Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Jug Becomes 2021/22 Croatian Water Polo Champion!

May 25, 2022 - Jug Dubrovnik celebrated against Jadran Split in Game 4 on Tuesday night to become the 2021/22 Croatian water polo champion. 

Dubrovnik water polo club Jug AO thus won their 17th Croatian title on Tuesday night and 39th national champion title in total. It is also the 66th overall trophy for the club.

In the fourth game of this year's Croatian championship final playoff, Jug defeated Jadran Split on penalties at their pool in Gruž, thus ending the series with 3:1 for Jug.

The result was 6:6 after 32 minutes of play, forcing the match into penalties. All four Jug players were accurate with their shots, while Marin Delić and Jerko Marinić Kragić did not score for Jadran.

It was a meeting with few goals, dominated by goalkeepers on both sides, and Jug held a 5:4 advantage from the end of the third quarter until a minute and a half before the end of the match. Then, Konstantin Kharkov scored for 5:5, which was Jadran's first goal after almost 14 minutes of play. Rino Burić then gave Jadran a 6:5 advantage 35 seconds before the final buzzer, i.e., one step closer to the decisive fifth game.

However, Jug started the last attack with seven attackers, which paid off because Hrvoje Benić equalized for 6:6 nine seconds before the end. The game was then decided on penalties, as was the first game, and Jug was more successful in the shootout once again. 

Just before the Croatian champion medals and trophies were distributed, individual awards and trophies for the 2021/22 season were presented in Dubrovnik:

Jerko Marinić Kragić (Jadran)  was named the top scorer in the Croatian Championship (63 goals)

Toni Popadić (Jug) was named the best goalkeeper in the Croatian Championship

Konstantinos Kakaris (Jug) was named the best player in the Croatian Championship.

Congrats to both Jug and Jadran on a season well done!

Source: HVS

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Monday, 4 April 2022

Jadran Split Takes 2nd Place in Regional Water Polo League, Jug Finishes 3rd

April 4, 2022 -  Jadran Split did not manage to take home the Regional Water Polo League title on Sunday, losing in the final of the tournament to the host Novi Belgrade 11-14 (2-1, 2-3, 3-6, 4-4).

Jadran thus failed to return the Regional League to Croatia. The trophy remained in Serbia after Radnički from Zagreb won it last year. 

There was hope that Jadran could write another beautiful story in its 102nd year of existence. They had waited for 30 years for the Croatian trophy, which they won at the end of last year defeating Jug in the Croatian Cup final. But this time, they didn't have enough. 

First half - 2:0 for Jadran, Novi Belgrade equalized at 2:2, then 4:2 for Jadran, then the return of the hosts - 4:4. In the third quarter - 5:4 for Jadran, 5:5, 6:5 for Jadran, 6:6, then Jadran attacked with two more players. However, with 3 minutes and 26 seconds until the end of the third quarter, the host took their first lead and continued this series with four goals in a row, reaching 9:6.

Jadran rightly looked down and shouted at referees Ivanovski and Obradović. First Marin Kliškinjić was removed from the Jadran bench, then coach Mile Smodlaka and Dejan Savičević finally led Jadran, who was without Rino Burić in the last six minutes due to three exclusions. 

Jerko Marinić Kragić was the triple scorer for Jadran, Luka Bukić and Konstantin Harkov added two goals each, and Rino Burić, Zvonimir Butić, Nikša Dobud, and Anđelo Šetka scored one goal each. Strahinja Rašović and Viktor Rašović were the best for Novi Belgrade with three goals, and Viktor Rasovic, Dusko Pijetlovic, Nikola Jaksic, Radomir Drasovic and Nika Shusiasvili scored two goals each.

This is the first Regional League title for Novi Belgrade. The MVP of the Final Four is Duško Pijetlović (Novi Belgrade).

Earlier on Sunday, Jug took third place, defeating last year's winner Radnički from Kagujevac 18-15 (5-4, 6-1, 6-5, 1-5).

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Sunday, 3 April 2022

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

April 3, 2022 - Jadran Split beat Jug Dubrovnik 18:16 on Saturday night for their first Regional League Final on Sunday against Serbian club Novi Belgrade. 

