Games

Radnicki was almost hit again by the second-half curse

Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) 13-12 Andrija Basic’s action shot in the 20th second kicked off the shooting parade, then the hosts hit back with three in a row in a span of 84 seconds. It didn’t crack the Germans, their Croats, Hrvoje Benic and Basic equalised in a minute for 3-3. However, the Serbs had the last laugh, rather laughs still in the action-packed opening period as they added two more in the last 50 seconds for a 5-3 lead. And the storm continued in the second, two more distant blasts from the first two possessions gave Radnicki a commanding 7-3 lead. Hannover needed five minutes to recover from the 4-0 shock but even though they pulled one back, Marko Radulovic netted two more in 56 seconds to make it 9-4, and Radnicki seemed to be set to sail away with an easy win. Perhaps the home players were convinced of that while the Germans had always been famous for keep on fighting. Including their Croatians who netted three in a row in three minutes, and all of sudden the excitements were back at 9-7. Not so long, though, Nemanja Stanojevic scored from close range as the ball fell into his hand after a fine German block in a man-down. Then Hannover missed a crucial extra and despite they denied two 6 on 5s, Radulovic scored one more from a counter with 0:04 on the clock for 11-7. Again, Radnicki’s ship seemed to reach safe waters. Then it happened again: two quick 6 on 5 goals in 51 seconds halved the Serbs’ lead. Before the game would have heated up too much, Filip Jankovic put away a man-up and Milos Cuk also sent the ball home from the perimeter 48 seconds later to go 13-9 up again. (Both teams struggled with their goalies, both coaches opted to send in the substitutes but neither of them did an outstanding job – in fact, national team’s goalie Moritz Schenkel’s departure to Duisburg left Waspo in a bit of a limbo.) It was 5:17 minutes to go, so Hannover had some time to do a miracle – but in the following three minutes they were unable to cut the gap. Then with only 2:00 on the clock, Benic’s blast hit the net, 51 seconds later Radovic also scored from action for 13-11. Though only 35 seconds remained when Hannover could regain the ball – a time-out was called, but the plan didn’t work. Still, a turnover foul played to their hand, and Fynn Schutze scored the third action goal in a row for 13-12, however, only 8 seconds were left so the Serbs prevailed at the end. It was indeed a shooting parade: 59 shots were taken (30-29) in 32 minutes, a great and entertaining game to watch – though Hannover’s attempt for a fourth straight F8 appearance is already in doubt as they lost to of their direct rivals Jadran and Radnicki in the first two rounds. How they saw it Dejan Stanojevic, coach, Radnicki “It was the same as in the first round – a very bad performance from my team in the second half. We must work harder to avoid these collapses. For sure, we’ll have longer and harder trainings in the coming weeks.” Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover “We played well in the fourth, perhaps in the second half but we didn’t have the necessary emotions and fighting spirit before. We need to have the emotions during the entire game. Now we need to collect points at home, we lost our first two matches but we have much more to play.”

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Four goals in the third lift Barceloneta

Vouliagmeni (GRE) v Zodiac Barceloneta 7-11 The first period was devoted to some great defending, it took five and a half minutes to break the deadlock when Nikolaos Papasifakis converted a penalty. Barceloneta needed even more time to bring down the Greek wall, Luke Pavillard’s action goal 38 seconds from time made it 1-1. The Greeks held on – though the Spaniards started to find their rhythm, the hosts could equalise twice. Then Mark Larumbe netted a 6 on 4, so Barceloneta led 3-4 at halftime – but that was really an appraisal of Vouliagmeni’s outstanding efforts in the back. Though a fine stop from the goalie saved the hosts in the first man-down in the third, but only temporarily – the Spanish regained the ball and Alejandro Bustos doubled their lead. Marios Kapotsis pulled one back with a huge 6m blast, but in 53 seconds the visitors hit two and that was crucial. Unai Biel was on target twice, first from a man-up, then from action (a clear sign that there is life after Alvaro Granados in left-wing position). Vouliagmeni lost some composure in front, couldn’t add any more for long minutes and the game seemed to be over once Bustos scored a nice centre-goal for 4-8. Still, there was some hope. With 52 seconds to go, Charalampos Troulos finally netted an extra, then with 29 seconds into the fourth Kapotsis hit one from the action to make it 6-8. And the Greeks had a couple of more possessions to come even closer, once the post denied them, then in 27 seconds it was all over. Perrone buried a penalty, then Pavillard finished off a counter for 6-10 – even though there were still five minutes to play, it was hard to see another comeback from the Greeks. Indeed, it never happened. A bit later they netted a man-up, but soon Perrone’s brilliant action goal put the fight into bed. How they saw it Vladimir Vujasinovic, coach, Vouliagmeni “We played against a great team, one of the candidates for the title. I can say that it was a good match from our players but with a very bad man-up conversion. This made the difference in this game. We have to work on that, but we are looking forward – two weeks from now we meet Dinamo, and we hope we will get our first win in the Champions League.” Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta “Both teams played a very good defence, at the beginning we weren’t patient enough with their zone defence. They do it with great mobility while we were nervous, and our last passes weren’t good. We needed a couple of counter-attacks in the third period to go a ahead, the match was decided there.”

