In the fifth round of the SEHA – Gazprom League group stage, Nexe managed to take the win over Serbian champions Vojvodina by 36:31. Luka Moslavac led Nexe with eight goals, while Branko Tomic scored one more for Vojvodina.
After the opening phase of the match, the hosts managed to widen the gap to three goals (8:5) about ten minutes into the encounter. Nexe was, from the very start of the match, looking much better than in the premier encounter of these two teams earlier in the season, at least offensively finding the way to Vojvodina’s net 20 times in the first half alone. Luka Moslavac (5) and Karlo Godec (4) were leading the way for the Croatian vice-champions. The defensive display however didn’t match the attacking one as they allowed Vojvodina 17 goals before the half-time buzzer. Branko Tomic proved to be the key offensive asset for his team in the first netting six goals, while Luka Arsenic managed to stop 10 shots. Solid offensive display from the home side continued in the second half as well with Fran Mileta scoring his team’s 30th goal of the encounter with just under 15 minutes left to play in this one widening the gap to eight goals (30:22). As a reminder, Nexe lost to Vojvodina in Novi Sad by six goals which is certainly one of the reasons why Branko Tamse and his guys wanted to prove what they are made of and take a seat on the top of the group A with only their game against Eurofarm Pelister left until the end of this season’s group stage in their respective group. However, Vojvodina’s 6:2 goal-scoring series to end the match helped them reduce the gap to only five goals by the final buzzer which means they will remain on top of the group. Branko Tomic led the comeback, finishing the game with nine goals, while Luka Arsenic grabbed a total of 15 saves stopping over 30% of shots heading his way. Aleksandar Kurtes added six, while Djordje Drasko scored five. When it comes to today’s winners, Luka Moslavac led them offensively with eight goals while Karlo Godec and Tomislav Severec added seven each. Moreno Car and Mihailo Radovanovic combined for 11 saves.
Vojvodina that way remains first in group A with six points and a better goal difference in their direct encounters against Nexe which also has six points and a match in hand. Eurofarm Pelister remains third with three points. As said, the final SEHA – Gazprom League group stage encounter of group A is scheduled for March 14 with Croatian vice-champions playing Eurofarm Pelister away from home.
Albin Eter, Nexe assistant coach:
A good match for us today. We've started it a bit slower than we anticipated making too many mistakes. Later on, we even had a nine-goal lead but Vojvodina refused to give up and I have to congratulate them on that. I wish them all the best, and when it comes to us, our goal will obviously be to secure at least a point in Bitola and finish the group stage of the SEHA – Gazprom League on top of our group.
Luka Moslavac, Nexe player:
Congrats to Vojvodina on a great performance and great fighting spirit. Just when we thought we'll manage to keep the gap wide open until the very end, a really bad period happened to us, and they knew how to take advantage of that. We've played well in defence, but I feel like we've once again committed too many mistakes on the attacking side of the court. The goal will be to fix that before the match in Bitola.
Dragan Kukic, Vojvodina assistant coach:
I have to congratulate my guys on their performance here today despite the fact we lost the match. Nexe was a better team out there today, but I'm sure once some of our key players recover from injuries, we'll be ready for whatever challenge lies ahead.
Branko Tomic, Vojvodina player:
I agree with the coach – the deal was sealed quite early when it comes to who is going to win the match, but our goal was to try and narrow the gap as much as possible. We showed character fighting until the very end, proving that we have some really great, talented young players in our roster. I can proudly say we left everything out there today.