The tournament in Skopje on Friday and Sunday ended the second season of the SEHA Handball League. The winner is CO Zagreb who beat Vardar, the champions of the first season, in extra time. Zagreb beat Meškov, the regular season winners from Belarus, in the semi-finals on Friday as Vardar beat Metalurg in an emotional Macedonian derby. Metalurg beat the Belarus team in the battle for 3rd spot thus reversing the league standings in the Final Four.
Both days in the Boris Trajkovski Arena in Skopje showed great handball performances, a fact visible in the scoreline and the fact that Metalurg, the Champions League quarter-finalists, were unable to reach the finals in their second attempt. The stands were filled with home fans with attendance of up to 4500.
In the final press conference, the SEHA League president, Mihajlo Mihajlovski, announced that the FF is going to be played in Serbia next year if Partizan or Vojvodina manage to earn a place among the league’s top four teams.
The coach of the winning team from Zagreb, Boris Dvoršek, concluded this press conference by saying:
- I would like to congratulate my players for a month of hard work in which they were ready to give up so many things to succeed. The goal was to get to the finals and we are proud of our game and the result. The atmosphere was great. The game was great, it had everything, from goalkeeper saves to nice goals. I’ve said to the guys - be tough, play a hard game. They did exactly that and bravo for them. I am proud of my young team’s character for not losing heart when we conceded a goal in the last second of the match. And we even conceded a goal at the beginning of the first extra time, we played with a man down (J. Valčić), and we got through all of that. Personally, I am happy for being given a chance to hang out with and play against the legendary Veselin Vujović.
Vardar coach Veselin Vujović sent his congratulations:
- They got their revenge for last season, they managed to beat us here in Skopje despite the fact that we were marginal favorites. This just shows the quality of the SEHA League as it is not always the hosts that win the final tournament.
Final Four in numbers:
VARDAR - CO ZAGREB 24-25 (21-21, 11-10)
Referees: Gusko and Repkin (Belarus).
VARDAR: Milić (12), Daskalovski; Lazović 1, Ojlevski, Markoski 1, Stoilov 1, Pribak 3, Dragaš, Raković 1, Petrić 4, Jovčevski, Marković 1, Lazarov 1, Karačić 6 (3), Rajković 3, Abutović 2.
Coach: Veselin Vujović.
CO ZAGREB: Stevanović, Ivić (12); Marić 1, Mihić 1, Brozović, Stepančić 7, Matulić 6 (2), Šprem, Špiler 6, Šebetić, Batinović, Horvat 2, J. Valčić 1, Sršen, T. Valčić, Mandalinić 1.
Coach: Boris Dvoršek.
3rd place play-off
METALURG - MEŠKOV 26-21 (13-8)
Referees: Amar and Dino Konjičanin (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
METALURG: Stanić, Mitrevski (17); Rakčević, Levov, Borjan Mađoski 1, Vugrinec 5 (2), Naumovski, Georgijevski 1, Kozlina 7, Z. Mojsovski 3, Doder 1, Batinović 4, Bojan Mađoski, Jonovski 1, Mandić, Peševski 3, Koražija.
Coach: Lino Červar.
MEŠKOV BREST: Patotski (1), Čerapenka (6); Atajevas 2, Markotić 1, Knudsen 1, Novicki 1, Prekapenja 2, Knjazev 1, Šumak 2, Vukić, Baranov 1, Grosas 1, Kostadinović 1, Karačić 2, Tatarin 6 (2), Ušal.
Coach: Vladimir Savko.
CO ZAGREB - MEŠKOV 31-29 (16-17)
Referees: Načevski and Nikolov (Macedonia).
CO ZAGREB: Stevanović (2), Ivić (10); Marić 1, Mihić, Brozović 3, Stepančić 7, Matulić 2 (2), Šprem 2, Špiler 3, Šebetić, Batinović 2, Horvat 6, J. Valčić 2, Sršen, T. Valčić 2, Mandalinić 1.
MEŠKOV BREST: Božić, Čerapenka (9); Atajevas 2, Markotić, Knudsen 5, Novicki, Prekapenja 2, Knjazev 3, Šumak 5, Vukić 8 (3), Baranov 3, Grosas, Kostadinović, Karačić 1, Tatarin, Ušal.
VARDAR - METALURG 22-21 (12-9)
Referees: Gubica i Milošević (Croatia).
VARDAR: Milić (14), Daskalovski; Lazović 1, Ojlevski 1, Markoski 1, Stoilov 3, Pribak 1, Dragaš, Raković 3, Petrić 2, Jovčevski 1, Marković 2, Lazarov 1, Karačić 5, Rajković 1 (1), Abutović.
METALURG: Stanić (7), Angelov; Rakčević 1, Levov 2, Dimovski 1, Vugrinec 5 (2), Georgijevski 4, Kozlina 2, Z. Mojsovski, Doder 2, N. Mojsovski 2, Batinović 2, Jonovski, Mandić, Alušovski, Koražija.
Final Four MVP: Strahinja Milić (Vardar)
Final Four Top Scorer: Luka Stepančić (CO Zagreb) 14 goals
Final Four Top Seven:
Goalkeeper: Strahinja Milić (Vardar)
Left Winger: Jurij Tatarin (Meškov)
Right Winger: Zlatko Horvat (CO Zagreb)
Pivot: Stojanče Stoilov (Vardar)
Left Back: Miladin Kozlina (Metalurg)
Center Back: Igor Karačić (Vardar)
Right Back: Luka Stepančić (CO Zagreb)
1ST place: CO Zagreb 35 000 euros
2nd place: Vardar 25 000 euros
3rd place: Metalurg 15 000 euros
4th place: Meškov 5 000 euros