Group C: FTC-Telekom (HUN) v Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) 9-7
FTC fielded a kind of ‘all-in’ team: seven world champions and each of their five foreign aces. Since in the Hungarian league only three can enter for a game, this was also a first-ever occasion and that left its mark on the first half – the home side barely showed unit qualities, rather relied on individual skills.
And the Montenegrins turned that to their own favour, with some fine defending and their goalie Darko Durovic’s superb performance they shut out FTC for the entire first period and managed to score two goals in the last minute, both in the very last second of the possession for a 0-2 lead. Edoardo di Somma broke the ice after little less than ten minutes, but Danilo Radovic was on target from a 6 on 5. Adam Nagy netted one from action, the Magyars denied two man-downs, but they were unable to capitalise on that, missed another extra, and conceded one 32 seconds from time so the scoreboard showed a somewhat stunning 2-4 at halftime.
However, the favourites raised the level of their game in the third and produced a 3-0 run to show something of their capabilities. Denes Varga’s wrist shot with 3:25 to go was another teaser from the class he represents and that gave the lead to the hosts for the first time. They had a man-up to double their lead but wasted it and Ivan Nagaev blasted a fantastic one from the distance to level the score. Stylianos Argyropoulos hit one from the centre, then Danilo Radovic equalised again, still, FTC had the last laugh, though it wasn’t a clean play even in a 6 on 4, Dusan Mandic could bury only the second attempt for 7-6.
Matija Sladovic equalised right away in the fourth to keep up the tensions. And the Hungarians missed another man-up, but di Somma made a great steal in seconds and the re-counter ended in a goal, by Gergo Fekete. With 4:01 to go, Varga came up with another great action goal to make it 9-7 and that was decisive. Indeed, the Montenegrins didn’t have much left in the tank, they were unable to beat Soma Vogel in the goal (couldn’t score in the last 7:27 minutes) so FTC could afford to miss a penalty – it was one of the 14 saves Darko Durovic delivered in the match, but it was not enough to bag a point or points.
At the same time, the shooting ratio showed the contrasting halves for Ferencvaros: they were 2 for 17 in the first and 7 for 16 in the second.
How the coaches saw it
Balazs Nyeki, FTC
“We expected something like this, a very difficult match. We didn’t play well, especially in man-up – indeed it was terrible. We need to work on that and I’m sure we’ll improve our game for sure.”
Petar Radanovic, coach, Jadran
“I think we played well in the first half, then Ferencvaros disturbed us with three goals, and we didn’t react on that well. We missed our chances, this was the main reason for our defeat.”