National team of Serbia defeated Croatia with score 86:83 and has qualified into semifinal of the Olympic games in Rio! In the battle to enter grand final our basketball players will on Friday night , at midnight according to our time, meet the national team of Australia. The second semifinal pair are USA and Spain.

Serbia won in the qurter final duel with Croatia in the marathon penal finish where in the last 27 seconds there were even 20 free throws. Nevertheless, it turned out that the third quarter was decisive for the team coached by Aleksandar Djordjevic , as Serbia won that one with 34:14.Croat players returned , came to one point minus , but in the finish they did not manage to change the score.

The start of both teams , since the game was very important, was tight , and this reflected mostly in the offence. The first quarter was maked with lot of misses , but with the firm defence, too, and both teams crossed the bonus early. Seriba has started with offence production by Milan Macvan ( two three point field goals). After Teodosic’s assistance to Nikola Jokic and serial of 7:0 our team , in the sixth minute, reaches its highest advance in the first half – plus 5 (13:8), Nevertheless, Corats used their bonus better, and managed to maintian score balance from the free throw line. Besside that Bojan Bogdanovic was in a shooting mood, and in the first 20 minutes (4-5 for three points) scored 16 points , providing the opponent with necessry stability. Even though Serbia dominated in the first two parts with offence rebound ( even 11:3 for our team) , this advantage did not manage to materialize , owing to the lack of concentartaion in shooting in the reacket . In the finish of the first half Croatia turned this to its advantage and had advantage of six points , and this was the result with which teams went to break (32:38)

The team coached by Aleksandar Djordjevic played the fantastic game in the third quarter . Our players played theri recognizable defence , headed by stefan Markovic , who has, in the first minutes of the third part, completely stopped a Croat, Bojan Bogdanovic in his offensive play.Our captain deputy yearned in defence, stole balls and pulled counter offenses. The excellent defence led to easy points , and with Markovic counter (2+1) , Raduljica’s dunk and Bogdan Bogdanovic’s lay-up with the serial of 11:2 turned the score to 43:40 in 24th minute. Milos Teodosic, the captain, has animanted his team mates with precise assistances , and when Bogdan Bogdanovic entered shooting serial (three successful shooting for three point field goals in the third part) , the difference kept gtowing up to 14 points at the end of 30th minute ( 66:52).

The last quarter was marked with the decrease in our team paly. After Stefan Jovic scored three point field goal as the offence expired ( 69:55 in 32nd minute ) , Croatia scored a serial of points by Heyonja, Bojan Bogdanovic and Simon. The difference slowly „melted“, and three minutes before the end Planinic , from the free throw line, changed the score to one point adbantage for Serbia (74“73). Nevertheless, our team has shwon that it knows how to win in uncertain finishes. Teodosic assissted to centers Jokic and Raduljica , and two minutes before the end score was 78:75 for Serbia. Owing to our godd defence we maintained the advantage and we entered penal finish with three points plus. Teodosic was precise from the free throw line as well as Nikola Jokic , who scored four penals in a row in the last 13 seconds and thus verified the triumph and great success of Serbia.

Aleksandar Djordjevic

– Qualification into semifinal is good result, but do not think that we are satisfied and that we will stop. I thnik that we have right and obligation and ambition to fight in final! On both side tension and nervousness were present. This was not ordinary game, because games between serbia and Croatia are nvere ordinary ones and they are always something more than pure qualification into semifinal of a competition. My task was the most difficult, to cool the heads and reduce tension , simply to bring them back to basketball and we managed that at halfterm.

About the rival in semifinals Australia….

– I will not say that they have surprised us with their victory in the group, because we have known how they play , but Australia has presented strength , duel and physical game , speed and NBA. In that duel we did not respond for five-six minutes and this must not happen again. I hope that we will be more relaxed and psychically prepared for that game.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

– I think that two-three fouls of my five did not exist, but that is a game. I am sorry I haven’t finished it well , and I wanted , but I have great team mates who did that in perfect way. In semifinal we are meeting Australia, they have very seriously played the first part of the competition and quarterfinal, but it is very difficult to defeat anyone twice at the tournament. I hope we will play much better and more qualitatively against them than we did in the group.

Nikola Jokic

– We were 14 points ahead, but after that came drama. It is always like that with Croats, the same was at the tournament in Argentina. We came back in the second half, we knew that we cannot be nervous during the whole game. Raduljica’’s dunk carried the team, then Bogdan’s three point field goal …. Australia efeated us with 15 points, but that was not real balance of forces. We were fighting for 37-38 minutes, and then they shifted into second, and we did not followed them. This is semifinal of the Olympic Games, it will not be easy now, it is obvious that we are going to fight or final fiercely.

Croatia – Serbia 83:86 (19”20, 19:12, 14:34, 31:20)

Rio de Janeiro- Carioca Arena; spectators: 9,027, Referees: Juan Carlos Garcia ( Spain) , Boris Ryzhik (Ukraine) , Roberto Vasquez (Puerto Rico).

Croatia : Babic 4, Kruslin, Stipcevic, Simon 8, Hezonja 16p, 8 r, Saric 7p, 4r, Ukic 4, Planinic, 6p, 9r, Bilan 10p, 4r, Sakic , Arapovic, Bogdanovic 28p (two- points field goal 3/7, three points field goal 4/8, 3r, 2a, 4st.)

Serbia: Teodosic 9 (10 as) , Simonovic, Bogdanovic 18 ( 3-4 for three, 5 as, 3dr) , Markovic 12 ( 3as, 3dr) , Kalinic 6 ( 4 r) , Nedovic , Bircevic , RAduljica 12 ( 3 r) , Jokic 12 ( 3r, 3a) , Stimac, Jovic 9 (3-4 for two points , 1-1 for three, 4r) , Macvan 8 ( 2-4 for three points, 3r).

Full statistics of this game can be seen on the link|tab=boxscore_statistics

photo : FIBA