As expected, Ferencvaros and Barceloneta both claimed commanding away wins to secure their respective berths in the quarter-final round. Crvena Zvezda upset Jadran Split in a thriller and Marseille came back from three goals down to beat Vouliagmeni and keep its hopes very much alive.
Group C: Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) v FTC-Telekom (HUN) 10-17, Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Jadran Split (CRO) 12-11
Standings: 1. FTC 12, 2. Split 6, 3. Zvezda 4, 4. Herceg Novi 2
Group D: Vouliagmeni (GRE) v CN Marseille (FRA) 9-12, Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) 6-13
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 12, 2. Spandau 6, 3. Marseille 6, 4. Vouliagmeni 0
Back on the opening day, Ferencvaros had some struggles before bringing down the young side of Jadran Herceg Novi – a month and three rounds later the Hungarians were absolutely superior for four periods and landed the win they needed to go through.
Four goals in 2:11 minutes in the first period did the damage, and even though the Montenegrins had a better run with four goals in the second, the star players of the visitors never failed to reply.
The hosts were gradually worn out by the high intensity they tried to imply, while FTC, with seven current world champions and five quality foreigners, kept the game under firm control. Interestingly, while they’ve had two tighter encounters at home, in the away ties they are flying high, hitting 16 in Belgrade and now 17 in Trebinje.
Ferencvaros’ win paved the road for Jadran Split to the final eight – all the Croats needed was a win in Belgrade. Despite being the favourites, they were unable to deliver.
The young Serbians brought their very best to the pool and this time they didn’t let it go (unlike in Split on Day 1). Jadran had a couple of better spells, they staged a 0-3 run after 4-2 in the second, then another one in the third when they rushed to a 6-8 lead, but they were unable to build on their momentum.
The hosts responded well both times, late in the third with three unanswered goals to regain the lead at 9-8. The Croats, boosted by a sensational 28m shot by their goalie Mate Anic for 9-9, had one more push when they netted two more for 10-11 with 4:25 to go. Still, they couldn’t score any more while Zvezda hit two and claimed a big win to prolong the excitements in this group.
In Group D, Barceloneta halted Spandau’s home winning streak. The Germans had upset Marseille, then added three more points against Vouliagmeni to put themselves in a fine position after three rounds.
However, they ran out of magic against Barceloneta – or rather the Spaniards proved they were on a very different level. A 0-4 hammering in the first period set the tone and Barceloneta went on adding four more action goals in the second to lead 2-8 at halfime. The contest virtually ended there, and despite Spandau gaining some ground, at the end the difference remained seven goals.
Marseille bounced back after two defeats, but it wasn’t easy against Vouliagmeni. Deep into the second period, the Greeks led 7-4, while the French seemed to have problems in defence, once more. However, unlike in Berlin, their Montenegrin goalie Dejan Lazovic stepped up and after having saved only one of the first eight shots, he produced seven stops from the following nine.
With that firm backing, Marseille levelled the score at 7-7 by halftime and carried that momentum into the third – their 0-6 rush proving to be decisive. The Greeks needed 13:46 of play to strike again, and when they eventually did, to make it 8-10 with 6:55 remaining in the fourth, the French were very much in control and secured a crucial win by adding two more goals.
The victory puts them back on track and with two home matches to come, they have a fine chance to make the top eight.
Fixtures for Wednesday
(all times are CET)
17.30 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v VK Novi Beograd (SRB)
20.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP)
Standings: 1. Sabadell 7, 2. NBG 6, 3. Brescia 5, 3. Steaua 0
16.00 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Pro Recco (ITA)
19.00 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje (CRO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Standings: 1. Recco 9, 2. Olympiacos 5, 3. Jug 4, 4. Dinamo 0