Group D: CN Marseille (FRA) v Vouliagmeni GRE) 15-13
Thomas Vernoux was on fire right from the beginning, for sure – he scored the first four goals for Marseille, all in the opening period. He started off with a man-up, followed by three fine action goals. However, there was another player geared up similarly, Efstathios Kalogeropoulos in the opposite camp, who scored three for Vouliagmeni, two from action, and one from a 6 on 5, so it stood 4-3 after eight minutes.
Marseille had a fine spell early in the second to go 6-3 up, soon Vernoux hit his fifth for 7-4 but the Greeks didn’t let it go and Nemanja Ubovic netted a nice action goal for 7-5. Vouliagmeni could have cut the gap to a single goal, but Dejan Lazovic came up with a great penalty stop with 1:34 to go. And that proved to be crucial as right from the first possession in the third Andrija Prlainovic sent the ball home in a 6 on 5 to make it 8-5 – instead of 7-6. Still, the Greeks tried to stay on board, killed a man down, then Nikolaos Kourouvanis proved that there was still life in the centre-position after Dimitrios Nikolaidis left (he joined Olympiacos for this season), and soon Nikolais Papasifakis also netted one from there for 9-7. But their defence didn’t click, and conceded three more in this period letting Marseille go 12-8 up, so the writing was already on the wall before the final period.
And even though the Greeks pulled one back early in the fourth and later on, Marseille could always reply from man-ups thus maintaining the four-goal gap. With 2:28 to go Vernoux scored his 6th for 15-11 and that put an end to the contest – though Vouliagmeni could add two more, Marseille’s opening win was never in danger.
How the coaches saw it
Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille
“There was a lot of tension in the game. We had control from the beginning, and we responded well to Vouliagmeni’s challenge. I think we could have made an even better result tonight, but Vouliagmeni is also a great team so we have to be satisfied with the three points we got.”
Vladimir Vujasinovic, coach, Vouliagmeni
“We played a good game and we had a good result. In this group, anybody can beat anybody, especially at home, so we have to be ready for our home matches.
We just need to keep going, we have a lot of young kids in the team, so we can improve a lot as we play more and more matches at this level.”