Day 10, Group A – Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 10-5
Beating Recco in Italy and downing Olympiacos by five goals within three weeks is a feat any team would be proud of. Barceloneta have just achieved that, and this seems to secure them the pole position in the race to the Final Eight.
Nothing separated the sides in the first half. It was an outstanding battle of the defences, it was telling that the refs could call one exclusion apiece in the first period and again in the second. Staying 6 on 6 for most of the time with two excellent goalies in the back didn’t leave too much room for scoring. Indeed, the teams could score only from their lonely extras, Felipe Perrone draw first blood after four minutes and leftie Marton Vamos equalised 36 seconds from time (so Olympiacos needed more than seven minutes to hit the back of the net).
The Hungarian leftie added another one two minutes in the second, from action, later Alberto Munarriz halted the hosts’ 9-minute-long silence by blasting a big one from the perimeter. Alexandros Papanastasiou put Olympiacos ahead once more, but Marc Larumbe converted their second 6 on 5 as well to bring the score to even again at 3-3, 21 seconds before the middle break.
Munarriz buried a penalty right away in the third, then the Greeks missed another man-up and after a fine save by Unai Aguirre, Martin Famera netted one from action to double Barceloneta’s lead. Olympiacos lost their composure in front, they wasted two more extras and Nikolas Paul’s fantastic distant shot expanded the gap to three goals. It could have been more, but the hosts missed their first man-up (played after a time-out), still led 6-3 before the last break.
Aguirre carried on his magic in the home side’s goal, while Munarriz converted another penalty, followed by Perrone’s second man-up goal – with 5:19 on the clock, Barceloneta had it at 8-3. It was a 6-0 rush after 2-3 – and a 14:55 minute-long shut-out for Olympiacos as they could score a penalty a bit later. There was no way back, though, Barceloneta could add two more in the remaining five minutes, while Papanastasiou put away an extra – that was all Olympiacos could offer in the second half: a penalty goal and a man-up hit. Barceloneta netted seven, on the contrary, while Aguirre was tremendous in their goal, had 16 saves on 21 shots for 76.2%, a winning effort in this sport.
How they saw it
Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta
“The defence was the key for this game. Olympiacos are a great team with a great offensive potential, so it’s great to keep them on five goals. As for our part, in the first half we were in a rush, did not control our attacks, though at least out defence was excellent. Once we got sharper in offence, we managed to win the game.”
Igor Milanovic, coach, Olympiacos
“We were in the match for the first half, played an equal game. The we conceded three easy goals, for this beautiful team of Olympiacos it was enough to keep the match under control. We missed a lot of man-ups and shots from the centre, so there was no way to win this game.”