Jadran Split Tops Jug for First Regional Water Polo League Final!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Grgo Jelavic/PIXSELL
Grgo Jelavic/PIXSELL

For the first time in history, Jadran Split will play in the Regional League final. Jadran succeeded in an exciting and uncertain semifinal match, beating Dubrovnik’s Jug AO 18:16. 

The match saw a total of 35 exclusions, with a lot of aggression and contact. Both coaches received yellow cards, so there was work for the referees and on the benches. Both teams also changed their goalkeepers. There were 34 goals, or a goal every 55 seconds in 32 minutes of play. It was the match of Jerko Marinić Kragić, who scored seven goals for Jadran. 

Unlike all previous matches between these two clubs, Jug started much better, leading the first two quarters by two goals. However, Jadran was always close. Jug was up 3:1, 5:3, 6:4, and 7:5; they had the opportunity to go to plus three in the second quarter. Jadran finally took the lead for the first time at 10:9 through captain Šetka 4 seconds before halftime.

Mile Smodlaka was the first to change the goalkeeper, sending in Mate Anić instead of Ivan Marcelić. After the second quarter, when Jadran led 10:9, Vjeko Kobešćak, dissatisfied with the performance of his first goalkeeper Toni Popadić, sent 18-year-old Ivan Jurišić to defend in the second half. The goalkeeper took the flattering title of the best at the Croatian Junior Championship the other day.

Popadić ultimately returned to goal a minute and a half before the end of the game, which proved much too late. Jadran coach Mile Smodlaka also brought back Marcelić in the third quarter.

“This was not a nice match. I am sorry that we did not use that good start,” said Maro Joković, the most experienced Jug player. 

Jug awaits Radnički on Sunday, April 3, at 5 pm in the match for third place, while Jadran will start the battle for a new trophy this season after winning the Croatian Cup against Novi Belgrade at 8:30 pm. 

Before Jadran and Jug AO, the first semifinal included the two best Serbian teams, Novi Belgrade, and last season’s winner, Radnički from Kragujevac. Novi Belgrade celebrated 12:8 (2:0, 2:3, 4:4, 4:1). 

“Novi Belgrade is a top team. The favorite. But we will fight,” said Jug’s hero Jerko Marinić Kragić. 

The Regional League will get a new winner, either Jadran or the host Novi Belgrade. 

Source: Sportske Novosit

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