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Women’s Euro League

Women’s Euro League, Preliminaries – Summary
No shocks, the big ones all on board

Italy, Greece and Hungary have two sides respectively in the quarter-finals of the Euro League while Russia and Spain have one apiece, this is the outcome of the preliminaries held in four venues this week. In the men’s Champions League Partizan (SRB) won a thriller against Galatasaray (TUR) in the game postponed from the first round.

Compared to last season’s best eight teams, Euro League title-holder Sabadell (ESP), runner-up Vouliagmeni (GRE), 4th placed Mediterranea (ITA), LEN Trophy-winner Olympiacos (GRE) and 4th placed Kinef (RUS) reached the quarters again.

Among the new ‘faces’, two Hungarian sides are also on board, the performance of Szentes and UVSE are boosted by national team players who returned home from their foreign clubs – for instance, Rita Keszthelyi scored 7 goals against Lille (FRA) in the last game of UVSE which decided the second qualifying spot in Group A. Here Sabadell, winner of the last two editions, enjoyed an easy cruise winning all four encounters, including a 22-11 scoring festival against Uralochka (RUS).

Instead of Italy’s usual participant, Orizzonte, this season might see a fine march from Plebscito Padova. They managed to top Group B, ahead of fellow Italian Mediterranea.

The most excitements were witnessed at Szentes: while Kinef (RUS) earned four straight wins, the final day saw a thrilling battle between the hosts and Spain’s Mataro for the second place. Szentes was 0-3 down early in the second period but managed to climb back for a 7-6 win. Earlier the Hungarians set the scoring record of the prelims, hitting 38 against Kreuzlingen (SUI) with Barbara Bujka netting 9 alone.

The Greeks, Olympiacos and Vouliagmeni were merciless in Group D, leaving no chance for last season’s LEN Trophy runner-up Firenze.

Elsewhere, in the men’s Champions League Partizan Belgrade (SRB) earned its first win against Galatasaray (TUR). Though the final score-line suggests that Partizan earned a secure win, the Serbs in fact struggled for most of the time in the match, bouncing back after being 4-7 down deep into the third period and produced a 6-0 rush in the last 10:13 minutes. The Banjica pool was overcrowded, the fans created a wonderful atmosphere in this game which was postponed from the first round due to Turkish and Serbian crowd-troubles during a European basketball encounter back in November.

Women’s Euro League
Preliminary Round

Group A (Lille)
1. Sabadell (ESP) 12, 2. UVSE Central (HUN) 9, 3. Uralochka (RUS) 4, 4. Lille 4, 5. Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 0

Group B (Imperia)
1. Plebscito Padova (ITA) 12, 2. Mediterranea Imperia (ITA) 9, 3. Utrecht (NED) 6, 4. ZVK Mladost (CRO) 3, 5. Otter SC (GBR) 0

Group C (Szentes)
1. Kinef Kirishi (RUS) 12, 2. Hungerit-Szentes (HUN) 9, 3. Mataro (ESP) 6, 4. Skif Moscow (RUS) 3, 5. Kreuzlingen (SUI) 0

Group D (Tirgu Mures)
1. Olympiacos Pireaeus (GRE) 12, 2. Vouliagmeni (GRE) 9, 3. ZVL Leiden (NED) 6, 4. Firenze Pallanuoto (ITA) 3, 5. Tirgu Mures (ROU) 0

The first two teams from each group reached the quarter-finals.
The draw will be held on Wednesday in the LEN Office, Luxembourg.

Men’s Champions League

Group B (postponed game from Round 1)
Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) vs. Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR) 10-7

Classification
1. Szolnok (HUN) 9, 2. Jug (CRO) 9, 3. Primorje (CRO) 6, 4. Partizan 3, 5. Galatasaray 0, 6. Spandau (GER) 0

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