In a festive ambience in Nasice, Nexe were in their final group phase match of the SEHA season better than weakened Vardar (42:26) who have decided to arrive to Croatia without almost all of their first-team players and internationals like Dibirov, Kristopans, Skube and Stoilov.
A lot of famous people, mostly those closely connected to sports like Croatian football national team coach Zlatko Dalic and players Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Domagoj Vida and Ivica Olic as well as handball players Domagoj Duvnjak, Blazenko Lackovic, Alen Blazevic and Croatian national team coach Lino Cervar congratulated Nexe on their birthday via video message which was shown in King Tomislav sports hall right before the encounter. Before the match, Croatian president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic also congratulated the club a happy birthday wishing them all the best in the future.
Hosts opened the match better opening the gap to four in the first half providing home-team coach Hrvoje Horvat with a chance to give all of his younger players a chance to prove themselves. In opening five minutes of the second Mihailo Radovanovic grabbed five saves helping his team open the gap to nine (23:14) which sealed the deal in this one. Nexe’s advantage just kept on growing throughout the full course of the second with Vardar trying to get things to function better by changing defense or calling a time-out.
However, none of that proved to be helpful as Croatian vice-champions finished the first part of the season on a high note with a 42:26 win over both SEHA and European champions. Mario Tomic finished the match with eight while Dejan Kukulovski netted seven goals for Vardar.