Jug led 4-3, then came Recco’s storm

Credit to: Jug Adriatic Osiguranje

Group B: Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Pro Recco (ITA) 7-14

Two years ago, Jug stunned Recco at home, handling the titleholders their only defeat in the Champions League season. The Croats did surprisingly well in Piraeus on the opening day, losing only by penalties, despite leading by four goals at certain stages. A remarkable away win seemed within reach.

For a while, Jug managed to keep up with the Italian giants – but only for a while. Gergo Zalanki sent the ball home from a man-up to put Recco ahead after 44 seconds. It took Jug almost five minutes to score their first, but once they did it, just 34 seconds later, they added another one as Hannes Daube finished off a brilliant counterattack. Andrea Fondelli’s blast levelled the score, then Toni Mozara netted a 6 on 5 for 3-2. However, Konstantin Kakaris made no mistake also in a man-up, 25 seconds from time, tying the game at 3-3 after eight minutes.

Amidst some fine defending, both sides hit one from a man-up, and it was still even. For not so long, though, Aaron Younger came up with a double in 40 seconds, from action and the penalty line. Jug missed a man-up, and later another one, between the two Giacomo Cannella delivered for the Italians from their 6 on 5. This 0- turned out to be crucial, as the Croats could never recover from it.

Daube broke their almost 8-minute-long silence early in the third quarter. But once again, Recco’s defence worked extremely well, they didn’t let the hosts score any more in the third either while hitting three more till the last break. Despite a missed penalty, they were super-precise in man-ups and at the end, Younger netted another one from action for a 5-10 lead.

Nicholas Presciutti added another 6 on 5 goals early in the fourth quarter and the visiting side’s defence carried on its high level, this time shutting out Jug for 12:02 minutes. It was telling that after 4-3, Recco staged a 1-8 hammering, conceding a single goal in 19:42 minutes.

The last two and a half minutes brought a series of goals. Recco’s American centre Ben Hallock also sold in his trademark action goal, then he buried one from close range in a man-up. Recco was 8 for 10 in extras, a tremendous achievement in the home of a top Croatian team, at the same time, Jug’s main weapon was neutralised by the Italian defence as they held them on 5 for 14 in 6 on 5s.

Comments from the coaches

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug

“I think Recco was a much much better team today. We started well, but the difference in quality became visible in the second period and very visible in the third and fourth. We committed easy and cheap mistakes and Recco made good use of it. Of course, our offence didn’t work that well, but Recco’s defence was on another level, the physical difference was also huge. We are not close to them now but we have to rise for the next occasion.”

Sandro Sukno, coach, Recco

“My team played well, this is an excellent result against Jug in Dubrovnik, as we played with a very good team. We have six points from the first two matches, we play with Olympiacos at home and nine points would be a perfect start in the Champions League for our team.”