CO Zagreb and HC Vardar played an interesting match in the Zagreb Arena. Match where the defence of both of the teams was not on the expected level, and where Dibirov and Stepancic compete who will score more goals, ended with a victory for CO Zagreb 30:29.The match started as an equalised game. HC Vardar had a lead of 1-2 goals difference but CO Zagreb got back in the game thanks to the amazing right back Stepancic who was unstoppable for Vardar defence. He scored 7 goals in the first half ( all from the outer line). In the 26th minute bad luck for HC Vardar-the right back and one of the best players of this team, Alex Dujshebaev got a serious injury of his ankle and could not get back in game until the end. Despite that, HC Vardar kept the difference of 2 goals until the 29th minute, but with 2 quick goals of Stepancic from 9 meters and Lovro Mihic from counterattack in the last second, the first half ended 15:15.
Similar game was played in the second half, but this period CO Zagreb had the lead most of the time. CO Zagreb had a continuous lead of 2/3 goals and HC Vardar thanks to the amazing left wing Dibirov was getting back in game. In the middle of the second half the line player Toskic got 2 minute suspension and in the next attack Stojance Stoilov, starting line player of Vardar, got a red card and Vardar remained with 2 players less on the court. CO Zagreb with the goal of Josip Valcic managed to increase the result with 3 goals to 26:23 in the 47 minute. Vardar did not stop and with the goals of Brumen from 7 meters and Rakovic managed to tie the match in the 56th minute. In the last minutes of the match the left back of Zagreb Stipe Mandalinic had his own goal show and with 2 goals in a series brought his team a lead of 30:28 in the 28th minute. Until the end of the match Vardar managed to reduce the result to 30:29, with the goal of Rakovic,which was the final result of this derby. With this victory the team of Zagreb settled on the first place in the table of the Seha league.
Boris Dvoršek(coach of Zagreb):
”We’ve played a great match, we wanted this win much more and I am really happy we won, especially because of our supporters. This was a true derby between two champions and I can’t say much more but that I am truly happy with the win.”
Luka Stepancic(Zagreb`s left back):
Atmosphere was great, I am really happy about the support we have had today. We were both playing really well in attack and in defence but we were in the end better and that’s it. I wish Vardar to be good in CL against Metalurg and we’ll see them in SEHA’s Final Four.”
Andon Boškovski(Vardar’s coach):
”We have done some too big mistakes especially in the defence and that is I believe the thing that has decided the match. Congrats to Zagreb for the win and we are turning to Metalurg and CL now.”
Igor Karačić( Vardar’s middle back):
This was a great match, true derby but we were not prepared enough and that is the reason we have lost the match in the end. We are now turning to Metalurg and that’s it. Congratulations to Zagreb for the great match.”
Arena: Arena Zagreb (Zagreb)
Referees: Peter Brunovsky i Vladimir Cand
Croatia osiguranje Zagreb: MARIĆ Marino 1/4, MIHIĆ Lovro 3/5, STEPANČIĆ Luka 9/13, MATULIĆ Jerko 0/1, MATIĆ Marko 1/3, STEVANOVIĆ Ivan(1 saves), ČORIĆ Teo, ŠEBETIĆ Luka 1/2, IVIĆ Filip (12 saves), HRVOJE Batinovic, HORVAT Zlatko 3/4, ŠUŠNJA Leon 1/1, VALČIĆ Josip 3/4, VALČIĆ Tonči 1/1, MANDALINIĆ Stipe 7/11, KALEB Ante 0/1
HC Vardar Skopje: MALUMBRES Aldave, STOILOV Mitko, STOILOV Stojanče 2/2, PRIBAK Nemanja 2/2, TOSKIĆ Alem 1, RAKOVIĆ Luka 4/4, MILIĆ Strahinja(9 saves), MARKOVIĆ Dobrivoje, KARAČIĆ Igor 2/4, DUJSHEBAEV Alex 2/3, LAZAROV Filip 2/8, TERZIĆ Stefan 1/2, DIBIROV Timur 11/18, BRUMEN Matjaž 1/3, CHIPURIN Mikhail 2/3