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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Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Mladost Becomes Croatian Water Polo Champion for First Time Since 2008!

May 26, 2021 - The 2020/2021 Croatian water polo champion has been named after the final fifth game between Mladost and Jug at the Dubrovnik swimming pool in Gruž.

Mladost became Croatian champions after beating the defending champion Jug AO 12-11 (2-1, 2-3, 1-1, 2-2; 5-4) in the decisive fifth game of the finals. Although they were down 0-2 in the finals, Mladost Zagreb managed to equalize at 2-2 thanks to two away victories against Dubrovnik club Jug AO. 

Today, the final fifth game was played in Dubrovnik.

This is the 11th title for Mladost, but the first after 2008 to break the dominance of Jug, which has won the last five championships.

Mladost reached the title with three consecutive victories, making up for the 0-2 deficit in the final series.

The last, fifth game of the Croatian championship took place in a very even game during all 32 minutes. Mladost was constantly in the lead, but at no point did they have an advantage of more than one goal, and with a goal for 7-7 17 seconds before the end, Garcia took the duel to a penalty shootout. 

During the penalty shootout, two of Loren Fatović's shots were saved by Mladost goalie Ivan Marcelić. Marcelić defended Fatović's attempt in the first series, and the Zagreb team kept that advantage until the third series when Toni Popadić defended Luka Bukić's attempt.

By the end of the fifth series, all the remaining players were successful, so the drama continued with the sixth series, in which the players who shot in the first had the opportunity to shoot again.

However, Fatović did not manage to defeat Marcelić even from the second attempt, and then the Romanian veteran Cosmin Radu was precise for the big Mladost celebration.

The most efficient for Mladost was Andro Bušlje with two goals, with one added by Lovre Miloš, Franko Lazić, Ante Visković, Konstantin Harkov, and Josip Vrlić, while the only double scorer for Jug AO was Paulo Obradović. Loren Fatović, Xavi Garcia, Alexandros Papanastasiou, Marko Žuvela, and Hrvoje Benić scored one each. 

Mladost coach Zoran Bajic was overjoyed to win the title.

"Such a turnaround can only be made by big teams, we have shown unity, heart, will. This was a water polo treat, the sugar at the end. I am extremely glad that after 13 years we have returned the title, we have shown that we are a real European club, and what will happen next is up to the leading people in the club. Luck eventually anointed us, we won on fives, but luck accompanies the brave," he pointed out.

"All goals today were crucial, especially penalties, that's luck, I can say a lottery. I can’t say that my goals were any more crucial than the others. We have shown in the last three games that we are the best team in Croatia. It was not easy to turn around, losing 2-0 in the final. We didn’t give up, we knew we weren’t in the pool for the first two games and then we decided to show that it wasn’t us. It opened up to us, we took advantage of the mistakes they made. Today the same was uncertain. The whole series was high quality," points out the best player of Mladost, Andro Bušlje.

"We deservedly lost the finals, Mladost was better, they won the Cup and the championship. We disappeared from the finals in the last three games. We were short of air, we couldn't match Mladost. Mladost had a better game, we currently do not have the physical and mental strength to win," said Jug coach Vjekoslav Kobešćak.

"We definitely lack the maturity to win a trophy and to play with teams like this," he added.

Mladost thus won 3:2 in the series with three away victories in a row!

Source: HRT

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Thursday, 17 December 2020

LEN Champions League: Jug Records Three Wins in Three Games

December 17, 2020 - The Jug AO water polo club from Dubrovnik secured their third victory in the Champions League Group A tournament in Ostia, Italy, after beating Greek Olympiacos 9-8 (0-1, 2-4, 3-0, 4-3) on Wednesday.

In the first two quarters, Olympiacos outplayed Dubrovnik, leading 5-2, and at the beginning of the third quarter, they also had a penalty, which was defended by goalkeeper Toni Popadić. This was followed by a turnaround, and by the end of the third quarter, Paulo Obradović scored two goals, and Daniil Merkulov and Jug equalized for 5-5.

