Barceloneta didn’t leave much chance for Olympiacos in the big game of Day 10, the Spaniards outclassed their Greek rival with a magnificent second-half performance and after their 5-goal win it’s hard to see them losing the top spot. In the other super-hot battle Vouliagmeni came back from two goals down in the fourth to force a tie in Split and that could secure their F8 berth. Recco recorded the largest winning gap in the season against Hannover, beating the Germans by 17 goals, while Dinamo ended Radnicki’s slim hopes for the Final Eight with their first home win.
Group A: Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 10-5, Jadran Split (CRO) v NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) 10-10, Pro Recco (ITA) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) 21-4, Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) 13-8
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 27, 2. Recco 24, 3. Olympiacos 22, 4. Vouliagmeni 14, 5. Jadran 11, 6. Radnicki 9, 7. Dinamo 6, 8. Hannover 3
Barceloneta and Recco are the first teams confirmed for the Final Eight in this group – though Olympiacos don’t have to worry either, despite losing the big match in Spain. In that game, the first half was quite balanced as the defences did outstanding jobs at both ends. Then in the third, the Spaniards scored three connecting goals to go 6-3 up and added two more in the fourth while shutting out the Greeks for 14:55 minutes. This 6-0 rush did the damage, Olympiacos was outclassed in the second half (7-2 was the partial result), LEN 2022 Player of the Year Unai Aguirre came up with a superb performance in the hosts’ goal, posted 16 stops and a 76.2% saving percentage.
Recco had no problems to down Hannover. In fact it was a rout, the Germans could score only in the last period, after 14-0 – at the end Recco won by 17 goals, the largest gap in this season by any team.
In the other hotly contested match, the last qualifying spot was at stake in Split and despite a 5-goal effort in the second period, Vouliagmeni were forced into a chasing game in the third. Jadran managed to take a 10-8 lead early in the fourth, but Vouliagmeni could score twice in 47 seconds to go even with four minutes remaining. Both sides had fine chances to score the winner but neither could make it. With the tie the Greeks were much happier, since considering the remaining matches, it would require a big meltdown from them to blow away their three-point lead they have ahead of the Croats.
This tie would have been a great result for Radnicki – however, by the time the game started in Split, the Serbs long gone. They suffered a stunning defeat in Tbilisi where Dinamo stormed to a 4-0 lead in the opening period and held on to claim their first home victory in this season.