Champions League, Prelims, Day 8 – Summary
Recco goes to the semis, Jug reaches F6
Recco is the first team to reach the semi-finals as the Italian giant secured its top spot in Group B. Here Jug (CRO) also advanced to the Final Six. In Group A Szolnok (HUN) and Olympiacos (GRE) are still in the middle of a neck-to-neck battle for the first place, while OSC (HUN) dropped valuable points at home against Spandau (GER) and that might cost them the F6 berth.
Both Szolnok and Olympiacos were entangled to hard-fought battles, perhaps a bit unexpectedly in Group A. Brescia (ITA) held the lead until the middle of the second period then Szolnok hit three connecting goals from man-ups in a span of 3:10 minutes to take a 5-3 lead before the middle break. Though Brescia came back to 5-4, they couldn’t score any more remaining goalless in the last 14:17 minutes. Szolnok’s formidable attacking line managed to produce some more and they finally prevailed (8-4).
Olympiacos also earned a 4-goal win, after their 17-4 win in Piraeus they found it a bit harder to overcome Nice. At halftime they were 3-7 up and they could keep the French in safe distance, Ioannis Fountoulis led the Greek charge with 5 goals. Next is Olympiacos v Szolnok where the top spot will be decided – in case either side can win.
The third match ended in a surprise, as only a win would have satisfied OSC (HUN) but the hosts couldn’t beat Spandau (GER). Until 4-1 the Hungarians produced their fine game but soon they started missing their chances. In fact, they scored their fourth in the middle of the second – in the remaining 20:00 minutes they could net only a single goal and the game ended in a 5-5 draw. The loss of these points lessens OSC’s chances to make the F6 for the first time and to set up a dream scenario for Hungary of having three local teams in the tournament to be held in Budapest in May.
Beside host Szolnok, Eger (HUN) can also join the party from Group B despite losing to Recco. Recco burnt only the necessary amount of calories to earn a safe win over the Hungarians (9-4), this was the Italians 8th victory in as many games and this secured the top spot and a semi-final berth for them.
Eger is still four points ahead of Barceloneta (ESP) as the Spaniards played an outstanding game in Dubrovnik but still fell to the title-holder Croatians. Jug ruled the field in the first half and gained a three-goal advantage (6-3). Barceloneta came back strong in the third and produced a 0-4 rush to stun the hosts. However, Jug wasn’t done and they managed to retake the lead before the last quarter for 8-7. After 9-7 the Spaniards hit twice in 71 seconds for 9-9 but Jug scored two more and that did the damage. Barceloneta pulled one back with 35 seconds to go but couldn’t save a point and this loss might keep them out from the Final Six for the first time after four years.
In the clash of the winless teams Partizan (SRB) managed to reach the first victory in the prelims. The young Serbs demolished Hannover (GER) in the first period, taking a 6-1 lead and the Germans could never recover from that.
Champions League, Day 8
Szolnoki Dozsa Kozgep (HUN) v AN Brescia (ITA) 8-4
Olympic Nice (FRA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 8-12
A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Spandau 04 (GER) 5-5
1. Szolnok 22 (85-50), 2. Olympiacos 22 (76-44), 3. Brescia 11, 3. OSC 9, 5. Spandau 4, 6. Nice 0
Pro Recco (ITA) v ZF Eger (HUN) 9-4
Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) 11-10
Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) 13-9
1. Recco 24, 2. Jug 17, 3. Eger 12, 4. Barceloneta 8, 6. Partizan 4, 5. Hannover 3
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22 March 2017