FTC led only once, at the very end

Group B, Day 3: FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA) 9-8

Ferencvaros dug themselves to a hole right at the beginning: Stylianos Argyropoulos’ penalty was brilliantly saved by Dejan Lazic, Andrija Prlainovic sent a bouncing rocket to the net 23 second later, and a further 1:07min adrift Vladan Spaic netted a man-up from the 2m line for a 0-2 lead. It could have been more, but Thomas Vernoux sent the ball wide from another man-up and the hosts went all the way from the counter for 1-2.

Lazovic delivered more fine saves, early in the second he stood with 7/8 – and that was a firm backing for his team while they jumped to 1-4, despite missing a 6 on 4. Denes Varga sent the ball to the top right corner from the Magyars’ double man-up, but Lazic came up with another huge stop on Szilard Jansik’s centre shot, while the French hit the woodwork for a couple of times. The next shot from the middle was a goal though, Nemanja Ubovic pulled one more back for 3-4 as a block denied the French in a 6 on 5 earlier.

Marseille had the better restart after the middle break, the Magyars couldn’t really get going in offence, while the French finally netted a 6 on 5, the second one after a time-out (the first gone with a 2m violation), thanks to Ugo Crousillat’s great one-timer. They reacted well in the next man-down and veteran Olympic champ Andrija Prlainovic still had the speed to break clear and scored his second action goal for 3-6.

The hosts needed a penalty – earned in a 6 on 4 – to score once more after a silence of 5:34 minutes, then Argyropoulos could beat Lazovic from a man-up 12 seconds from time, so nothing was decided before the final period (5-6).

Lazovic came up with his 12th save at the beginning of the fourth, followed by a huge blast from Prlainovic, though Daniil Merkulov replied immediately. After the two man-up goals, two wasted 6 on 5s followed, then a block denied the Hungarians and Ante Vukicevic gained some advantage and made a cool finish for 6-8. Gergo Fekete badly missed the hosts’ next extra, but Vendel Vigvari brought them closer once more with a fine 6m shot for 7-8, with 3:45 to go. A minute later it was even as Merkulov buried a penalty. Vogel managed to have a hand on Crousillat’s shot in a man-down and there came Argyropoulos with a 6m blast – for the first time in the game, FTC lead and only 1:34 remained on the clock.

Prlainovic sent the ball wide, then Lazovic had an easy catch (no. 14) and Marseille had 42 seconds after a time-out to save the game to a tie. With 0:17 to go, they earned a man-up, but the assist for the 2m line didn’t find anyone, the refs waved on – so the brilliant finish (5 goals in three periods, 4 in the last one) earned a hard-fought victory to the Magyars while Marseille is still seeking its first win this season. By the way, Greece’s Olympic silver medallist Argyropoulos hit the winner in this pool for the second time in four days – the first landed the Hungarian Cup for FTC, this one earned them three crucial points.

How they saw it

Zsolt Varga, coach, FTC

“First of all, I’d like to congratulate to Marseille, they played very well today. I think we were suffering from the post-effects of the two matches we played in the Hungarian Cup in 24 hours. I saw a lot of bad decisions, mistakes, which came from the mental exhaustion. Still, we fought with our hearts, we had the fire, perhaps a bit more than our rival, and we could win the match at the end.”

Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille

“It’s really difficult to say something nice in this moment… Congrats for both teams – Ferencvaros demonstrated their character one more time. It was anyway an amazing game, and our performance was excellent, we also showed also lot of character, we invested a lot of energy, and we had the game in our hand… So it was an amazing match and it’s better not to speak about other things.”