Dubrovnik is celebrating its champions as they brought the Champions League trophy home from Budapest, winning against Olympiacos 6-4
For the fourth time in the club’s history Jug Dubrovnik (CRO) won the Champions League after an amazing run. Coming to Budapest as placed third in the prelims, they beat host Eger (HUN) in the quarters then hunted down the two group winners, Recco (ITA) in the semifinals and Olympiacos (GRE) in the final. On June 4, 2016, the Greeks suffered their first defeat of the entire season in the final game, which saw some incredible goaltending from Marko Bijač, best goalie of the final-six tournament. Jug’s Felipe Perrone earned the MVP Award.
The final brought a tough defensive game, with only 10 goals – partly because of the two Croatian goalies who did an outstanding job in front of the cages. However, it was Jug’s Marko Bijač who came up really big this evening, he produced an amazing 76.5% saving percentage, making 13 stops on 17 shots. His older team-mate in the national team, Josip Pavić also posted important saves for Olympiacos but the virtual game-deciding shot just slipped in under his hand in the most crucial moment, at 4-4, 5:16 from time. And that shot came from Maro Joković who struggled for a while, the great Croatian leftie stood with 0/4 in shots at halftime, just as the other winger, Xavi Garcia. But when it was needed the most, both of them managed to beat Pavić in the second half – even if they finished with 1/6, those goals contributed a lot to Jug’s triumph.
Olympiacos couldn’t produce their usual efficiency in man-ups, they could put away only 2 from their 10 opportunities. At 5-4 they had two 6 on 5s, but Jug’s defence worked well and Bijač made the saves with 2:09, then with 1:06 minutes to go. Jug worked for its luck pretty hard, withstood the pressure inside the last minute as well and earned a penalty after a rebound with 11 seconds to go. And Felipe Perrone, MVP of the tournament (again after 2015), buried it to secure Jug’s win, 10 years after the club’s last victory in the Champions League.
This time the Margaret Island didn’t turn into a golden venue for Olympiacos: they won their only title here in Budapest back in 2002, now they lost in the final and what makes it even more painful that they suffered their very first defeat in the entire season now, in the very last and perhaps the most important match.
In the meantime, the Croatian players wildly celebrated the club’s 4th Champions League trophy which was a first in one aspect, since Jug won the previous three in finals held in Dubrovnik. Now they made it far from home arriving as a third placed team in the prelims but going all the way in Final Six.