Group A: Novi Beograd (SRB) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU) 19-7
Returning to the big stage after four years, Steaua might have dreamt of a bit easier start than a visit to the home of Novi Beograd, runner-up in the last two editions. Indeed, the young Romanian team was no match for the Serbian super squad which put them under pressure right from the beginning.
Though Steaua could open the scoring, NBG hit back with three goals in 58 seconds, then, after 3-2, again a triple, this time in 65 seconds – the 6-2 opening period set the tone, for sure. Five more followed till the middle break so the Serbs led 11-4 at halftime.
The third was a bit more balanced but that fine battling also worn out the Romanians who completely ran out of gas for the fourth where NBG staged a 5-0 run and almost broke the 20-goal barrier.
Stats don’t lie – the total number of shots (34-19) and those on target (29-14) demonstrated the huge difference between the sides and that was also mirrored by the final result. Nikola Jaksic led the charge for NBG with 6 goals from as many attempts.
How the coaches saw it
Zivko Gocic, coach, NBG
“It was a very good game from my team, we played aggressively from the very beginning till the last minute. We paid respect to the team of Steaua and we demonstrated that by playing as hard as we could. It was a great presentation from my players in our first big match of the season.”
Bogdan Rath, coach, Steaua
“It was a very tough game. Everyone knows the quality of Novi Belgrade, while our one is a very young team, all we need to do is try to become better and better by each match we play in the Champions League.”