Last season’s finalists, title-holder Recco and runner-up Novi Beograd both secured huge wins at the home of their respective arch-rivals. Recco thrashed Jug in Dubrovnik, while NBG staged a 0-4 run in the fourth period in Brescia.
Group A: Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP) 8-11, AN Brescia (ITA) v VK Novi Beograd (SRB) 8-13.
Group B: Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 6-19, Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Pro Recco (ITA) 7-14
The two highlighted matches of the day ended up in big victories for the visiting teams. Title-holder Recco showed no mercy in Dubrovnik – Jug kept up for a period and a half and led 4-3, then the Italians overwhelmed their rivals. In little less than 20 minutes, they staged a 1-8 hammering and displayed tremendous defending, holding Jug on 5 for 14 in man-ups in the game (while hitting 8 for 10 in their 6 on 5s) – securing three more points.
In this group, Olympiacos made no mistakes in Tbilisi. A 0-6 rush in the first eight minutes practically decided the match by the end of the opening period, and the Greeks stopped at 19 goals at the end.
Runner-up Novi Beograd visited Brescia and stormed to a 0-3 lead in a span of 81 seconds. The hosts started to climb back, though, and trailed 7-8 at halftime. Furthermore, an action goal put them back to even, but the Serbs regained the lead with Nikola Lukic’s late man-up goal for 8-9. In the fourth, it was NBG all the way, as they produced a 0-4 run to land a brilliant away win, while Brescia was unable to score in the last 14 minutes.
In the other game in Group A, Sabadell geared up in Bucharest in the second period, and once the Spaniards built a three-goal gap, they never let the game out of their control. All four Friday ties ended in multiple-goal wins for the visiting teams.
Fixtures for Saturday
(all starting times are CET)
19.00 VK Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) v VK Jadran Split (CRO)
20.00 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
18.00 Vouliagmeni NC (GRE) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)
19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v CN Marseille (FRA)