Olympiacos and Jug had more desire

LEN/Istvan Derencsenyi

In the new playing schedule, the third day of the Final Eight was devoted to the classification games while teams playing for the medals enjoyed a rest day in Belgrade. Olympiacos clinched the 5th place with a fine win over Ferencvaros, while Jug bounced back to down Brescia for the 7th place.

For the 5-6th place: Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 9-4. For places 7-8th: Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v AN Brescia (ITA) 14-10

Fixtures for Saturday

19.00, Bronze medal match: Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v NC Vouliagmeni (GRE)

21.00, Champions League Final: Novi Beograd (SBR) v Pro Recco (ITA)

On the very first day of the Champions League prelims, Brescia outpowered Jug in Dubrovnik and won 8-13, then on the last day of the regular season the Italians secured their top spot with a 14-10 victory over the Croats.

Two weeks on, the two sides faced off for the 7th place – and this time Jug won 14-10 against Brescia whose players lost almost all their desire by the last day. They came to Belgrade with a fine chance to make the final after two semi-final appearances – instead, after a shocking defeat against underdog Vouliagmeni in the quarters, they were dropped to the last place, the worst-ever performance by a group-winner since 2014.

LEN/Istvan Derencsenyi

Today’s match saw the Italians jump to a 2-4 lead but then the Croats found a higher gear, scored five goals in the second period while Brescia started losing their remaining composure. Before the final quarter they were trailing by three, then in the fourth they completely fell apart as Jug went on adding more goals and expanding the gap to six as time went by.

Something similar happened in the late evening show by Olympiacos and FTC – four years after these two had clashed for the trophy, this match had much less at stake, and the pace and the concentration level were also significantly lower. It stood 3-3 at halftime, then the Greeks had a couple of better shots, unlike the Hungarians, who were frozen for an unlikely 21:35 minutes, and during this phase Olympiacos netted seven goals to secure the 5th place.

Saturday shall bring the coronation of the season with the bronze medal match between Barceloneta and Vouliagmeni, followed by the Champions League Final, featuring host Novi Beograd and the title-holder Pro Recco.