Brescia came up big in the second half against Novi Beograd – the Serbs could come back after the Italian’s first 3-0 rush in the third but could never recover from the second 3-0 push from the hosts. This fine win most probably seals Brescia’s first place in this group. Jug and FTC played an epic 12-12 draw with a 10-goal rally in the fourth period – the last two were netted in the last 12 seconds, the Croats saved the game to a tie with 0:02 to go. Sabadell won the game against OSC two seconds from time with an amazing goal scored from a corner-throw. Spandau retained some hope for the F8 after beating Marseille, though they would need to overcome a four-point deficit in the last three rounds.
Group B: Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 12-12, Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) 9-8, Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v CN Marseille (FRA) 11-9, AN Brescia (ITA) v VK Novi Beograd (SRB) 12-9
Standings: 1. Brescia 28, 2. Novi Beograd 25, 2. 3. Ferencvaros 22, 4. Jug 15, 5. Spandau 11, 6. Sabadell 10, 7. OSC 7, 8. Marseille 7
The big match deciding the top spot between Brescia and Novi Beograd was balanced in the first half, neither side could take a two-goal lead, they stood 5-5 at halftime. Then Brescia had a brilliant spell when they netted three connecting goals for 8-5, but NBG fought hard and climbed back to 9-8 before the last break. And they had several possessions to equalise but couldn’t break Brescia’s defence, then the Italians scored two from action in 46 seconds and that killed the party. They added one more while the Serbs could score one after 12-8 and missed more 6 on 5s, and most probably their chance to finish atop.
Jug and FTC produced a fantastic match where the Hungarians were in the lead in the first half as their goalie Soma Vogel stopped two penalties. However, their level dropped, and Jug came up with a 3-0 run to go 8-6 ahead before the final period. That eight minutes turned into a thriller for the ages – it was a 10-goal scoring rally, where Ferencvaros levelled the score quickly, then came three minutes of battling, followed by an 8-goal showdown inside the last four minutes. Jug took the lead twice, then FTC went ahead at 10-11 and 11-12, the second time with only 12 seconds remaining. Still, it was enough for Franko Lazic to equalise again, with 0:02 on the clock, and the draw most probably cements these two sides current ranks.
Interestingly, the other Hungarian team OSC also conceded a crucial goal 2 seconds from time – but that cost them the game in Sabadell. The Spaniards quickly built a three-goal lead and kept it till the end of the third, though OSC had a minor surge to come back to 6-5, but Sabadell went on scoring to make it 8-5. However, the Magyars staged a similar comeback as they had done against Brescia two weeks ago, that time they eliminated their four-goal deficit, this time they climbed back to 8-8 and in the last minute they had a man-up to win the game. Instead, they lost it amidst incredible circumstances – with 2 seconds left, they basically killed Sabadell’s last man-down, however, Fran Valera had a brave thought and let the ball fly after taking the corner-throw and his blast hit the back of the net and won the game for Sabadell.
Spandau also retained some hope to make the Final Eight as they beat Marseille with a strong finish. This fine win brought them two points ‘closer’ to Jug, still, they face a mountain to climb as they still trail by four. At the same time, they pushed the French out of contest – after back-to-back F8 appearances, Marseille had a really miserable run this season and now could play only to avoid finishing bottom in the group.
Fixtures for Wednesday, Group A
19.00 (16.00 CET) Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Jadran Split (CRO)
19.00 (18.00 CET) Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
19.00 (18.00 CET) NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) v Pro Recco (ITA)
20.30 VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)
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