had an easy put-away in a 6 on 5, then the following minutes were dominated by Jadran. They forced four exclusions while managed to keep the Greeks away from their goal – still, they could score only once in this almost six-minute period and that hit back as Nikolaos Gkillas halted Olympiacos’ scoreless run for 8-5. Again, Bukic gave some hope for his side by hitting his third, from action, before the final break.

Defences dominated early in the fourth, killed man-ups followed each other at both ends before Vamos sent the ball home from an extra to reset the three-goal difference. Marinic-Kragic buried a penalty soon for 9-7 and there were 3:50 minutes to play. The Croats defended well in a 6 on 4 but they were unable to come closer. The clock was ticking down, Jadran couldn’t create real danger, while Ioannis Fountoulis put an end to the contest – with some luck, a rebound in a man-up found him and he sent the ball back to the net for 10-7 with 1:07 remaining.

This loss may end Jadran’s dreams of the F8 – Vouliagmeni need to beat Radnicki at home to secure its berth and even if they fail to deliver that match, Jadran would still need to earn a point or more in Recco.