Brescia, Novi Beograd and Ferencvaros managed to beat their respective opponents once more in ten days, however, this time they needed to work a lot harder for the wins. On contrary, fourth placed Jug suffered a shocking defeat at home from Spandau, so instead of chasing the top three, now they dropped back to the battle with the lower-ranked sides to clinch the fourth available spot. Offences of all eight sides were quite productive scoring a total of 102 goals in the evening.
Group B: FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) 12-11, Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 11-13, VK Novi Beograd (SRB) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) 16-11, AN Brescia (ITA) v CN Marseille (FRA) 15-13
Standings: 1. Brescia 21, 2. Novi Beograd 19, 3. Ferencvaros 18, 4. Jug 11, 5. Spandau 8, 6. OSC 6, 7. Sabadell 4, 8. Marseille 4
Brescia blew away Marseille in France on Day 7 and FTC did the same with OSC in the all-Hungarian battle – now both sides, semi-finalists last season, had to dig deep to claim three points once more.
Despite all their miseries (one win in seven games), Marseille fought hard and were leading for most of the time in the first half, before Brescia hit two in 48 seconds shortly before the middle break. In the third the Italians seemed to have broken their rival at 10-7, but the French climbed back to 10-9, still, the hosts hit two in the last minute again for 12-9 and there was no way back for Marseille.
Something similar happened in Budapest, where OSC put up a great fight and led 5-6 in FTC’s home deep into the second period. Their arch-rival responded with two goals before half-time and in the third they added three more, and after this 5-0 run they looked to have it, just like in the previous match. OSC responded differently, though, came back to 10-8, then cut the gap to a single goal early in the fourth but couldn’t add any more in the following five minutes. FTC netted two during that phase and led 12-9 with 3:17 remaining, but OSC launched a last assault, pulled two back in 48 seconds, then, with 0:21 on the clock, they earned a man-up. However, the happy end didn’t come, the last ball went wide, so the underdogs had to leave the pool empty-handed once more.
F8 host Novi Beograd also struggled for a while against Sabadell – the Spaniards trailed only 8-7 after two periods and held on for 9-8 deep into the third. However, the Serbs finally broke them, a double in 42 seconds gave them a three-goal lead, and two more still in this quarter expanded the gap to four goals, leaving no chance for Sabadell.
Unlike the other three favourites, Jug failed to deliver this time. The Croats already needed some luck to overcome Spandau in Berlin ten days ago – now they fell at home. The number of shots on target was telling: 14-26 – so only three saves were enough for Spandau to win this game. Jug led 7-6 in the third when they got into a downward spiral, the Germans staged a 0-5 rush while the hosts missed a penalty at 7-8 – and once the Croats were 7-11 down, they couldn’t escape the shocking defeat. Now they are seven points behind the leaders, but they’d better to focus on their chasers, otherwise they may miss the F8 for the first time since 2014.
Fixtures for Saturday, Group A
13.00 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Jadran Split (CRO)
19.00 (18.00 CET) NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
19.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
20.30 Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Standings: 1. Recco 18, 2. Olympiacos 18, 3. Barceloneta 18, 4. Vouliagmeni 10, 5. Radnicki 8, 6. Jadran 7, 7. Hannover 3, 8. Dinamo 0