Valera wins it for Sabadell from the corner

Day 11, Group B: Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v Genesys OSC (HUN) 9-8

Back on Day 4, Sabadell stormed to a 0-3 lead in Budapest to launch a rollercoaster, OSC hit back with five goals, then the Spaniards netted three in a row but at the end OSC scored the winner for 9-8.

This game started similarly but continued in a different way. Once Sabadell jumped to a 2-0 lead, they held on – they were 4-2 up after eight minutes and after an early exchange of goals and six minutes of extremely intense battling with no more hits (despite three man-ups here and two there), Bernat Sanahuja’s second shot after a saved ball in a man-down gave Sabadell a commanding 6-3 lead by halftime. 

OSC had a better spell early in the third, netted an extra, killed three man-downs in a row and added another one from action to cut the deficit to 6-5. Sabadell could break the ice after four and a half minutes, Francisco Valera put away and extra and after a fine save from Edu Lorrio, Sanahuja could blast one from 6m to reset the three-goal gap as OSC remained scoreless in the last five minutes.

However, the Hungarians proved two weeks ago that you should never write them off – they had come back from four goals down against Brescia and this time they also started their climbing back, once they killed a man-down which would have given the Spaniards a four-goal lead. Then Erik Csacsovszky converted their 6 on 5 (the second in the same possession), and after another killed man-down at both ends Ferenc Salamon sent the ball home from an extra for 8-7 and there was still 3:27 minutes to play. 

OSC’s defence worked hard, denied a third man-down and with 1:26 on the clock they were back to even via Daniel Angyal’s hit from action at 8-8. And they earned a man-up just inside the last minute, had two shots to take the lead but both were saved and then Sabadell could go for a last 6 on 5 after a time-out, 29 seconds from time. Marton Levai made a save, so practically OSC killed the fourth one in this period and it seemed that a 0-3 comeback earns them another draw (would have been their fifth in the season), but Fran Valera had other thoughts while taking the corner throw. He grabbed the ball, sneaked a bit more inside, then let it fly and the rocket found its way to the net, above the goalie’s arms, just bouncing in from the bar. That sealed a victory with the very same scoreline for Sabadell, as was the result in the first match, then favouring OSC.

How they saw it

Quim Colet, coach, Sabadell

“The Final Eight is our dream but the most important is to go step by step, develop game by game. We had three fantastic matches in this pool as we could beat Jug, Barceloneta in the championship and now OSC. These wins are very important for my team, we can improve in these matches, and this is what counts and makes me very happy.”

Daniel Varga, coach, OSC

“I need to congratulate to Sabadell, they were leading during almost the entire game. I wouldn’t say they were dominating but played better than us. We used our heart for most of the time, not our brain – and despite of this, we could have won this match but lost at the end. That’s water polo. Now we have to say goodbye for the F8, still, the remaining three matches are going to be very useful for us.”