Thriller in Novi Sad
A lot harder than it was expected, the Belgrade Vukovi, won their game in Novi Sad against the Dukes 28-21. The winning touchdown in the SELAF`s most interesting game this season was scored on a catch by Igor Nedeljković, one minute before the end.
Like in their first game, the Belgrade team dropped a 14 point lead from halftime, allowing the opponent to level the score, this time mostly caused by a large number of penalties that kept the Dukes in a dominant position throughout the second half. Unlike the second half though, the first half suggested a different score in the end.
The home team`s first unsuccessful drive ended with a punt that forced Vukovi to start from their own two. It didn`t matter much, as Andrej Tasić once again proved to be one of the better players in the league, scoring on a 98 yard run on the first play. However, that the home team also has some fast players proved to be true when RB Marko Đanić ran all the way to the Vukovi`s 9 yard line. One play later the score was tied when Čaba Juhas ran in for a score.
The rest of the first half lacked the excitement from the start of the game, but not the points as Vukovi scored twice, unlike the home team which struggled on offense. First Lazar Nikolić scored from the two yard line, followed by fellow running back Marko Vujačić`s 8 yard score for the Vukovi`s 21-7 halftime lead.
The team from Novi Sad showed determination in the second half, and didn`t let Vukovi run over them like it probably would`ve happened in the years before. After Vukovi`s failed FG attempt, the Dukes scored taking advantage from a large number of penalties by the Belgrade`s side.
The same thing continued after the Dukes` second score – the Belgrade team continued giving yardage through penalties, but the Dukes didn`t take advantage. On the contrary – starting the last quarter, the ball was knocked loose from Čaba Juhas` hands and the Vukovi took possesion. Their grip on the game was short lived as they failed on a 4th down attempt on the Dukes half. The game`s ending was entertaining and full of tension – one of the game`s best players Čaba Juhas completed an oustanding pass to somewhat forgotten by the Vukovi`s secondary Ivan Dudaš for a 85 yard touchdown. The pass that electrified 2500 spectators made the possibility of the Dukes winning over a much favored Belgrade side not so unprobable anymore.
But in the end, the support from the stands wasn`t enough for them, even though they had opportunities to stop their opponent. The Vukovi completed more than one pass on 3rd down which kept their drive alive and eventually allowed them to take the lead again. With a little trouble just before the end zone they eventually scored on a pass to Nedeljković.
“It was tougher than we thought it would be. I won`t comment the referees too much. We`re happy with the win and that`s the most important thing for us”, said after the match Ivan Ristić, the Vukovi`s safety.
"Congrats to everyone, the game was very intense. There aren`t any weak teams left, every team is serious”, Igor Hoffman, the visiting team`s coach added.
On the Vukovi`s last touchdown, prior to the score Lazar Nikolić fumbled, but the ball stayed in their possesion. “The ball maybe could`ve been ours, but I`m not going to talk about the referees. We tried our best”, said Juhas briefly.
Photo gallery from the match.