In the last quarter, although Jug was constantly in the lead, Olympiacos kept the game equal. However, in the last three minutes, the Dubrovnik side inched ahead with goals by Loren Fatović and Paul Obradović for the 9-7 lead. By the end of the match, Olympiacos had only managed to mitigate the defeat.

Paulo Obradović was the most efficient for Jug with four goals. Loren Fatović scored two, and Javier Garcia, Marin Tomasović and Daniil Merkulov scored one goal each, while goalkeeper Toni Popadić collected 12 saves. Olympiacos was led by Marios Kapotsis with three and Konstantinos Genidounias with two goals.

Previously, in the Group A tournament of the Champions League in Ostia, Italy, Jug defeated Marseille 11-10, and German club Spandau 13-7. 

Most importantly, Jug took all 9 points in Ostia. In the last ten matches in the Champions League, this is the sixth victory of Jug, the third on neutral ground (twice in Budapest) plus one in Piraeus, and two in Gruz. They also have two victories against Olympiacos, both at home, with two draws, both in Greece.

The second Champions League tournament is played from March 1 to 5, 2021, (four rounds) and the third from April 19 to 22, 2021 (three rounds), while the final tournament, Final 8, is in Hanover from June 3 to 5, 2021.

Source: Slobodna Dalmacija

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Thursday, 23 July 2020

Croatian Water Polo Championships: Jug One Step Closer to Title

July 23, 2020 - In the second match of the playoff finals for the Croatian champion, played on Wednesday night in Zagreb, Dubrovnik's Jug AO were better than the home team Mladost in yet another penalty shootout and celebrated 13-11 (2-2, 3-3, 4-2, 1-3, 3-1) to take the 2-0 lead in the series to three wins.

HRT reports that the match ended in a 10-10 draw, and Jug goalkeeper Toni Popadic brought the Dubrovnik club the victory in the shootout with two crucial saves.

During regulation time, Jug's best scorer was Loren Fatovic with five goals, Alexandros Papanastasiou scored three, and Luka Loncar and Filip Krzic scored one goal each. Mladost's top scorer was Lovre Milos with four goals, Matias Biljaka scored two, and Milos Cuk, Luka Bukic, Franko Lazic and Konstantin Harkov scored one goal each.

After a tie game during the first two quarters, Jug created a three-goal lead in the third quarter (9-6), but the home team responded with a four-goal streak and took a 10-9 lead two and a half minutes before the end.

In the remaining time, only Filip Krzic managed to get past Mladost goalkeeper Marcelic to equalize at 10-10. Mladost had an attack to win, but the crossbar stopped Bowen's shot, so, just like in the first game, the winner was decided in a penalty shootout.

Here, the Dubrovnik team showed much more precision, and their goalkeeper Toni Popadic stopped the shots of Bukic and Lazic, while Bowen hit the crossbar. Thus, Jug took a 2-0 lead in the final series, and in three days, Vjekoslav Kobescak's team will have the opportunity to win the Croatian championship title for the fifth time in a row, and for the 16th time in total.

The third game of the finals is scheduled for Saturday, starting at 8:15 pm, and will be played in Dubrovnik at the Gruz swimming pool.

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Sunday, 19 July 2020

Croatian Water Polo Championship Finals: Jug Leads Mladost 1:0

July 19, 2020 - In the first game of the Croatian Championship finals, which took place in Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik water polo club Jug defeated Zagreb's Mladost with a better performance in the penalty shootout for a score of 18-16 (5-2, 4-4, 3-4, 1-3 - 5-3) to lead the series 1:0.

HRT reports that Mladost did not have the strength to beat Jug twice in Dubrovnik in just four days after they celebrated to win the Adriatic Regional League title on Wednesday. The Dubrovnik team started the match much better and were up by three points at half time. Mladost was also left without their best player, Milos Cuk, due to a penalty. However, the Zagreb club proved to be more physically prepared again, gained an advantage, and scored five points before the end of the match with a goal by American player Alex Bowen.

