Olympiacos’ 7-0 run keeps FTC at bay

LEN/Istvan Derencsenyi

For the 5-6th place: Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 9-4

Though Filip Filipovic hit a big one after just 16 seconds, the Greeks next five attempts went anywhere but on target and FTC first managed to equalise from a man-up, then Denes Varga surprised Marko Bijac from a sharp angle after a counter-like action. FTC then wasted their next 6 on 5 without a shot and Marton Vamos levelled the score soon by burying a man-up against his former team-mates. Stylianos Argyropoulos showed something similar against his Greek friends, came up with a stunning 8m shot in the very last second to give Ferencvaros a 3-2 lead.

The second period was filled with swimming and position play without any real danger generated at either end. After a while it seemed so hopeless that Igor Milanovic called a time-out to refresh the bodies but mostly the minds. It did not help that much, though at least they killed a man-down lately, before Georgios Dervisis managed to direct the ball towards the goal and his pinpoint blast equalled the score with 29 seconds to go – the Hungarians lacked the same precision so stayed scoreless for this quarter. Numbers mirrored all we saw: total number of shots stood 16-13 – on target: 4-6…

LEN/Istvan Derencsenyi

Both teams missed a man-up at the beginning of the third, after the Greeks’ one Varga broke clear but Bijac stole the long pass by swimming out to 10m and Marton Vamos finished off the re-counter for 3-4. FTC’s scoreless phase was getting longer and longer, the Greeks did a great defending to deny their next man-up too, and for the third time in the game, right after the killed man-down they netted a goal, this time a great one from the centre, by Konstantinos Mourikis. Soon Ioannis Fountoulis buried a penalty for 3-6 – Olympiacos was on a 0-4 run, while the Magyars were sinking constantly, missed three more man-ups and at these minutes only Vogel kept them in the game. He couldn’t score though – while his team-mates couldn’t find the way for the 16th minute.

While FTC missed its fourth 6 on 5 in succession, it wasn’t that surprising that Konstantinos Genidounias netted one from action and a bit later the other Konstantinos, Gouvis also buried a dying man-up. The Konstantinos Show went on, Genidounias scored a very nice one from the distance – at the same time, it was astonishing that the Magyars were simply frozen, or rather worn out by the previous two days’ fights against the Italians, Recco and Brescia. Bijac also made some great saves, he was 10 for 13, before Argyropoulos broke the ice 21:35 minutes after his fine goal in the very last second of the first period. Between the two, Olympicaos had a 7-0 run to secure the fifth place, while FTC, with a single goal in the last three periods, had to settle for their lowest rank in their four appearances.

Igor Milanovic, coach, Olympiacos

“You know, in these games nothing is at stake, so yesterday I didn’t see the fighting spirit in Jug and today I didn’t see that big will from Ferencvaros. We did some good things, we found some motivation so we won this match as well, but you cannot consider this as a big thing.”

LEN/Istvan Derencsenyi

Zsolt Varga, coach, FTC

“After ten years at the bench of this fantastic club, of course I wished to have a better farewell game ending in a win. But this is not like a wishlist, sometimes you leave after a loss. Today we did well in the first half, we missed some fine chances in the second period, then I saw a turning point once we conceded the fourth and the fifth goal. After two tough matches, players are obviously worn out and you can get to a point in a game like this, when your physical and mental condition simply blocks you in taking the right decision. We started losing control, losing strength and consequently the belief to be able to do this. Still, this sixth place won’t ruin what we have achieved over the years – where we had started, when we were fighting against relegation in the Hungarian league and managed to escape in an endless penalty shootout, then we began to rise, made the top four, won the Euro Cup twice and then lifted the Champions League trophy and landed two more medals, besides those ones collected at home. I might not look emotional now, after a game many things cross your mind, I’m still thinking of what just happened to us, what we could learn from it, though on the long run it’s my successors’ job – as the head coach of the national team I also need to assess many things we went through during these three days.”

Andro Buslje, player, Olympiacos

„Looking back at the Final 8, we are not satisfied. We lost the most important match and the reason we came here, which is the quarter-final. Once again it was by Novi Beograd, but we showed that we are good. These last two matches didn’t really matter, but we came back. It’s better to be 5th than 8th. All in all, we are not satisfied, we didn’t fulfil our plan.”

Georgios Dervisis, player, Olympiacos

“Unfortunately, this is not what we had expected coming here, to be playing for the 5th, 6th place. OK, we won today. It was our job to continue and rise after a tough defeat by Novi Beograd. It was important for us to keep on the team spirit and stay motivated. The next year and a half are going to be crazy for everyone. I think this is the first time in the history to have this kind of schedule really. I wish the best to all the athletes.”

Viktor Vadovics, player, Ferencvaros

“Unfortunately, we lost the most important match here, the quarter-finals against Recco. Yesterday we pushed to come back, and we did. I am proud of my team for that. Today, at the beginning we played a good defence and were concentrated in the attack, but then in the second half of the match we became unfocused and lost control of the match. Congratulations to Olympiacos for this victory.”

Stlyllianos Argyropoulos, player, Ferencvaros

“This season has been great. Hungary is an exceptional place to work as an athlete under great conditions. It has been really nice. We won the National Cup and the Championship but our goal was bigger. We won two out of three titles, but we lost the most important match here. We are sad that we failed to show our best face here and show our value. Tomorrow I am looking forward to cheering for my fellow Greeks in Vougliameni and Novi Beograd. After that we will have 14-15 months of great matches, beautiful competitions both at the club and the national team.”