Brescia, NBG march on, veteran Jokovic lifts Jug Champions League, Main Round, Day 2 – Group B, Summary

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Brescia, NBG march on, veteran Jokovic lifts Jug Champions League, Main Round, Day 2 – Group B, Summary

After beating Jug by five in Dubrovnik, Brescia added another significant win against Ferencvaros. Novi Beograd delivered another huge blow, this time to OSC, while Jug Dubrovnik staged a fantastic 6-1 finish against Marseille, fuelled by their veteran Olympic champion leftie Maro Jokovic who scored four stunning action goals. The group’s underdogs, Sabadell and Spandau, played a thrilling draw.

Group B, Day 2: Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 9-9, Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v CN Marseille (FRA) 14-9, Novi Beograd (SRB) v Genesys OSC-Budapest (HUN) 17-9, AN Brescia (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 8-4
Standings: 1. Novi Beograd 6, 2. Brescia 6, 3. Jug 3, 4. FTC 3, 5. Sabadell 1, 6. Marseille 1, 7. OSC 1, 8. Spandau 1

Keeping the offensive force of Ferencvaros on 4 goals in any game is a huge feat – and Brescia just did that by allowing a single goal for the Hungarians in each period. The real heroics from the Italians were shown in the first half when they managed to shut out the Magyars for 12:40 minutes. In that phase the Italians scored four connecting goals while in the back they did an outstanding job and Petar Tesanovic delivered a series of outstanding saves. That visibly set last season’s bronze medallists off-balance in front, they could never really find their rhythm in the second half, while Brescia kept a safe gap with ease. As a demonstration, the Italians staged another shutout in the last 7:07 minutes of the game – to take some revenge for the bitter losses in the last two editions in the Final Eight (2021: semis, 2022: bronze medal match).

Jug bounced back from the opening day’s blow (lost by five to Brescia at home), despite Marseille’s early surge. The French were 2-4 up but Jug scored ten goals in the middle two periods to turn the game completely. The decisive blast came in the third, the Croats produced a 4-0 run after 8-8 and there was no way back for Marseille. Veteran leftie Maro Jokovic led the charge, the London 2012 champion scored four action goals when it mattered the most, which really lifted his team’s spirit.

Novi Beograd opened the season with an 11-goal away win in Berlin and now they thrashed OSC by eight at home. The Hungarians could hold on only until 5-5, then the Serbian super-team hit five in a row and demolished their rivals’ defence in the second half. The hosts were on top of their offensive game, 26 of their 33 shots were on target, so finishing with 17 goals gives some credit for OSC’s goalie Marton Levai who could still deliver 9 saves.

In the game of the group’s underdogs, after several twists and turns, Sabadell and Spandau had to settle for a tie – which also offers a unique view of the rankings since four sides stand with one point after two rounds.

For game reports, stats and more, visit www.championleague.len.eu

Men’s Euro Cup, Eight-finals, Leg 1 – Summary

Eight great battles, only one decisive win

The eight-finals brought great thrills around Europe. Trieste’s 8-goal trouncing in Noisy-le-Sec seems to be the only really decisive victory, Vasas and Savona may also eye already the quarters after winning by five, all other matches promise great excitements in the return legs in two weeks.

Men’s Euro Cup, Eight-finals, 1st leg: CN Noisy-Le-Sec (FRA) v Trieste Pallanuoto (ITA) 12-20, Partizan Beograd (SRB) v Panionios GSS (GRE) 12-11, Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v CSM Oradea (ROU) 8-8, A Hid Vasas Plaket (HUN) v BVK Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 15-10, Budapesti Honved (HUN) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) 13-11, RN Savona (ITA) v CC Ortigia (ITA) 7-2, Primorac Kotor (MNE) v CN Tourcoing (FRA) 7-7, VK Sabac (SRB) v CN Barcelona (ESP) 13-10
Return leg: 14 December

Eight brilliant battles, only a handful ending in an almost decisive win. One was recorded at the Italian derby, Savona staged some extraordinary defending while downing Ortigia 7-2. The Sicilians came back from 3-0 down to 3-2, but were unable to score any more in the last 21:09 minutes.

The other ‘in-house’ battles were much more balanced. The Romanian clash ended in a tie between Steaua and Oradea. The hosts came back from 2-5 in the first half, the third period saw seven killed man-ups (four and three respectively), then Steaua led twice in the fourth but a penalty goal made it 8-8.

In Budapest, the two Hungarians, Honved and Szolnok produced a really entertaining game with 24 goals. Veteran Olympic champ from Beijing 2008 Norbert Hosnyanszky secured the hosts a two-goal advantage (13-11) for the return leg with a brilliant action goal with 0:20 before the end.

There were more thrillers around Europe. Partizan led 8-3 deep into the second period against Panionios, but the Greeks came back in the second half and with a man-up goal 17 seconds from time they left Belgrade with only a single-goal (12-11) deficit.

The other Serbian side playing at home, Sabac, kept the game against Barcelona under control from the beginning. For quite a while they held a four-goal lead, which the Spaniards cut to two in the last period, but Ognjen Stojanovic’s fourth goal in the game secured 13-10 victory for the hosts.

Montenegro’s last hope Primorac staged a 4-0 run to take a 7-5 lead after being 3-5 down, but after shutting out Tourcoing for 13:09 minutes, they conceded two in 49 seconds. It was 7-7 and still 6:14 minutes to play, however, neither side could score the winner, so the decision was left to the game in France.

There were two more bigger wins besides Savona’s blast. Hungary’s Vasas honoured their recently passed legend Gabor Csapo with a great performance while downing Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda 15-10 (before the game, candles were lit by the fans in front of the famous Komjadi Pool).

The most one-sided match was played in Noisy-le-Sec – the newly shaped and strengthened French side suffered a stunning eight-goal defeat (12-20) at home. Italy’s Trieste was flying high while scoring five goals in each period and securing their spot in the quarters by this huge victory.

For stats, play-by-play and more, visit www.len.eu

30 November 2022

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