In the big game of the two sides with perfect records after four rounds, Barceloneta took the upper hand by staging a 0-3 run in 96 seconds in the fourth period to down Olympiacos in Piraeus. Despite lacking their usual speed, title-holder Recco claimed a fine win in Hannover, while Vouliagmeni stunned Jadran in an epic 25-goal encounter. Radnicki found it a lot harder to beat Dinamo than expected, the Georgians had two possessions to save the game into a tie but couldn’t score at the end.
Day 5, Group A: Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) 7-9, Vouliagmeni (GRE) v Jadran Split (CRO) 13-12, Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Pro Recco (ITA) 8-11, Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) 11-10
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 15, 2. Olympiacos 12, 3. Recco 12, 4. Vouliagmeni 7, 5. Radnicki 7, 6. Jadran 6, 7. Hannover 0, 8. Dinamo 0
After three balanced periods – each quarter produced a 2-2 partial result, the lead changed constantly but neither side could go by two –, and four more minutes of extreme battling, Barceloneta produced a 96sec whirlwind to win this crucial game against Olympiacos. Felipe Perrone led the charge, he put away a 6 on 4, then finished off a counter 21 seconds later. Barceloneta killed another man-down and launched another counter to make it 6-9 in 96 seconds, and there was no way back for the Greeks.
This time, Recco couldn’t produce their usual high-intensity, aggressive game in Hannover – their defence worked well, though, to keep the hosts in bay. Still, the Germans came up with their best performance so far and that prevented the encounter from turning into a rout. Recco jumped to a 4-8 lead in the third and that was decisive, though Hannover managed to halve the difference, before two late goals sealed the Italians fourth win in a row.
The other two matches offered unexpected outcomes. Vouliagmeni managed to stun Jadran in an entertaining match. The Croats, eying an F8 berth at last, came back from 7-4 down to 7-7, but were unable to take over the lead and the Greeks had more in the tank in the finish. Scoring twice for 13-10 was a game-winning effort and put Vouliagmeni into a qualifying position after five rounds.
Radnicki could keep up with them, though the Serbs almost failed to claim all three points against Dinamo. The Georgians couldn’t play any close matches so far, but this evening they did their best and never let the hosts to feel themselves in secure. Radnicki could build a two-goal lead for the first time late in the third period, but Dinamo came back to 9-9. The Serbs hit twice again for 11-9, still, the Georgians pulled one back and had 3:28 minutes to save the game into a surprising tie, but couldn’t score the 11th goal.
In this group the top three ranked sides already broke five points clear from the chasers, while the hunt for the fourth remaining berth looks pretty much exciting and unpredictable.
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Fixtures, Group B (Wednesday)
19.00 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)
19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
20.00 CN Marseille (FRA) v Novi Beograd (SRB)
20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN)