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Champions League, Prelims, Day 7 – Summary

Olympiacos and Recco reach Final Six, joining Szolnok

Host Szolnok (HUN) can welcome the first rivals in the Final Six as Olympiacos (GRE) and Recco (ITA) both secured their respective berths. Brescia (ITA) and OSC (HUN) played another tie so their duel for the third spot in Group A remained open while title-holder Jug (CRO) and Eger (HUN) got one step closer to the season-ending showcase.

The big match of the day featuring Brescia (ITA) and OSC (HUN) ended in a 6-6 draw in Group A. As usual, we can add, as this was the two sides’ third clash in this season and this is the third tie (and had a fourth one from the 2015 qualifications) which means that the hunt for the third berth hasn’t been decided.

The Hungarians were ahead for most of the time as it happened in the previous two matches, after the third they led 2-4. However, Brescia put everything together and managed to score four goals in the final eight minutes: with 36 seconds to go the Italians went 6-5 up. OSC had 16 seconds to earn at least one point – which they got as their young leftie, Gergo Zalanki hit his third 5 seconds from time (6-6). Brescia now holds a three-point lead but they will play with the top two sides while OSC has only one big game ahead and two easier ones; the cumulative goal difference might decide at the end.

The two greats of the group did their jobs. Olympiacos (GRE) played a relatively close match with Spandau (GER), though the Greeks’ win was never in danger after a 4-0 opening in 4:20 minutes in the first period. Szolnok (HUN) enjoyed a fine journey in Nice, though the match started with a breathtaking march of the French who jumped to a 3-0 lead. Next came the Hungarians, they levelled the score still in the first period in a span of 72 seconds and rolled on, netting 11 consecutive goals and shutting out Nice for 22:13 minutes.

In Group B Eger (HUN) survived some scary moments in Hannover (GER) but the Hungarians prevailed in a thrilling encounter. They thrashed the Germans 17-4 in January, and quickly built a 1-4 lead this time but the hosts came back and late in the second they were ahead at 6-5. Eger replied with a double in the last 48 seconds for 6-7 but couldn’t extend the gap in the third. In the last quarter they finally jumped to a 9-11 lead but Waspo’s Montenegrin players delivered again, Aleksandar Radovic scored his 4th of the evening while equalising with 4:37 minutes remaining on the clock (11-11). Still, Eger had the last laugh as Milos Cuk put away an extra, securing the three points for the visitors which well could send them to the Final Six.

Eger now holds a 4-point lead over Barceloneta (ESP) which couldn’t withstand the pressure against Recco (ITA). The Spaniards quickly fell behind and trailed 1-5 after

the first period and never recovered from that shock. The Italian side led 3-11 before the hosts netted a couple of consolation goals.

With this win Recco joined Olympiacos and host Szolnok in the Final Six and Jug (CRO) is on its way as well after a convincing win against Partizan (SRB). Four days earlier the Croats suffered a shocking defeat in the Serbs’ home in the Regional League now they didn’t commit the same mistake. The title-holders earned a 6-3 lead in the opening eight minutes and added three action goals in 78 seconds in the following period for 9-3. The encounter turned into a scoring festival this time, Jug set a new record in the prelims by netting 21 goals (Recco had 18 against Hannover), last season’s MVP Felipe Perrone hit five. In three weeks time the Croats will meet Barceloneta in Dubrovnik and a win there would secure their place in the F6.

Champions League, Prelims, Day 7

Group A
Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 10-8
AN Brescia (ITA) v A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) 6-6
Olympic Nice (FRA) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) 5-12

Standings:
1. Olympiacos 19, 2. Szolnok 19, 3. Brescia 11, 3. OSC 8, 5. Spandau 3, 6. Nice 0

Group B
Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v ZF-Eger (HUN) 11-12
Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) 21-9
Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Pro Recco (ITA) 6-11

Standings:
1. Recco 21, 2. Jug 14, 3. Eger 12, 4. Barceloneta 8, 5. Hannover 3, 6. Partizan 1

For play-by-play action and detailed stats, visit the LEN website (www.len.eu).

1 March 2017

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