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Contrasting reactions from departing regions

Privolzhie AMA coach Dmitry Golubev and his Centre Zagreb AMA counterpart Sreten Ćuk were left with thoughts of what might have been after their teams joined four others in exiting the 6th UEFA Regions' Cup.

Centre Zagreb goalkeeper Nikola Durdek shows his disappointment against Oltenia
Centre Zagreb goalkeeper Nikola Durdek shows his disappointment against Oltenia ©Sportsfile

Privolzhie AMA coach Dmitry Golubev and his Centre Zagreb AMA counterpart Sreten Ćuk were left with thoughts of what might have been after their teams joined four others in exiting the 6th UEFA Regions' Cup final tournament.

Oltenia through
Golubev's Russian outfit and Ćuk's Croatian side were on three points going into the final set of Group A games with both teams requiring a victory to stand any chance of progressing. As it was, Oltenia AMA held the tournament hosts to a 1-1 draw to secure the point they needed to reach the final, where they will meet Castilla y León AMA, leaving Golubev – whose side overcame Bratislava AMA 5-0 – ruing an opening loss to the Romanian entrants.

Final regret
"We could have finished first in the group," he said. "If someone had told me before the tournament that we would finish second I would have been pleased but having played all the teams I think we should be in the final." Ćuk also felt his players deserved more from their campaign than a third-place finish. "Over the three matches, perhaps we were a little unlucky," he said, before predicting a bright future for several members of his squad. "Marko Puškarić was born in '89, Nikica Brujić in '86 and Ivan Graf in 1987 – they all have a chance because they are young, they have time to develop."

'Strong' teams
Ľubomír Bohúň did not have such lofty aspirations for his young Bratislava squad, although he did not anticipate ending the final tournament with three losses and no goals scored. "We didn't come here with high aims but we hoped to win at least one or two games. The teams in our group were strong and of a very high quality."

'Incredible' achievement
Castilla had already been confirmed as Group B winners before the last round of matches, meaning the fixture between Region I AMA and Kempen AMA would decide which team went home with a bronze medal. Kempen prevailed 2-1 to finish on six points, much to the delight of coach Francis Jadoulle. "To win the bronze is incredible for us," he said. "We would have had more chances if we had played the Spanish team third, but I have to admit they played at a very high level."

'Great tournament'
Region I suffered two defeats from their three matches, though manager Gerry Smith found consolation in simply being in Croatia. "It has been a great tournament, this is the kind of event that enables us to learn and progress," said the 53-year-old. "To play against continental teams is the best way to reach a higher level."

Three losses
Like Bratislava, Savez Gradiška AMA also ended with no points or goals, although the Bosnian outfit fought hard in their 1-0 defeat by Castilla having been reduced to ten men early on in a match where they also hit the post. "It was unfortunate because it was our best performance of the tournament but we still lost," said coach Slobodan Crnadak.