Dramas and last-grasp goals in Budapest, thrilling tie in Belgrade

Both Hungarian teams came from behind and scored late goals – that earned three points for Ferencvaros against Marseille and saved the game to a tie for OSC against Spandau. Last season’s runner-up Novi Beograd led by four in the third period but had to work hard at the end to keep one point at home against Jug as the Croats staged a huge comeback. The winner of the day was Brescia which downed Sabadell in an unexpectedly hard-fought battle and now the only team in this group with three wins.

Group B: FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA) 9-8, Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 9-9, VK Novi Beograd (SRB) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) 12-12, AN Brescia (ITA) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) 7-4

Standings: 1. Brescia 9, 2. Novi Beograd 7, 3. FTC 6, 4. Jug 4, 5. OSC 2, 6. Spandau 2, 7. Marseille 1, 8. Sabadell 1

The clash of Novi Beograd and Jug Dubrovnik offered everything one would expect from the clash of the respective No. 1 teams from Serbia and Croatia. NBG, runner-up last season, jumped to a 4-2 lead, but Jug hit back with three goals in 75 seconds to go 4-5 up after eight minutes. The Serbs raised their level in the following two periods and midway through the third they seemed to have it at 10-6. However, Jug weren’t done, the Croats hit back with a 1-6 rush and with 53 seconds to go they led 11-12. Nikola Jaksic’s extraordinary shot then saved the game to a tie 36 seconds from time – still, the Jug players left the pool happier.

2022 bronze medallist FTC came back from 6-8 in the last period to score the last three goals against Marseille. The French kept the game under control for three periods, at one point they led 3-6, but couldn’t deliver the killer blow. And the Hungarians fought themselves back – their Greek master-shooter Stylianos Argyropoulos netted a man-up with 1:34 to go, that was the first time in the entire match that the home side took the lead, but they kept it till the end.

A few kilometres away a similar drama unfolded in the battle between OSC and Spandau. The Germans did really well in the first half, led 4-6 but the Magyars shut them out for the entire third period and early in the fourth they went ahead at 7-6. However, Spandau reacted well, managed to turn back the game at 7-8 and 8-9, while their Hungarian goalie Laszlo Baksa was simply amazing as he posted 17 saves. Still, he couldn’t put his hand on the last shot of Ferenc Salamon 29 seconds from time so the teams had to settle for a second draw in three rounds.

After big wins against Jug and FTC, Brescia was the outstanding favourite at home against Sabadell, but the Italians found it extremely difficult to break the Spaniards’ defence. They led only 5-3 before the last period, but their experience and physical superiority prevailed at the end – and in today’s water polo limiting one’s rival to four goals is a great feat at this level, and Brescia managed to do that for the second time in the season.

For stats, play-by-play and video-clips for each goal visit www.championsleague.len.eu