Scoring the last five goals, Sabadell shocked Novi Beograd, runner-up in the last two editions. Title-holder Recco won a thriller against Olympiacos in the big match of the day to top the group of death with three wins midway through the group stage.
Group A: Novi Beograd (SRB) v Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP) 10-12, Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v AN Brescia (ITA) 8-17. Standings: 1. Sabadell 7, 2. NBG 6, 3. Brescia 5, 3. Steaua 0
Group B: Pro Recco (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 12-11, Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) 5-12. Standings: 1. Recco 9, 2. Olympiacos 5, 3. Jug 4, 4. Sabadell 0
For quite a while, Novi Beograd seemed to be well on their way to claiming another comfortable win, just ten days after they beat Brescia 13-8 in Italy. The Serbs stormed to a 3-0 lead and maintained the distance for almost three periods. They were still 10-7 up with 1:52 to go, and there was no sign of what was coming, even though the Spaniards pulled one goal back soon. Then Alberto Barroso scored quickly in the fourth quarter, and NBG started experiencing a meltdown.
The situation became more and more serious as the world-class players of the hosts were unable to put the ball away in a series of 6-on-5s. They missed their last six opportunities, while Barroso was on fire, scoring two more goals, which ultimately won the match for Sabadell. Their 0-5 run sealed the victory, propelling the Spaniards to the top of Group A, while Novi Beograd remained scoreless in the last 9 minutes and 52 seconds.
Brescia also had a 0-5 run in Bucharest, which decided the outcome. This came after a surprisingly balanced opening period, but the Italians geared up and led 3-8, finishing with 17 goals at the end.
In the day’s marquee match, Recco chased Olympiacos throughout the entire first half. The Greeks jumped to a 0-3 lead, later extending it to 5-7 and 7-9. However, the titleholders kept coming back and even managed to take the lead 3 seconds before the midway break. Olympiacos could only equalize after falling behind 9-7, but that was the last time. Recco scored two more goals and managed to maintain a one-goal advantage until the end as Olympiacos failed to convert their last six 6-on-5s.
Jug secured its first three points in the group, as expected. They made no mistake in Tbilisi, allowing the Georgians to score their first goal only after 21:25 minutes, at 0-9. Therefore, they are still on track to keep up with the other two big teams in Group B.
Fixtures for Wednesday
19.00 Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
20.45 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Jadran Split (CRO)
19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Vouliagmeni NC (GRE)
20.00 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v CN Marseille (FRA)