Croatia Water Polo Team Defeats Serbia for Place in Europa Cup Final in Rijeka

By 8 April 2018

Croatia will face Spain in the final tonight in Rijeka. 

In the duel for first place in the group and placement into the Europa Cup final, the Croatian water polo team defeated Serbia 8:7 (1-3, 0-1, 3-1, 4-2) to packed stands at the Kantrida swimming pool in Rijeka, reports on April 7, 2018. 

After two quarters the Serbian team led 4:1, but in the second half of the match, the Croatian water polo players woke up in the attack, receiving only three goals in the third and fourth quarters and scoring seven goals.

With three goals, Loren Fatovic was the best goalscorer for Croatia. Two goals were scored by Ante Vukičević, and one by Luka Lončar, Maro Joković and Josip Vrlić. Filip Filipović was the most efficient on the Serbian team with three goals, while two goals were scored by Duško Pijetlović and one by Dušan Mandić and Miloš Cuk.

In the second game in group B, Montenegro surpassed France 10: 6. 

Croatia, with three wins and nine points, won first place in Group B, which is ahead of Serbia with six points, Montenegro with three and France without any. 

In Group A, Italy defeated Greece 10:7, but because of their loss to Spain, they took second place in the group. Regardless of the outcome between Spain and Hungary, Spain remained first in the group.

Thus, Croatia will play against Spain in the Sunday final (20:30) for the winner's trophy, while Serbia will play for the third place against Italy at 19:00. 

After the game, the Serbian camp sent congratulations to the Croatian water polo players, though some of Serbia's representatives had major objections to the judges in Rijeka.

"It was a great spectacle, but it was also enjoyed by those who do not understand this sport. We celebrated in the first half with both the game and the result. Later we lost our heads, control of the game, which Croatia used to get fast goals, first from the counter, and managed to return and eventually win the game,” said Serbia’s coach Savić.

Duško Pijetlović said that Croatia was a big player and that his team made a series of incomprehensible mistakes.

"When we are complete we will be better. We expected this kind of refereering, and we have nothing to complain about. It is very difficult for judges to do their job in this atmosphere. It'll be much better when we are on the other side of the Italians. I expect a much happier match with them tomorrow,” said Pijetlović.

Serbian Captain Filip Filipović had many objections to the judges as well. 

"After the first part of the match when we played very well, it was clear to us that the judges would take matters into their hands. The first two quarters were perfect, but when you only get three goals against Croatia, then it is very difficult to play,” Filipovic added, saying that he did not care that this was the third consecutive defeat by Croatia.

"Congratulations to them, they have done the job. But, how much the win is deserved, let someone else evaluate, Filipović concluded.