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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Monday, 18 January 2021

Jadran, Mladost, and Jug Advance to Regional League Final Four

January 18, 2021 - Three Croatian water polo teams - Jadran, Mladost, and Jug - have advanced to the Regional League Final Four!

The qualifying tournaments of the Premier Regional League ended in Belgrade and Dubrovnik, bringing us the semifinal pairs of the final tournament that will take place in Zagreb on March 26 and 27. In the semifinals, Mladost - Radnički and Jug Adriatic Osiguranje - Jadran will meet based on their placement in the tournament.

Šetka and Zović lead Jadran to victory

Jadran, primarily on the wings of five-time scorers, captain Anđelo Šetka and the left-handed returnee from Berlin, Ivan Domagoj Zović, defeated Primorje EB and thus won second place in Group A. This also means a spot in the Final Four. Jadran was better for most of the game, and if we omit the initial lead of Rijeka (1:0 and 2:1), Split led most of the match. In fact, on several occasions and quite convincingly (6:3, 7:4, and 9:6), and yet the finale was dramatic. Less than three minutes before the end of the match, Rijeka managed to equalize (10:10), and that dangerously threatened the ambitions of Jadran to qualify for the final tournament in Zagreb. Jadran ultimately sought victory over Primorje EB, in four quarters and without penalties, because any other outcome would seriously compromise Jadran's chances.  

Zović then managed to score two goals in less than a minute to go. Then, with an extra man, and 40 seconds left, captain Šetka undoubtedly resolved all doubts with a goal for 13:10 and secured his team's victory. 

Mladost convincing against Crvena Zvezda

Mladost routinely defeated the team that won the Serbian Cup some 20 days ago. Crvena Zvezda did not manage to take the lead at any moment, and the maximum they managed was three draws at the beginning of the match and the last at the beginning of the second quarter (5:5). A little later, Mladost was up by a 2-3 goal difference, and the advantage only increased as the game progressed. Cosmin Radu stood out for the winning team with four goals. Goalkeeper Ivan Marcelić was also solid with 12 saves.

Jug without a problem against Solaris

In the Dubrovnik Group B, Jug Adriatic Osiguranje, similar to Mladost in Belgrade, had no issues. In the last game, they defeated Solaris by nine goals. It was the third victory with such an advantage, while Radnički from Kragujevac was left with -11, and Budva with as many as 17 goals behind. The best scorers against Šibenik were Loren Fatović and Alexandros Papanastasiou, with three goals each. 

Radnički reached the semifinals

In Group B's last game, Radnički defeated Kotor's Primorac, a team led by Sandro Sukno, and thus confirmed second place and a spot in the semifinals for the 2020/21 season. The winner was ultimately decided in the third quarter. Namely, at halftime, Primorac still had a minimal advantage (8:7), and in the third quarter, the Kragujevac side scored five goals and received only 1. Primorac could no longer threaten that advantage in the last quarter. After a long time, a team from Serbia will play in the final tournament of the Regional League.

Source: HVS

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Sunday, 15 November 2020

Jadran Split and Mladost Zagreb to Compete in LEN Euro Cup

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. 

Source: HVS

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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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Wednesday, 15 July 2020

2020 Regional League: Jug and Mladost to Fight for Title

July 15, 2020 - Zagreb water polo club Mladost and Dubrovnik's Jug AO have advanced to the final of the Adriatic Regional League, which is being held at the Gruz swimming pool in Dubrovnik.

HRT reports that Jug AO was better than Jadran Split with a convincing score of 19-11 (5-2, 4-2, 6-3, 4-4). Dubrovnik was led by Hrvoje Benic, who scored five goals, and Loren Fatovic and Marin Tomasovic, who scored three goals each, while Antonio Duzevic and Zvonimir Butic were the best for Jadran, scoring three goals each.

As hosts, the Dubrovnik club confirmed their status as favorites and had no problems reaching the victory. Jug furiously started the meeting and gave the Split club little hope from the beginning. 

Until the middle of the first quarter, Jadran stayed afloat, losing 3-2 with two attacks to equalize, but Toni Popadic stopped the attempts of Marin Delic and Andelo Setka.

With the goals of Lozina, Benic and Obradovic, Jug went to 6-2, and even then, it was clear that Jadran would struggle to return to the game.

The host continued to increase their advantage and had the highest in the last quarter when a goal by Marin Tomasovic made it 18-8. By the end, Jadran managed to reduce the gap to the final 19-11.

The title defenders Mladost Zagreb met in the first semi-final match, defeating Jadran Carine from Herceg Novi with a score of 14-12 (1-3, 3-3, 6-4, 4-2). The Zagreb team came to victory in the second half after the Montenegrins won the first half 6-4.

The absolute hero of the duel was Luka Bukic, who scored an impressive seven goals for Mladost, while Milos Cuk added two, and Cosmin Radu, Konstantin Harkov, Josip Vrlic and Lovre Milos added one each. Vladan Spajic was the best for the Herceg Novi club with four goals.

Jug will thus fight for their fifth title, while Mladost will try to defend the title they won in the 2018/2019 season. 

The final is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 pm 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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Sunday, 24 November 2019

Croatian Cup Final: Mladost Tops Jug in Split for 2019 Title

November 24, 2019 - The Mladost Zagreb men's and women's water polo teams won the Croatian Cup in Split on Sunday. 

The first trophy of this water polo season goes to Zagreb! After a long eight years, the Croatian Cup Cup will shine again for the men's team at Mladost, which is their ninth total. At the Poljud pool in Split on Sunday, Mladost stopped the four-year-reign of Jug. 

HRT reports that the Mladost Zagreb men's team won the Croatian Cup on Sunday night after defeating Jug Dubrovnik 16-12 (3-3, 3-3, 7-4, 3-2) in the final in Split.

In a match with an unusually high number of goals, Mladost reached the Cup victory, mostly thanks to a great third quarter where they were up 7-4. Jug thus remains at 14 Cup trophies and have won the four previous seasons in a row.

Luka Bukić (4 goals), Cosmin Radu (3 goals), and Josip Vrlić and Franko Lazić, who scored two goals each, were the most effective for Mladost. Paulo Obradović scored five goals to be the best for Jug, while Loren Fatović scored three goals. 

The Mladost women's water polo team was also successful on Sunday and raised the Cup after a convincing victory over Split's Jadran. Namely, Mladost won the Croatian Cup after defeating Jadran in the final 20-5 to win their eighth Cup ever, and the third consecutive.

The Zagreb side was dominant in the victory, even though they were without their best possible lineup, as Petra Bukić, who was selected as the best Croatian water polo player in 2017 and 2018, was out due to injury.

However, the 2019 best player Emma Miljkovic was brilliant with six goals in the final. In the last minute of the second quarter, it was 11-0 for Mladost. Jadran's first goal came from a five-meter penalty. 

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Monday, 9 April 2018

Split's Nada Rugby Club Croatian Champion for 16th Consecutive Year!

A new triumph of Split rugby! 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Oldest Croatian Rugby Club Starts Crowdfunding Campaign To Get To The EURO

The Croatian Academic Rugby Club Mladost Zagreb got the invitation for the European Club Championship, but they do not have enough money to get there