Brescia keep the top spot

Brescia didn’t let the benefits of a season’s hard work go and beat Jug to keep the top spot in Group A. Novi Beograd already tested next week’s F8 venue and earned a fine win over Spandau, while Ferencvaros suffered a surprising defeat at home to Sabadell.

Group B: FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) 10-12, Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA) 18-13, Novi Beograd (SRB) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 13-8, AN Brescia (ITA) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) 14-10

Final rankings: 1. Brescia 34, 2. Novi Beograd 32, 3. Ferencvaros 25, 4. Jug 16, 5. Sabadell 16, 6. OSC 13, 7. Marseille 13, 8. Spandau 11(Tie breakers: – Jug v Sabadell 14-10, 12-15 – OSC v Marseille 10-10, 18-13)

It was a typical last round where nothing big was at stake and that left some impact on the concentration level especially in defence – that resulted in 98 goals across the four venues in this group.

Brescia delivered at their last home game to secure the top spot which they were holding for almost the entire season. The Italians did well in the first half, led 7-2 early in the third when Jug staged a fine spell, scored three in a row and stayed close for a while in the fourth. However, they couldn’t reduce the gap to a single goal and with a better finish Brescia reset the four-goal difference by the end. Emotions were running high in the pool as it was the farewell home game for the club’s legend Christian Presciutti who will retire after the F8.

Half hour before the start of Brescia’s match, Novi Beograd did their homework and bagged all three points against Spandau, with a slim hope that Jug would do a miracle. It didn’t happen so the Serbs remained second in the group, but at least they could practice in the F8 venue as for this edition the site moves out from the indoor pool – used in the last two years – and the setup had already been finished for this round.

Playing under the sky – as a kind of preparation for next week – did not really work for Ferencvaros which won all their previous six home matches in the Champions League, all played indoors (and indeed didn’t lose any game on Hungarian soil this season). This run came to an end, thanks to the spirited performance of Sabadell on the sacred grounds of the Margaret Island. Though FTC fought back after being 3-7 down and took the lead early in the fourth at 9-8, but the Spaniards hit back with a double in 37 seconds and were more precise in the last minutes. The win catapulted them to the fifth place, a great achievement for the young side which even caught up with Jug at the end, but the results against each other favoured the Croats.

OSC staged a brilliant second quarter, probably their best in the entire season. The 7-1 rout put them on the winning track against Marseille and earned them the sixth place. With many key players leaving, this ranking might remain their best effort for a while.

Fixtures for Wednesday, Group A

19.00 (18.00 CET) NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)

19.00 Pro Recco (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Waspo98 Hannover (GER)

20.00 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)

Standings: 1. Barceloneta 36, 2. Recco 33, 3. Olympiacos 31, 4. Vouliagmeni 17, 5. Jadran 14, 6. Radnicki 12, 7. Dinamo 6, 8. Hannover 3