Group C: Jadran Split (CRO) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 16-13
The first half followed a strict pattern – the Serbs took the lead, and the Croats equalised. It happened seven times, only the eighth goal of Zvezda remained without an answer as it came 6 seconds before the middle break. As usual, from a man-up – 10 of the 15 goals were scored from 6 on 5s.
To follow the script in the third, Antonio Duzevic converted an extra for 8-8, then Dusan Vasic netted a penalty (that was their third from the 5m line), but again, Loren Fatovic sent the ball home from another man-up for 9-9. Then came the first twist in the plot – Drasko Gogov scored a rare action goal for the Serbs from a counter and 48 seconds later they netted the usual 6 on 5 goal to take a 9-11 lead. Further 47 seconds later Marko Radovic had a golden chance, but Mate Anic managed to stop his penalty, and that brought the biggest twist of the game. With 1:13 to go, Loren Fatovic pushed in a lucky rebound, and 26 seconds later it was all even once more as Fatovic finished off a counter and a block denied Zvezda’s last man-up in this period.
Both sides missed a man-up, then Jadran started rolling – Jerko Marinic-Kragic scored a fine goal, then buried a penalty in 72 seconds –, the Croats were in a 4-0 rush. Gavril Subotic pulled one back, but leftie Konstantin Kharkov’s two great blasts closed down the contest. Marinic-Kragic converted another penalty for 16-12 – all in all, for a penalty miss at 9-11 the Serbs paid dearly as Jadran staged a 7-1 run after that, Vasic’s goal in the dying seconds didn’t matter much.
How the coaches saw it
Jurej Mateja, coach, Jadran
“The only good thing is that we got three points. We received too many goals, thirteen at home is not something we expected. We have big problems with their center-forwards, their man-up play, but of course, they had more international matches, we need a bit more but our time will come.”
Aleksandar Filipovic, coach, Zvezda
“We played a really good game at least for three periods, then we lost our concentration almost completely and you saw the result of that.”