Jug water polo club defended the championship title in Croatia after a 9:4 win in Zagreb against home team Mladost. The club from Dubrovnik won the final series 3:1. It was their third straight title and 14th since the country gained independence.
Jug’s captain Marko Bijac had a double reason to celebrate because he was named the Most valuable player of the final series. He had 38 saves in four games and really deserved to win the prize.
After games two and three in the series, probably no one expected that Jug will have such an easy job in Zagreb. And the home team started in a good way.
Very quickly Mladost managed to equalize in the first quarter after Jug gained the lead through Luka Loncar. The scorer for the home team was center Cosmin Radu.
Loncar continued to torment Mladost’s defense. He also scored a second goal of the game for Jug, and after that was fouled for a penalty which Xavi Garcia converted to a goal for a 3:1 lead after the first quarter.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Jug could get an even bigger lead, but Mladost goalkeeper Ivan Marcelic made some brilliant saves. He won one on one duels against Loncar and Loren Fatovic.
But, the problem for the home team was that no one else besides Marcelic could make a difference in the swimming pool tonight. Before the end of the first half, Jug found the net two more times. First, it was Hrvoje Benic and then Garcia again from the penalty shot made it 5:1.
In the third quarter, both teams scored a goal each and that kind of tough defensive game, of course, was the better for Jug. They managed to maintain the control of the game and entered the last quarter with a 6:2 lead.
When Loncar made it 7:2 at the beginning of the last quarter it was clear that the guest could start their very well deserved celebration.
Also, this was the third trophy for Jug this season, because they also defended the throne in the national cup as well in the regional league.
But, the season is not over for Jug – they travel to Genoa to take their place at the LEN Champions League final eight tournament. There, they will have a quarterfinal match against the defending European champion, Szolnok.
Mladost 4:9 Jug
(1:3, 0:2, 1:1, 2:3)
Mladost: Radu, Zovic, Markovic, Paskvalin
Jug: Loncar 3, Jokovic 2, Garcia 2, Benic, Fatovic