Group C: Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 6-16
The fine mix of upcoming youngsters and a couple of seasoned veterans in Crvena Zvezda had a promising start and kept up with the Hungarian champion. One might have recalled the opening round when the Serbs kept Jadran under huge pressure for three periods in Split. On the occasion, only a missed penalty and their weaker reserves prevented them from causing an upset.
They even led 4-3 early in the second. However, the script turned out to be absolutely different this time. Ferencvaros quickly scored two to regain the lead, killed a man-down, then Stylianos Argyropoulos netted another one from action. Later, lately Szilard Jansik hit one from close in a man-up, and these four consecutive goals secured a 4-7 lead for the favourites.
The Magyars not only carried on their momentum but blew their rivals away. They put away all their 6 on 5s, Argyropoulos scored a backhander from the centre. By the time the hosts found the back of the net again, Ferencvaros had already gone on a 0-9 run. In this phase the Hungarians and their quality foreigners were at the top of their game. They had six man-ups and converted each, five of them from the 2m line. Even though they laid back a bit, they added three more in the last two minutes to win by ten.
Some stats mirrored the difference sharply. The total number of shots was almost even, 29-31 but those on target were 14-28, demonstrating the quality of the shooters and the level of defending. The man-up conversions also told a story (1 for 10, 8 for 12), as did FTC’s tactical adjustments after the first period, which saw five exclusions called against them, while they only had five more in the rest of the game.
Aleksandar Filipovic, coach, Crvena Zvezda
„We played a good first quarter but after that Ferencvaros proved how good team they have, I think they are one of the best teams in Europe. They showed us the individual quality in the game, which made the difference.”
Balazs Nyeki, coach, FTC
“I’m very satisfied of course as we managed to have a big win against a team which plays very good water polo which they showed in the first round in Split and also in the qualifications. We had to change our defence as we had too many exclusions and this worked well, that was the key for this victory.”