Champions League, Qualification, Playoffs, 1st leg – Summary
Three on their way, the war of Hungarians to be decided later
All favourites, Recco (ITA), Rijeka (CRO) and Radnicki (SRB) are heading to the prelims after gaining convincing wins in the first legs. The all-Hungarian duel ended in a tie, there the second leg promises thrilling moments.
OSC Budapest (HUN) vs. Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) 11-11
As it was expected, the two Hungarian sides produced a magnificent encounter with tremendous excitements and a flood of brilliant goals. Szolnok got the better start, they were clearly better at both ends of the pool and gained a 3-5 lead. The turning point came in the third when the hosts scored some outstanding goals, mainly thanks to Joseph Kayes who returned to this match after an injury. The New Zealander centre-forward hit 4 in the night, so in the second half OSC were always in the lead but Szolnok also had the answers and managed to level the score 5 times after 6-6. The last time with a minute to go Daniel Varga equalised Kayes’s extraordinary backhanded goal – the draw promises a fantastic 2nd leg in two-week time.
20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) vs. HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) 13-9
The Italians nearly demolished the Croats by half-time. A huge beating was in sight as Recco rushed to a 9-3 lead, however, Mladost – runners-up in last season’s Euro Cup – managed to recover a bit in the third, climbed back to 10-6 but couldn’t come closer in a thrilling closing period which saw three hits apiece. The Italian team’s ‘Yugo’ section (Serbian Andrija Prlainovic, Dusko Pijetlovic, Montenegrin Aleksandar Ivovic and Croatian Maro Jokovic) made the difference as they scored 10 goals altogether (and Filip Filipovic had to miss the match due to a broken finger). The four-goal gap favours Recco in the second leg.
19.00 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) vs. Primorje Erste Banka Rijeka (CRO) 11-14
The Serbs managed to keep up with the favourite Croats for three periods, they held them on equal terms (9-9) but in the final period Rijeka crashed the hosts. Their Romanian centre-forward, Cosmin Radu enjoyed a great day as he netted 5 goals. His great efforts were needed to stage a 2-5 rush in the fourth which gave the Croatian side – 3rd in the Final Six back in May – some comfort for the second leg.
18.00 Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) vs. CSM DiGi Oradea (ROM) 13-8
Despite losing some of its key-players – Filip Filipovic and Boris Zlokovic – Radnicki came up with some strong performances recently, including a fine win over Szolnok in the second round which put the Serbs on the right track. And they stayed on that yesterday as well. Though the Romanian champion features quality Serbian players in their line-up, they couldn’t cope with Radnicki’s powerful attacks and firm defence. The home side widened the gap quarter by quarter and sailed away with the biggest margin win of the day. That put them on the safe side while Oradea might say goodbye to their dreams of reaching the prelims once again.
The second legs will be played on 12 November.