Jadran Split Men's and Women's Teams Win Croatian Water Polo Cup!

By 20 December 2021
Jadran Split Men's and Women's Teams Win Croatian Water Polo Cup!
Matija Habljak/PIXSELL

December 20, 2021 - In the 30th season, and for the first time, the Jadran Split men's team took home the Croatian Water Polo Cup!

Jadran has won three European trophies (twice European champion, 1992 and 1993, and the Comen Cup), but nothing in domestic competitions, that is, until December 19, 2021, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

In 2021, in the third Croatian Cup final and the third against Jug, the Jadran men's team finally tasted victory. While Jug was after their 17th cup and 66th trophy, in their 101st year, Jadran reached its 15th trophy in history, and the first cup, including the former state cup.

"A good entry into the game helped us later. Congratulations to our goalkeeper, Mate Anić. When he is in goal like this, we can't lose," Jadran captain Anđelo Šetka said after the game. 

Jadran jumped on Jug from the first second of the final, celebrating every good move in the attack and defense. They defended three times with an extra man, and in the first five minutes, they beat the Jug goalkeeper Toni Popadić three times.

It was 4:0 in the last minute of the first quarter, and 5:1 lead seven seconds before the first break. Between Jadran's fourth and fifth goals, Jug managed to score a penalty thanks to Stylianos Argyropoulos.

Entering the 10th minute of the final, Jerko Marinić Kragić shot for the 6:1 Jadran lead, Luka Bukić scored for 7:2, and Antonio Dužević scored for 8:2. 

"The desire for the trophy, a 28-year fast, resulted in this success in these four quarters of the final. There was a huge danger that we would not implode, and in the end, we exploded. Congratulations to the players. We deserved this celebration," said Jadran coach Mile Smodlaka, who as a player had a string of successes with Jug.

Jug had hope in the second half of the second quarter when they scored three goals. They had a 9:6 attack, but they made a mistake. As a result, the best for Jug in the final, Stylianos Argyropoulos, was excluded, and Zvonimir Butić (10:6) used that opportunity with an extra man.

In the third quarter, after three and a half minutes, Jug's net shook for the first time, and Jadran was up by 5. However, Jadran goalkeeper Mate Anić recorded eight saves. Jug's hope then diminished. Less than three minutes before the end of the third quarter, Marino Čagalj scored for 12:6.

Jug coach Vjeko Kobešćak congratulated Jadran on its success.

"Better in every way - psychologically calm, swimming strength, much smarter in defense, they also had a counterattack, and we did not respond to any of their actions. We were catastrophic in the final," Kobešćak emphasized.

"I don't know in what words to describe this. We were motivated by the fact that we had been without a trophy for so long. That carried us. This resulted in a game like this in the final. We have written history," Anić emphasized.

And the Jadran's women's team celebrated, too. 

While Mladost led 10:7, the game was decided on penalties. Even though Jadran missed the first two, coach Aljoša Kunac brought the trophy to Zvončac. 

"It has become common to chase the result, but we opened the final better this time. Mladost turned it around and had those three extra goals less than seven minutes until the end. We did not give up. We managed to equalize," said the Jadran captain Ivana Butić, who was named the tournament's best player.

All four Butić sisters scored in the final - Ivana was the top scorer with four goals, and Jelena, Magdalena, and Domina managed to shake Mladost's net once. Marcela Mišić recorded 11 saves.

Mladost scored three goals for a 3:2 lead and Jadran had another advantage at 5:4 at the beginning of the third quarter. After equalizing at 6:6 and 7:7, then again at 10:10 to go into penalties.

"We came to Zagreb for the Cup; coach Kunac put a lot of effort. Thanks also to the coaches at the pool, who helped, primarily Marko Vlajić. This is a beautiful success," Butić emphasized.

Thuss, after five years, the Croatian Cup women's trophy returned to Split.

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