November 15, 2020 – Jadran Split and Mladost Zagreb with play in the LEN Cup this season after failing to qualify for the Champions League in Syracuse, Italy.
Jadran Split said goodbye to Syracuse and Champions League qualifications with a victory on Sunday. Namely, Jadran convincingly beat French club Pays d’Aix 11:5 in Sunday’s matinee, which started at 9 am.
Jadran already locked in the win in the first two quarters, after which they led 8:4. In the sixth minute, it was already 4:1, by the end of the first quarter, 5:2, and in the middle of the second quarter, it was 8:2 for Jadran. Not even the exclusion of center Dužević, two minutes before the end of the second quarter, could stop them.
Croats Maroje Gluhaić and Andro Gagulić scored two goals each for Pays d’Aix.
Mladost was also left without a spot in the Champions League after they were defeated by the home team Ortigia 9:8 (2-3, 3-2, 1-0, 2-4) in Syracuse.
Goalkeeper Jerko Jurlina recorded an enviable 13 saves. But on the other side, goalkeeper Stefano Tempesti booked 18 saves, two of them in the last 16 seconds of the game, from the Mladost extra-man attack at 9:8.
Ortigia opened the game better, and the left-handed, experienced Valentino Gallo gave Mladost the most trouble. All three of Ortigia’s goals in the first quarter were scored from the right (Rossi and Gallo – 2). However, Radu and Miloš kept the result close.
In the second quarter, less than two minutes before the half, with a new goal by Gallo, Ortigia was still up by two goals (5:3). Two excellent shots from the outside position, first by Kharkov, and then Buslje, equalized for 5:5.
The third quarter saw a great goal by Luka Bajic for Mladost’s first lead (5:6). A period of great plays by Lazić and Miloš followed. Towards the end of this quarter, Mladost had three consecutive shots in the same attack, but the ball bounced off the goalpost twice, while Tempesti remained solid in goal.
In the final eight minutes, Rossi equalized, but Kharkov again gave Mladost the advantage (6:7). In the middle of the quarter, Giacoppo equalized first (7:7), and less than a minute later, Mirarchi brought the hosts back to the lead (8:7). Mladost managed to equalize four minutes before the end, thanks to Luka Bajić.
However, in the last minute, with 46 seconds to go, after the exclusion of Viskovic, Giacoppa scored for the final 9:8 Ortigia victory.
Luka Bajić and Konstantin Kharkov scored two goals each for Mladost, while Valentino Gallo scored three goals for Ortigia.
Jadran Split and Mladost Zagreb will continue their European appearances in the LEN Euro Cup this season, and a draw will soon determine the pairs. Thus, the only Croatian representative in the Champions League will be Jug Dubrovnik.
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