Jug joins Recco and Marseille in the F8, Hannover passes OSC
With a fine win, Jug booked its spot in the Final Eight as expected, while Recco and Marseille kept on winning so their battle for the top spot is still open. The French’s winning streak now stands at 10 matches, this last one came at the expense of OSC, and since Hannover beat Crvena Zvezda, the Germans got ahead of the Magyars in the ranks so their encounter in Budapest next week will probably decide the last available berth.
Group B: Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 14-11, Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Pro Recco (ITA) 6-11, CN Marseille (FRA) v Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) 13-9, Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU) 14-7
Standings: 1. Recco 30, 2. Marseille 30, 3. Jug 24, 4. Hannover 14, 5. OSC 13, 6. Spandau 10, 7. Steaua 4, 8. Zvezda 4
After losing to Recco in the opening round, Marseille turned onto the winning track, and no one could derail their campaign ever since. OSC arrived to France with high hopes based on their brave performance in Recco, but after the French set the tone with a 3-0 start, the Magyars could never come closer than two goals.
It cost them the fourth place as Hannover overcame some early scares against Crvena Zvezda and with the brilliant shots of its lefties Ivan Nagaev and Fynn Schutze – they netted 7 combined –, the Germans built a commanding four-goal lead in the third period and never looked back. In the next round Hannover visits OSC – that clash will most probably decisive in the run for the last available F8 berth.
The third one has just been booked by Jug – it was not surprising as the Croats had an easy task and they delivered against Steaua at home. After 2-2 they had a 5-0 rush to leave no excitements for the second half. Jug has made the Final for the 6th time in a row, though after consecutive semi-final appearances they missed the top four in the last two editions, but they have been definitely on the rise in recent weeks.
Title-holder Recco didn’t have any headaches in Berlin, they had three good periods only to slow down for the last eight minutes. The Italians still won comfortably though they scored the fewest goals, 11, while winning a game in this season.
Marseille v OSC 13-9
The French kicked off the game in style, buried three of their first four man-ups to go 3-0 up while the Hungarians couldn’t create any real danger in front. They finally opened their account after 5:24 minutes but could not reduce the gap further as after a killed man-down they missed their second man up before the first break.
This pattern continued in the following period: the French had a couple of chances to increase their lead, but the Magyars defended well, however, they were unable to capitalise on that and soon Marseille found the way to regain some comfort. The hosts did really well in the 6 on 5s, their outside shooters usually found the holes, so they led 6-3 at halftime. OSC, which had come up with some spectacular offensive performances in Dubrovnik and in Recco thanks to their brilliant shots from the perimeter, struggled this time in front – the three goals they scored in 16 minutes were a clear proof for that.
When Vladan Spaic put away another extra – this time from the 2m line – Marseille seemed to have it at 7-3 but OSC found the tools to finish two man-ups in 58 seconds to climb back to 7-5. And they denied another French man-up but were unable to cut their deficit to a single-goal – and in the last 90 seconds Marseille scored two fine action goals, Andrija Prlainovic and Ugo Crousillat let the ball fly from the distance – Manhercz’s goal between the two was little more than a consolation.
The French opened the last period with an easily converted 6 on 4 for 10-6, but OSC unleashed a last surge and with two hits in 48 seconds they trailed only by two again at 10-8 with 6:05 minutes to go. But Crousillat’s another blast from action killed their last momentum just 21 seconds later and the leftie put an end to the contest in a minute as he made it 12-8 (he finished the evening with 5 goals). Even though there were 4:40 minutes to go, OSC was done – two more goals were scored, one apiece, so Marseille claimed an easier-than-expected win, their 10th straight victory. At the same time, OSC fell one point behind Hannover so the clash with the Germans in Budapest next week will be a do-or-die match.
Hannover v Zvezda 14-11
Zvezda opened the match in a stunning mood and quickly jumped to a 1-3 lead and held on for 4-5 deep into the second quarter. Then the Serbs started fading a bit and the hosts’ lefties turned the cards, Fynn Schutze and Ivan Nagaev scored a series of fine goals from the perimeter. Hannover led 6-5 at halftime and soon the lefties put them three goals up, then Alexandar Radovic converted a penalty for 10-6.
The Serbs didn’t let it go, though, a double in the last 39 seconds brought them back to 10-8 before the final period, however, they were unable to come any closer. After a quick exchange of goals, Schutze netted his fourth to reset the four-goal gap – but Zvezda fought on and pulled two back once more, so it stood 13-11 with 1:33 to go, still, the Serbs didn’t have any realistic chance to grab at least a point. In fact, Jon Winkelhorst and the Germans had the last laugh as he scored from the last counter to secure three extremely valuable points to Hannover.
Spandau v Recco 6-11
The Italians didn’t leave much doubt that they would collect all three points in Berlin. They geared up a bit slowly as it stood 1-1 after six minutes but hit three in the last two minutes to take a 1-4 lead. A penalty put them 1-5 ahead soon in the second while their defence worked really well as they shut out Spandau for 8:56 minutes. Even more tellingly, Recco held the Germans on two goals for the first half while Gergo Zalanki netted an action goal 40 seconds before the middle break for 2-6.
Alexandar Ivovic also hit one early in the third and after that it was all about keeping the distance which the Italians did quite efficiently. Spandau scored two in the middle of this period to come back to 4-8 but Recco added two more late in the third for 4-10. With no excitements left, the game slowed down for the fourth period – Recco completed the compulsory task with a solid performance, though it was a bit modest too, their 11 goals is the fewest they scored while winning a game this season.
Jug v Steaua 14-7
The Croats had some ups and downs at the beginning but ultimately there was no question that they would bag all three points and book their spot in the Final Eight. After jumping to a 2-0 lead, Steaua equalised in 37 seconds, but the Croats responded well and netted two more in 1:06 minutes to lead 4-2 after the first period.
The score was frozen for a while in the second, Jug needed 5:08 minutes to find the back of the net again but once they did it, they were quick to add two more for a 7-2 lead while the Romanians struggled to unbalance the home defence. It took 13:08 minutes for them to score again, from a penalty, but Marin Tomasovic replied immediately from a man-up. And after 8-4 the hosts scored three more while Steaua’s offence was derailed again. This time it was a 6:18 minute-long blackout – at 12-4 it did not matter that much and credit to the visitors that they stepped up and managed to score three in the last period.
Fixtures for Wednesday – Group A
19.30 Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
19.45 Novi Beograd (SRB) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
20.30 Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Jadran Split (CRO)
20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
Standings: 1. Brescia 23, 2. Novi Beograd 20, 3. Olympiacos 19, 4. Barceloneta 17, 5. Ferencvaros 16, 6. Radnicki 10, 7. Jadran 9, 8. Dinamo 0