Olympiacos stays alive
In Group A, Olympiacos (GRE) stayed alive by beating Radnicki (SRB) but Eger (HUN) needs only one point on the last day to book the last berth of the Final Six. The other Hungarian side, Szolnok also needs one point to secure the top spot in Group B, though it’s going to be tough to collect in Rijeka (CRO).
Eger was a shot and three minutes away to book its Final Six berth already on the penultimate day of the prelims. The Hungarian champion was rather close to cause an upset and earn at least a draw in Recco (ITA), even led in the third period but couldn’t score in the last one, though had a man-up at 10-9, while the host Italians managed to net two goals to earn a narrow win. Recco has long secured the top spot in the group and on its way to finish the prelims with a perfect scoreline.
With Eger losing, the gate remained open in front of Olympiacos (GRE), as the Greeks produced an amazing finish in Kragujevac (SRB). In a do-or-die game the Serbs seemed to have taken control on the match as they led 7-5 early in the fourth period but Olympiacos scored three unanswered goals in the last four minutes. Still, the Greeks need some help to go through: they can reach the Final Six only in case Barceloneta (ESP) beats Eger in Eger on Day 10 (Barceloneta holds a granted berth as the host of the finals).
The chance for this might be minimal if the Spaniards repeat the performance they offered in Brescia in this round. The title-holders were soundly beaten by the other Italian participant: though Brescia lost its chance to travel to Barcelona, they bid a fine farewell to their fans by producing the best showing of the prelims.
Group B saw three one-sided matches as expected since the three top-ranked sides all played at home. Primorje (CRO) had a 9-0 rush after being 2-3 down against Galatasaray (TUR), deciding the outcome in three quarters – the last period was memorable, however, bringing 12 goals, 7 of them scored by the Turks.
Jug Dubrovnik (CRO) dominated throughout the match against Partizan (SRB) and with a strong finish – netting 5 goals in the last period – they earned a convincing win.
This time Szolnok (HUN) couldn’t come up with the usual spectacular display in attack, the Hungarians lacked the speed and freshness but their win wasn’t in danger at any stage of the match. They lead the group but need at least a point in Rijeka where they will have a great showdown against Primorje on Day 10.
Champions League, Prelims, Day 9
AN Brescia (ITA) vs. CN Atletic-Barceloneta (ESP) 12-4
Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) vs. Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 7-8
Pro Recco (ITA) vs. ZF-Eger (HUN) 11-9
1. Recco 27, 2. Eger 13, 3. Barceloneta 11, 4. Olympiacos 10, 5. Radnicki 9, 6. Brescia 5
Primorje Erste Banka Rijeka (CRO) vs. Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR) 16-11
Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) vs. Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 11-7
Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) vs. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) 13-6
1. Szolnok 24, 2. Primorje 21, 3. Jug 19, 4. Partizan 6, 5. Spandau 6, 6. Galatasaray 4