The favourite teams delivered, Brescia (ITA), OSC (HUN) and Jadran (CRO) all claimed decisive wins in the first leg, just like last season, while in the clash of the newcomers Vouliagmeni (GRE) smashed Noisy (FRA) in France, so the victors are 32 minutes away from making the main round.
Champions League, playoffs, 1st leg
Game A: Genesys-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Panionios GSS (GRE) 17-7
Game B: CN Noisy le Sec (FRA) v NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) 11-17
Game C: A HID Vasas-Plaket (HUN) v AN Brescia (ITA) 10-12
Game D: Jadran Split (CRO) v CSM Oradea (ROU) 9-3
Return leg: 5 November
As expected, the battle of Vasas and Brescia produced the most thrilling clash and for quite a while the Hungarians were able to be on level with last season’s semi-finalist. In the second period Vasas took the lead twice before the Italians hit back with three goals to go 5-7 up. Here the hosts could come back to even, what’s more, early in the third leftie Ivan Nagaev scored two in 88 seconds for 9-8. Here came another big run from Brescia, this time they netted four in a row and that proved to be decisive. Indeed, the Italian defence did an outstanding job, kept the Magyar offence at bay for 13:48 minutes in the second half – Nagaev pulled one back with 14 seconds to go to give some hope for his side, but the two-goal away win puts Brescia on track for another adventure in the main round.
The other three encounters ended in routs. OSC blew Panionos away – they built a five-goal lead by halftime and doubled that till the end. Krisztian Manhercz, third on the top scorers’ list at the Europeans in Split, hit 7 goals, as many as the Greeks could make altogether.
Just like OSC, Jadran Split are also set to return to the big stage after downing surprise qualifier Oradea. After a balanced first period, which ended in 2-2, the Croats let only a single goal for the Romanians in the remaining time while netting seven. Indeed, they shut them out for 24 minutes between the middle of the first half till the middle of the fourth.
In the contest of the newcomers, Vouliagmeni claimed a stunning win in France. The Greeks were superior in the entire game, expanded the gap period by period while the upcoming French club’s players were unable to grow to the occasion. Their defence crashed, conceding 17 at home practically killed their chances for a historical first Champions League appearance.