Favourites advance, Savona goes through without winning a game
Szolnok (HUN), Crvena Zvezda (SRB), Brescia (ITA) and Jadran Split (CRO) topped the respective groups in the second qualifying round in the Champions League. One more Croatian, Hungarian and Italian team joined them – the latter one, Savona advanced in a rare scenario: they did not win a match, had three ties but that was enough to claim the second place.
Champions League, QR II, final rankings
Group C (Szolnok): 1. Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) 7, 2. RN Savona (ITA) 3, 3. NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) 2, 4. Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) 2.
Group D (Zagreb): 1. Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 6, 2. HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) 6, 3. GS Apollon Smyrnis (GRE) 6, 4. Montpellier WP 0
Group E (Paris): 1. AN Brescia (ITA) 7, 2. OSC-Budapest (HUN) 7, 3. CN Noisy-Le-Sec (FRA) 3, 4. CN Terrassa (ESP) 0
Group F (Split): 1. Jadran Split CRO) 9, 2. CN Barcelona (ESP) 6, 3. Primorac Kotor (MNE) 3, 4. CSM Oradea (ROU) 0
In Group C, only host Szolnok could win matches, the other three teams left the venue without a victory. Savona could force a tie with the first placed Hungarians and that sent them through as the rest of the games was also drawn. It also meant an end to Jadran Herceg Novi’s campaign – the Montenegrins had some fine matches last season in the main round, now their European tour is over.
A three-way tie favoured Crvena Zvezda and host Mladost in Group D, while Apollon came up short at the end, despite beating the host Croatian team on the opening day.
On the opening day in Group E, Brescia saved the big game against OSC to a tie in a miraculous way, staging a 3-0 run in the last 92 seconds after seemed to have been done at 7-10. Last year’s semi-finalist finished atop at the end, thanks to their better goal-difference as the Hungarians played tight matches with Terrassa and Noisy but prevailed to book a berth in the play-off round.
Jadran Split had no headaches at home – indeed the Croats were the only side in this round which could win all three matches (to highlight how balanced was the field). Barcelona also claimed a convincing win to knock out the other Montenegrin team Primorac and now the Spanish face a group-winner in the next phase.
The first and second ranked sides will be drawn against each other on Monday, the winners will book the qualifying spots in the main round, the losers will continue in the Euro Cup quarter-finals. The draw will be published on Monday.