In the penalty shootout, all five players of Jug hit the net, while Jug goalkeeper Popadic defended Luka Bukic's shot.

Hrvoje Benic scored five goals for Jug, while Luka Bukic, Konstantin Harkov and Alex Bowen scored three goals each for Mladost.

The finals feature the only two clubs with a double-digit number of Croatian championships won - Jug has 15 titles, and Mladost 10.

The second match will be played in Zagreb, on July 22, starting at 6:45 PM, and the third match will be in Dubrovnik on July 25 (8:15 PM). Possible fourth and fifth matches will be played in Zagreb on July 29 and Dubrovnik on August 2.

Jadran Split and Solaris Sibenik met for the first game in the series for 3rd place on Saturday night at the outdoor Zvoncac pool in Split. The Split club defeated Solaris 13:9. The two clubs will meet for the second match on Monday, July 20, 2020, in Sibenik. 

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Thursday, 16 July 2020

Mladost Defeats Jug to Defend Regional League Title

July 16, 2020 - Zagreb's Mladost defended the title of the Adriatic Regional League, defeating the host Jug AO Dubrovnik 15-11 (3-2, 3-5, 7-2, 2-2) in the final played at the open swimming pool in Dubrovnik's Gruz.

HRT reports that Mladost reached their second title in this competition primarily with a great third quarter, which they won 7-2. The team from Zagreb managed to neutralize Loren Fatovic, who scored as many as five goals in the first two quarters, while the other players of the home team were utterly harmless in the attack.

On the other hand, Harkov filled Popadic's net with three goals and Cuk with two long-range shots. Perhaps the critical moment of the game happened in the middle of the third quarter, more precisely with the 10-8 result for Mladost, when the referees assessed that after Papanastasiou's shot, the ball did not cross the goal line, although the impression is that the Jug center scored.

The most efficient player for Mladost was Serbian player Milos Cuk with five goals, Konstantin Harkov added three, Alexander Bowen and Lovre Miloc scored two, and Cosmin Radu, Luka Bukic and Josip Vrlic scored one goal each. Loren Fatovic scored six times for Jug AO, though no one else scored more than one goal, including Filip Krzic, Danil Merkulov, Marko Zuvela, Hrvoje Benic and Paulo Obradovic. Ivan Marcelic was also great at the gates of Mladost with 14 saves.

Jug AO and Mladost will soon start the final series of the playoffs for the title of Croatian champion. The champion will be the team that is the first to achieve three victories, and the first game on the program is on Saturday in Dubrovnik.

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Thursday, 5 December 2019

LEN Champions League: Jug Books Another Win, Jadran and Mladost Suffer Heavy Defeats

December 5, 2019 - Jug AO, Jadran Split, and Mladost Zagreb played in the 6th round of the LEN Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. 

Jug AO opened the sixth round of the LEN Champions League in Group A against Hungarian club Szolnoki, winning 14:11 (4:4, 4:3, 3:1, 3:3).

After a precarious start on both sides where the defenses were far from their best, Jug and Szolnoki went goal for goal. Jug was the first to get their act together and towards the end of the second quarter, they were up by two goals. Szolnoki, however, managed to reduce Jug's lead to one. 

In the third quarter, Jug was steadily ahead, with a crucial moment in the last minute when Daniil Merkulov scored three goals (11-8), which turned out to be unattainable for Szolnoki.

Daniil Merkulov was the best for Jug with four goals. Alex Papanastasiou and Paulo Obradovic each scored three goals, Loren Fatovic scored two, while Xavi Garcia and Luka Lozina scored one. 

Jug’s final Champions League game this year is played on Monday, December 9, in Piraeus against the leaders of Group A, Olympiacos.

Jadran Split lost to Jadran Herceg Novi in the sixth round of Group A in the LEN Champions League 6:12. 

Jadran led 1:0 and 2:1, though the Montenegrin club came back for 3:5. At the beginning of the third quarter, Viskovic equalized for 5:5, though Jadran was unable to score more than one more goal for the remainder of the game. Herceg Novi, on the other hand, scored another seven for a final score of 6:12. 

