Brescia are all set to win Group B as the Italians did a clean job in Sabadell and now lead by five points. Runner-up Novi Beograd blew a three-goal lead away in the fourth period in Dubrovnik and needed a last-gasp hit to save the match to a tie against Jug. Marseille beat Ferencvaros soundly and reserved a very slim hope to make the Final Eight.
With a brilliant comeback in the fourth period, Jug managed to grab a point against Novi Beograd. With some luck it could have been three as the Croats netted five in the last period after being down by three before the final quarter. They even took the lead in the finish, but the Serbs saved the game to a tie from a 7 on 6 with 0:02 on the clock.
This gave Brescia a fine chance to cement their first place which they just did by winning in Sabadell comfortably. They were cool, common and collected in the first half, built a 2-7 lead and sailed away with the win and now they enjoy a five-point lead with two rounds remaining. It’s almost certain that Novi Beograd will finish runner-up, while the Spaniards’ quest to a dream F8 appearance came to an end this evening.
The bottom ranked sides staged a late surge, indeed way too late for OSC for example – Jug’s draw eliminated the Hungarians, despite of their downing of Spandau. It was a convincing performance, which saw a 6-goal blast from Vince Vigvari – but this was only the second win for OSC and their first away from home, too few to make the cut for the F8. Spandau can still make it but that would require not one but perhaps two miraculous matches from the Germans.
Marseille came up with their best showing of the season so far as they blew away FTC which did not find the necessary motive for this evening to play at least a balanced game as they seemed to settle for the third place. After 3-3, Marseille staged an 8-1 rush which gave the French a very slim hope to go through – ‘all’ they need is two losses from Jug, including one in this pool in Marseille in the next round, by six goals.
Group B: Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Novi Beograd (SRB) 11-11, Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v AN Brescia (ITA) 10-14, Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) 7-11, CN Marseille (FRA) v FTC Telekom Budapest (HUN) 13-7
Standings: 1. Brescia 31, 2. Novi Beograd 26, 3. Ferencvaros 22, 4. Jug 16, 5. Spandau 11, 6. Sabadell 10, 7. Marseille 10, 8. OSC 10
Fixtures, Wednesday – Group A
19.00 (16.00 CET) Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v NC Vouliagmeni (GRE)
19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)
19.30 (18.30 CET) Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jadran Split (CRO)
20.30 Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Pro Recco (ITA)
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 30, 2. Recco 27, 3. Olympiacos 25, 4. Vouliagmeni 14, 5. Jadran 14, 6. Radnicki 9, 7. Dinamo 6, 8. Hannover 3