HC CO Zagreb has, as a part of 8th round of SEHA GSS league, in a great derby of champions hosted Macedonian Vardar from Skopje and won 30:29 (15:15).
The whole first half was played in a tie with both teams playing good in defence and transforming defense to attack well. Zagreb has opened the match better and taken the first +2 lead in 10th minute. After that Vardar has transfered their defence to their perfect 5-1 which made Zagreb some problems especially because of strong players like Toskić or Stojanče Stoilov in the middle. Milić was also very good on goal with 6 saves in the first half and due to that Vardar had narrow lead through the whole first half. In the end Zagreb managed to score some easy goals over Stepančić and Mihić for 15:15 on halftime. Dibirov was Vardar's best scorer in the first half with 6 goals and on the other side Stepančić scored 7 for Zagreb.
In the second half Zagreb was playing much better, faster and with much more solutions in attack. After only a few minutes of run-and-gun handball Zagreb went on +2 and Vardar's coach was forced to call a time out. Vardar was able to catch Zagreb and get back on egal but in 47th minute Stojanče Stoilov picked a red card and Zagreb went again back on +2. In 53rd minute, after Vardar started playing harder in defence Raković scored for a new tie, at 26:26. In a thriller finish Zagreb managed to win and get back on top of league's table. Stepančić was outstanding for Zagreb with 9 goals, Mandalinić had 7 and Ivić had 9 saves, all in the second half. Speaking of Vardar Dibirov was unstoppable with 11 goals.
After the match home team coach Dvoršek was satisfied with his team's performance: ''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 truely happy with the win.''
Luka Stepančić was probably Zagreb's best player today with 9 goals: ''Atmosphere was great, I really happy about this much supporters 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 I we'll see them on SEHA's Final Four.''
Vardar's coach Boškovski admitted that Zagreb was simply better in the end today: ''We were doing some too big mistake in defence especially and that is I believe the thing that has decided the match. Congrats to Zagreb for the win and we're turning to Metalurg and CL now.''
Vardar's Croatian middle back Karačić: ''This was a great match, true derby but we weren't prepared enough and that's the reason we've lost the match in the end. We're now turning to Metalurg and that's it. Congratulations to Zagreb on a big match.''