With another win over Vojvodina, this time in Novi Sad, Vardar 1961 has on Tuesday afternoon managed to join Eurofarm Pelister as the second team to book a ticket for the SEHA – Gazprom League final tournament.
The "Red&Blacks" delivered a splendid performance in the second half, eventually celebrating a 26:32 win. The match did not start the way guest-team coach Vlado Nedanovski and his players were hoping – Vojvodina was looking really well, especially on the defensive side of the court, taking an early five-goal lead (6:1) less than ten minutes into the match. Macedonians managed to find a way to catch the right rhythm finding ways to the net, however after the first 30 minutes, the hosts were 15:11 up. Simo Sijan and Aleksandar Kurtes were leading them scoring four goals each in that period, while Goce Georgievski netted just as much for Vardar 1961. In the second half, we've seen a whole new Vardar team. Macedonians managed to completely cut the gap with just under 20 minutes on the clock (19:19), taking complete control of the match, and in the end winning it 26:32. Goce Georgievski delivered a splendid performance scoring ten goals from just as many attempts, Jan Czuwara contributed with seven, six of which came in the second half, while Filip Taleski finished the match with six goals. Simo Sijan was shining with nine, and Aleksandar Kurtes added five, but that was far from enough for Vojvodina to keep on building on that first-half lead, and try to endanger Vardar.
The "Red&Blacks" have with this win joined Eurofarm Pelister as the first two teams to secure the SEHA – Gazprom League final tournament tickets. That also means that the two teams that have finished the regular part of the season on top of their respective groups – Tatran Presov and Vojvodina haven't managed to capitalize on that success, and are now both out of the competition.
On Wednesday, we'll find out the name of the third team that will compete in this season's SEHA – Gazprom League final tournament, as Partizan travels to Hungary to meet Telekom Veszprem.
Dragan Kukic, Vojvodina assistant coach:
Our young players played an excellent first half. The opponent probably underestimated them a little, as I feel like they entered the match more relaxed. Our players took advantage of that and I congratulate them on that. Vardar’s experience and quality were visible in the second half when they were looking much better in defence, pressuring our players to make mistakes, and taking advantage of our short rotation. A well-deserved win for Vardar in the end, I wish them all the best going forward.
Djordje Drasko, Vojvodina player:
It is a great honour to play against Vardar. We played great in the first half. In the second half, we weren’t able to keep the tempo high as our roster lacked some players, but overall it was a great experience.
Stojan Petrusevski, Vardar 1961 assistant coach:
We didn’t enter the match well. We were way too relaxed, however, that does not mean anything in terms of Vojvodina and their really good performance in the first half. A win for us in the end, but I’ve got to congratulate Vojvodina on the season they are having, and the quality work they are doing with these young guys.
Martin Karapalevski, Vardar 1961 player:
We played a bad first half, especially those opening 10 minutes when our team was not on the court. I have to congratulate the opponents on the way they performed in that first half. At the break, we agreed on a couple of things, and I feel like our longer bench and experience decided this one and now, let’s see how far we can go in this competition.