Lunch-pack: few goals, many errors, three points for Barceloneta

Day 8, Group A – Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Jadran Split (CRO) 8-6

Twenty-five hours are usually enough to get to Australia from any point of Europe. This week it took Jadran this amount of time to fly from Split to Barcelona, due to the Armageddon in the Lufthansa network, caused by IT meltdowns and airport strikes.

Looking at the events in the first period, one may say what happened was inevitable. Only to add a footnote: ten days ago, it looked even more hopeless at the Croats’ home, and back then they arrived at their pool by their cars, not by Lufthansa. On day 7, Jadran were 0-6 down, could not score in the entire first half – now they went 0-4 down in eight minutes. Barceloneta started rolling right from the beginning, scored four action goals including two from counters, while the Croats missed two extras.

This time, however, the next stages weren’t as disastrous as in the previous match. Luka Bukic put Jadran on the scoreboard from their first possession in the second, and they could have come even closer, but their man-up play didn’t click at this stage. At the same time, their defence stepped up – though the Spaniards kind of stepped down, at least they no longer offered that dynamic and pulsing offensive play as in the first quarter. Martin Famera still netted one from action for 5-1, then the Croats went 0 for 4, while Felipe Perrone sent the ball home in Barceloneta’s next 6 on 5 for 6-1. Marin Delic replied from action, and to have some positives, the Croats denied back-to-back man-downs in the last minute.

Still, in the third for a while the boys from Split looked like if they had received some treatment against scoring as they missed three more 6 on 5s, so the hosts, also looking like to have an extended lunchbreak, could add one more again, Roger Tahull hit his second from action. Antonio Duzevic replied from action again with 1:09 on the clock, and the period ended the usual way, a missed extra from Jadran, this time a 5 on 4.

The Croats dropped to 0 for 9 early in the fourth, Barceloneta also missed one, so for the first time since the opening period Jadran could come inside four goals as Luka Bukic finally scored one at the end of a dying man-up. And they had a couple of possessions to further cut the gap but could not penetrate the home side’s defence and Luke Pavillard sent the ball home in a man-up with 4:34 to go for 8-4. 

Blocks denied the Croats in the following attacks and only two minutes remained when Duzevic scored a clear man-up goal for 8-5. Barceloneta’s offense ceased to work by this time, but Jadran could add only one more, from a penalty, with 1:06 before the final whistle. 

So however bad it looked after eight minutes, Jadran left the pool with a modest defeat – conceded only four in the last three periods, as many as they had in the first. Though they lacked the real sharpness in offence as their man-up play showed (had three occasions, when they passed the ball to the defenders’ hands), but it was more telling that they took only 19 shots and just 11 made it to the goal.

How they saw it

Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta

“The only good things we could take from this match are the three points we claimed. For four-five minutes we were really good, played on the level we wanted and took a 4-0 lead. Then, we started to look like as if we had travelled 25 hours to get here, not Jadran. I saw the main problem in our less disciplined attack, that helped Jadran to have easier transition and earn exclusions easier. Still, congrats for Jadran as they played really well despite all the difficulties to get here due to the strikes at the airports. We should take lessons from this game since the number of mistakes we made will not do much good for us in Recco in the following round.” 

Jurej Mateja, coach, Jadran

“I don’t think this is the end. We still have a match against Radnicki in Kragujevac and against Vouliagmeni at home, with those two wins we could get back in the game. So I don’t lose hope.”