Ante Viskovic was the best for Jadran with two goals, while Buric, Zovic and Delic scored one. 

Jadran will play their final Champions League game this year on Friday, December 13, against Barceloneta.

In the sixth round of the LEN Champions League Group B, Mladost lost to current European champion Ferencvaros in Budapest 5:14 (1:5, 3:2, 0:4, 1:3).

The Hungarian side was up by four goals already after the first quarter (5:1), and at the beginning of the second, it was 6:1. In the third quarter, Ferencvaros also led 11:4, and in the end, the host celebrated 14:5 and registered their fifth victory in Group B, while Mladost suffered their second defeat.

Ferencvaros was led by Marton Gyorgy Vasmos with three goals, while Josip Vrlic scored three goals for Mladost, and Milos Cuk and Cosmin Radu scored one. Mladost goalkeeper Ivan Marcelic recorded 13 saves. 

Mladost plays the final game of Champions League this year on December 9 in Zagreb against Marseille.

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Thursday, 21 November 2019

LEN Champions League: Jug and Mladost Win, Jadran and Szolnok Close in Hungary

November 21, 2019 - The 5th round of the LEN Champions League was held on Tuesday and Wednesday, which featured Croatian clubs Jadran Split, Jug AO, and Mladost Zagreb.

Jadran Split played an excellent match in the 5th round of Group A against Szolnok in Hungary on Tuesday, though in the end, they lost 5:4. The Split side played with superb defense, goalkeeper Mate Anic had a memorable night, and the brilliant Zvonimir Butic scored all four goals for Jadran.

In the first quarter, only one goal was scored by the home side, and only in the 13th minute did we see the second goal, when Butic equalized for 1:1. Szolnok finished the second quarter with a 3:1 lead, and then in the third led 4:1. Butic reduced the lead to 4:2, and the Hungarian club scored once more in the last eight minutes of the match for 5:2.

Butic again reduced the result to 5:4 in less than two minutes to go. Jadran arrived in Hungary without Setka and Krapic, Pejkovic and Butic,and Zovic. 

Jug AO defeated Russian club Sintez Kazan 18:10 (7:0, 4:2, 4:3, 3:5) at home in the 5th round of Group A. Loren Fatovic was the best for Jug with five goals and Paulo Obradovic scored three. Alexei Bugaychuk was the best for Sintez with three goals.

In the remaining games of Group A,  Olympiacos celebrated at home against Spandau 13:8, and Barceloneta celebrated away against Jadran Herceg Novi 13:12.

Olympiacos has a maximum of 15 points, Jug and Barceloneta follow with 12 points each, Szolnok has nine points and Jadran Split has four points. Sintez follows with three points, Spandau 04 has two,and Jadran Herceg Novi has one.

On Wednesday in the 5th round of Group B, Mladost defeated Hannover 15:13 (4:3, 4:4, 2:3, 5:3) in Zagreb, registering their third victory in the group.

Mladost had a hard but well-deserved victory over the German squad, who recorded their fifth defeat. Hanover only led once in the match (2:1), but the result was equal eight times. The key was brilliantly opening the last quarter, in which Mladost scored three goals for 13:10. Hanover reduced the lead to 13:12, but the home side scored two goals in a row for 15:12 and confirmed the victory.

Milos Cuk was most efficient for Mladost with six goals, Alexander Brant Bowen scored three goals, and Cosmin Radu and Aljosa Kunac scored two goals each, while Ivan Marcelic had seven saves in goal. For Hanover, Aleksandar Radovic scored four goals and Darko Brguljan scored three goals.

In Bologna, Pro Recco went 13:13 against Ferencvaros, breaking their winning streak in Champions League home games, which lasted 33 games.

The last time Pro Recco, led by former Croatia coach Ratko Rudic, did not celebrate at home in Europe was six years ago when Rijeka's Primorje won 8:6.

Ferencvaros leads Group B with 13 points, Hungary's OSC is in second with 12 points, Pro Recco fell to third with 11 points, and Mladost is fourth with 10 points. They are followed by Marseille (9), Terrassa (3), Hanover (0) and Dinamo (0).

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