PHOTO: ZVONKO PAVIĆ Cropix

AFTER THE DRAMA, AO JUG WON THE CROATIA CUP

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Having defeated Jadran from Split, AO Jug won another trophy. After the five-point lottery in the semi-final match, AO Jug also won the final after the five-point match

AO JUG – ADRIATIC 15:14 (5:1, 3:3, 1:4, 0:1 – 6:5)
JUG ADRIATIC OSIGURANJE: Popadić (12 saves), Prkoča, Djerkovic, Lazić, Joković 2, Burđelez, Daube 3 (1-2), Cabanas, Kržić, Burić 1, Grgurević 1, Žuvela, Jurišić, Mozara. COACH: Vjekoslav Kobešćak.
JADRAN: Anić (6 saves), Čagalj, Marinić Kragić, Biljaka, Z. Butić, Pejković, Bukić, Harkov 1, Đ. Radović, Vrlić 1, Fatović 6 (1-1), Dužević, Marcelić (2+1 defense), Gruwell. COACH: Jure Marelja

FIVE METERS SHOOTS: 10:9 Fatović; Žuvela – Anić defends; Harkov’s failure; 10:10 Joković; 11:10 Z. Butić; 11:11 Burić; 12:11 Bukić; 12:12 Daube; 13:12 Marinić Kragić; 13:13 Lazić; 14:13 Fatović; 14:14 Žuvela; Harkov’s failure; 15:14 Joković

The water polo players of AO Jug won their 16th Croatian Cup in the 28th final of this competition. This was their 70th trophy in their 100-year history. But the final was ideal for them, and for all spectators and water polo fans, this match was a real treat to watch.

I didn’t believe, regardless of the way it started, that the game could end with a big difference. Regardless of the fact that we had some additional chances in the third and last quarter. Nevertheless, the quality of the Adriatic is too great. Our rhythm dropped a little, but we kept our defense on a level. Except for Loren Fatović, no one would have stopped him today. Titles are won through defense. This is definitely our best match of the season. I would say, a well-deserved victory, because I don’t consider the five-point lottery. And it is practiced. And another important thing. This is the 70th trophy of this club, it’s a big, big number for one club.

Vjekoslav Kobešćak, Jug Adriatic Osiguranje coach

This final, which was played in Zadar, is reminiscent of the final in Zagreb in 2021, where the same opponents met. This time AO JUG took the lead, and they were in the position of executor. In the first part of the match, AO JUG won 5:1. Of these, Hannes Daube scored as many as four goals with an unused penalty. AO Jug stormed into the game and the game seemed to have entered a one-way street.

Gospari played perfect defense, aggressive and disciplined, and Jadran was not at the offensive level, that is, it was total “out of the zone”. Whatever they tried and whatever way they tried to get to the goal of AO Jug, it was difficult for them to create chances and shoot at the goal. And even if they shot at the goal, then Popadić was on a mission. Rarely did anything go into the goal.

AO Jug went to halftime with the score 8:4. The coach of the visitors was not satisfied with the result, which could be seen in certain changes in the second quarter of the game. The only one who was able to play against AO Jug was Gospar Loren Fatović who scored two goals.

Fatovic didn’t stop there. In the third quarter of the match, he scores three goals, and he is the most responsible for the fact that Jadran is holding the connection. At the end of the third part of the match, mistakes began to happen, and the opponents took advantage of their opportunities. And then the final quarter came.

The start of the last leg marked the return of Jadran. Fatović scored his seventh goal of the game, and Jadran was back in the game. After that, six minutes of attacks by both teams followed, and the defenses were on a level and no goals were scored. In the end, the score didn’t change and it went all the way to the penalty shootout.

AO Jug was better in the performance of five-pointers. And Maro Joković won his 46th club trophy, 36th of which with the Dubrovnik club. By the way, Joković has a total of 66 trophies and medals if we also include national team successes.

The bad opening hit us in the head. We even achieved all that and even had more players, a shot to win… Luck didn’t reward us in that, but for a reason because we started the match really badly. Lately, we have been playing like that, as if we need a result deficit to get rid of a slight cramp and to start playing only then. Congratulations to Jug, a deserved victory.

Jure Marelja, Jadran Split coach

Croatia was once a water polo superpower and had a strong national team and strong clubs that had great success on the international scene. What’s going on with Croatian water polo? We will write sometime in the future about everything that happened in history and the present, but what will happen in the future?

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