Primorje has claimed the first Regional league title this Friday thanks to a 15-9 win in the Final Four final over fellow Croatian rivals Jug at home in Rijeka. After two straight Adriatic league championships the reigning Croatian champions continued to dominate the region with now adding the title of the Adriatic league successor, the Regional league where Serbian teams were included in the former Adriatic league competition. The win on Friday however did not came easy. In fact, the home team had to overcome a sloppy 0-2 start to the game where Jug came out firing grabbing an early 1-4 lead in the second period and still led 3-5 at half-time. Things turned around completely though in the second half. Here Primorje took the initiative, grabbed the lead in the third period and more or less dominated the final quarter to post a comfortable 6-goal victory. Centre-forward Cosmin Radu, regular season top scorer Sandro Sukno and Spanish lefty Xavi Garcia led the Primorje scorers with 3 each. Former Primorje player Paulo Obradovic led all scorers with 4.
Regional League Final Four
Final Friday 03-04:
Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) vs. Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) 15-9 (0-2, 3-3, 7-3, 5-1) Primorje scorers: Cosmin Radu 3, Sandro Sukno 3, Xavi Garcia 3, Damir Buric 2, Andelo Setka 2, Petar Muslim, Marko Elez.
Jug scorers: Paulo Obradovic 4, Nikola Janovic 2, Ante Viskovic 2, Nicolas Constantin-Bicari.
In an ultimate battle Croatian rivals Primorje and Jug will battle for the inaugural Regional league title on Friday in the final but for the Final Four hosts their semifinal on Thursday against 4th seed Mladost became a scare in the second half as a seemingly comfortable 9-4 half-time lead quickly dissapeared thanks to a 1-4 run by Mladost in the third period. And despite centre-forward Cosmin Radu scoring his 3th for Primorje with 5.00 remaining giving the home team an 11-8 lead Mladost kept fighting and standout Ante Vukicevic (6 goals) answered half a minute later. However in the final phase Primorje kept their composure and good defence that assured the victory despite Vukicevic scoring a penalty goal in the final second for the 11-10 final score. Jug meanwhile was expected to have a daunting task in overcoming Radnicki but put up a convincing performance thanks to an early 3-0 lead in the opening period that laid the foundation for a dominant 10-4 win. Now both Croatian powerhouses will face off in Rijeka on Friday for the first Regional league championships. Primorje won the last two editions of its predecessor, the Adriatic league which was won by Jug in its inaugural 2008-2009 season.
Regional league Final Four
Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) vs. HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) 11-10 (4-1, 5-3, 1-4, 1-2) Primorje scorers: Cosmin Radu 3, Ivan Buljubasic 3, Ivan Krapic 2, Damir Buric, Petar Muslim, Xavi Garcia.
Mladost scorers: Ante Vukicevic 6, Ivan Milakovic 2, Antonio Buha, Andrija Basic.
Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) vs. VK Radnicki Kon Tiki Kragujevac (SRB) 10-4 (3-0, 2-1, 4-3, 1-0) Jug scorers: Miho Boskovic 2, Loren Fatovic 2, Nikola Janovic, Aaron Younger, Pavo Markovic, Ante Viskovic, Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, Marko Ivankovic.
Radnicki scorers: Nikola Dedovic 2, Josip Vrlic, Marko Cuk.
Final Friday 03-04:
20.30: Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) vs. Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO)
An expert committee consisting of Perica Bukić, Milorad Krivokapić, Đuro Marić, Rok Vehovec and Milivoj Bebić picked the Regional league regular season best players and announced them on Wednesday. Primorje's goalkeeper Frano Vican was declared best goalkeeper of the season while league top scorer with 59 goals, fellow Primorje player Sandro Sukno, earned best player honours. The members of the committee in different roles were present during most matches of the recently finished regional league regular season and therewith were able to make a shortlist of both categories from which both players were selected. The league's finale starts Thursday as Primorje hosts the Final Four facing Mladost Zagreb in the semifinals on Thursday while third Croatian side Jug Dubrovnik takes on the only Serbian team Radnicki Kragujevac in the 2nd semis match-up. The winners will battle for the inaugural league title on Friday in the final, also in Rijeka, Croatia.