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Olympiacos make no mistake in Tbilisi

Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 9-21 The Greeks learned from their own mistakes committed here last season – they were defeated which was still stunning though by then they had lost the chance to make the F8 –, and perhaps were also aware that Barceloneta had made a sluggish start two weeks ago and had to dig deep to push the game onto its desired path. After an early exchange of goals, Olympiacos hit four in a row, the first three from action and later closed out the first period with a great one-timer by Konstantinos Genidounias for a 2-6 lead. They were rolling on in the second, with three more in 2:10 minutes they jumped to a 2-9 lead so after just 12 minutes they settled the bill. One goal apiece inside the last minute before the middle break made it 3-10 at halftime, but more came in the third. The Greeks were really flying high, scored eight goals in this period. Dinamo fell apiece, in the last two minutes Olympiacos had four connecting counter-attacking goals. The visitors laid back a bit in the fourth, the game was more balanced as three goals came at both ends. The Greeks finished with 21, one better than last season, when they beat Dinamo 20-9 at home (and two shy of Recco’s last season single game scoring record of 23 goals).  Ioannis Fountoulis was the top scorer of the afternoon with 7 hits, it was a bit strange though that Serbian great Filip Filipovic produced 0/5 while his team staged such a scoring feast in the pool.

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Hallock hits three from the centre as Recco bounce back

Jadran Split (CRO) v Pro Recco (ITA) 9-13 Recco tried to make it clear right at the beginning that they were determined to bounce back from the opening day defeat (in Piraeus), and staged a fine run in the first period to take a massive 0-3 lead. A quick 6m goal, a man-up and another hit from action and two killed man-down set the tone. To reserve some hope at least, Marin Tomasovic netted Jadran’s third man-up 18 seconds before the first break. That helped as Luka Bukic went on netting an action goal early in the second for 2-3, so game ‘reopened’. In the following two minutes the pattern remained the same: Recco doubled their lead, the Croats halved it. After four consecutive possessions ending in a goal, the hosts had a couple of attempts to equalise, but could not create any danger. And despite of denying Recco in two man-ups, during the second, Andrea Fondelli’s shot after the corner-throw found the back of the net for 4-6. Jadran had a 6 on 5 after a time-out but missed it badly, while Ben Hallock netted a brilliant one from the centre for 4-7 and the Croats’ next man-up was wasted without a shot, so it didn’t look good at halftime. Jadran had a better spell in third, after they buried a 6 on 4, Fondelli also hit one from an extra, but the home side could score from back-to-back possessions in 44 seconds so they cut their deficit to a single goal once more at 7-8. Soon Recco lost the ball due to a 2m violation in man-up, but a block denied the hosts to go even, and Matteo Iocchi didn’t miss the next 6 on 5 for Recco. Jadran blew away another man-up without a shot while Giacomo Cannella’s one-timer from the wing reset the 3-goal difference at 7-10 and coach Mile Smodlaka looked anything but happy at Jadran’s bench. Jerko Marinic-Kragic converted a penalty soon for 8-10, and fine defending in a man-down prevented the Italians from going up by three before the break. After the middle two periods produced seven goals apiece, goals dried up a bit in the fourth. Jadran missed a 6 on 4 badly this time and they paid the price against the title-holders. When Hallock managed to push the ball in from close range from Fondelli’s great assist, Jadran was in trouble at 8-11 with 5:26 to go. And the clock was ticking down, but they were unable to break the Italian defence which was working brilliantly in this phase. Cannella added another action goal with 2:36 remaining and that ended the contest. Ivan Zovic could pull one back finally, his ball bounced in from the goalie’s hand, still it turned out to be Jadran’s only hit in the fourth, and it came too late, after 5:48 minutes. What’s more, Hallock could score another one from the centre, his third one – the American really made the difference in this match. How they saw it Mile Smodlaka, coach, Jadran “If you make so many mistakes, especially in defence, it’s impossible to win against good teams. Well, we played against the best team in Europe so I’m not very disappointed.” Sandro Sukno, coach, Recco “We played very well in attack, we scored 13 goals in an away game, which is great, and I’m really satisfied with that. Now we have some time to prepare for the remaining two games in December.”

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