LEN PR 32/2015
Champions League, prelims, Day 9 – Summary
Eger makes the finals on its 8th try
Eger (HUN) is the last team to join the Final Six as they beat the title-holder, Barceloneta in the final round. The season-ending showcase, at the end of May, will feature two Hungarians (Eger, Szolnok), two Croatians (Primorje, Jug), an Italian (Recco) and the host Spaniards (Barceloneta). Recco and Primorje finished atop in the respective groups and qualified for the semi-finals directly.
After seven unsuccessful campaigns Eger (HUN) has made it on its 8th try, the Hungarian champion reached the Final Six for the first time in their history, after they offered their best performance against the title-holder. Barceloneta (ESP) didn’t let the Hungarian champions fly for a while, it stood 5-4 at the middle of the third period but Eger, scoreless in the previous 12:26 minutes, managed to net two fast goals and never looked back. Marton Szivos was the hero of the afternoon with 4 goals, playing a major role in Eger’s clinching the second spot in the group.
Olympiacos (GRE) finished third after a hard-fought win against Brescia but that was not enough this time: since Barceloneta has a granted berth as the host of the Final Six, the Greeks left the stage empty-handed.
Last season Radnicki (SRB) finished with a perfect score-line after the prelims, winning 10 out of 10 – with a much stronger line-up. Now the Serbs couldn’t prevent Recco (ITA) from producing the perfect 10, in fact, Radnicki was washed out by the Italians in the last game of the night, Recco even set a new single-game scoring record for this season by amassing 19 goals.
In Group B the first place (and the semi-final berth) was at stake in Rijeka. Primorje (CRO) has been undefeated for ages in the famous Kandtrida Pool – and they managed to break Szolnok (HUN) again. Just as it happened in the autumn of 2013, when these two clashed in the play-off round of the qualifications, Rijeka led in the fourth period for the first time, but kept it until the end. Now Szolnok stormed to a 0-3 lead, however, the Croats came back by the middle break. The visitors took the lead twice even in the last period, but after 6-7 only Rijeka could score, posting a 3-0 run in the last four minutes. It was a brilliant international encounter, only the foreign players of the two teams scored in the last period, the Serbs for Szolnok, but it was the Romanian (Cosmin Radu) and the Spanish (Xavi Garcia) left-handers of Rijeka who made the difference with two goals each during the finish.
The other Croatian, Jug blew away Spandau (GER) also in the closing minutes, netting four unanswered goals after 8-6. Partizan (SRB) finished the prelims with its first away win: it was a thrilling match in Istanbul, where Galatasaray chased the visitors throughout the match, caught them up at 11-11 with 5 minutes from time, but the last three goals went to the Serbs.
Next is the Final Six tournament, to be held in Barcelona on the last weekend of May.
Champions League, Prelims – Day 10
ZF-Eger (HUN) vs. CN Barceloneta (ESP) 11-6
Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) vs. AN Brescia (ITA) 8-6
Pro Recco (ITA) vs. Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) 19-6
1. Recco 30, 2. Eger 16, 3. Olympiacos 13, 4. Barceloneta 11, 5. Radnicki 9, 6. Brescia 8
Primorje Erste Banka Rijeka (CRO) vs. Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) 9-7
Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) vs. Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 12-6
Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR) vs. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) 11-14
1. Primorje 24, 2. Szolnok 24, 3. Jug 22, 4. Partizan 9, 4. Spandau 6, 6. Galatasaray 4
(Results between the tied teams: Primorje vs. Szolnok 12-13, 9-7)
Final Six – May 28-30, Barcelona (ESP)
Day 1: Crossover games
ZF-Eger vs. Jug
Barceloneta vs. Szolnok
Day 2: Semi-finals
Recco vs. Barceloneta/Szolnok
Rijeka vs. Eger/Jug
Bronze Medal Game and Final
3 May 2015