What a thriller, a draw with eight goals in the last four minutes

Day 11, Group B: Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v FTC-Telekom Budapest

The Hungarians got the better start, jumped to a 0-2 lead while Soma Vogel, returning to their goal after a longer absence, stopped a penalty. Jug scored their first only with 1:24 remaining, from action, but still in the first they levelled the score as Franko Lazic put away an extra.

FTC got a man-up in the dying seconds, took the ball at the swim-off and with that speed they rushed until they scored in 15 seconds. The Croats missed their next extra, but veteran leftie Maro Jokovic put the ball away from the next one for 3-3. With some luck, the Magyars took the lead again, Viktor Vadovics regained the ball after a rebound and sent it back. Szilard Jansik couldn’t double their lead, his shot went wide in a 6 on 5 and Matias Biljaka hit back by making their man-up for 4-4. Denes Varga buried a penalty, Loren Fatovic blasted one from 6m, then Vogel came up with a second penalty save – at 5-5 it looked crucial, especially since FTC scored the next one, Varga’s fine bouncer from action found the back of the net for 5-6 and the Magyars killed Jug’s last two man-ups.

However bright it looked from the visitors’ perspective, they missed their next chance to go up by two, and even though also denied Jug’s 6 on 5, the Croats finally equalised deep into the third, and after another missed FTC man-up, Hrvoje Zono gave the hosts the lead for the first time at 7-6. What’s more, Goran Grgurevic finished off an extra from close, and a killed man-down completed Jug’s perfect comeback tale, a 3-0 run in this period.

However deep the hole looked like for FTC’s, they got out very fast, thanks to Luca Damonte and Jansik. The latter delivered a man-up, the Italian took a quick shot to end FTC’s scoreless run after 10:33 minutes, then in 75 seconds, after denying Jug’s 6 on 5, he set up Jansik for a brilliant action goal for 8-8. Here came three minutes of fighting, then a fantastic rallye ensued with eight goals in the last 3:42 minutes. A lucky rebound helped Jug this time, but Nemanja Ubovic great one-timer from the centre levelled the score immediately. Grgurevic netted his third straight goal from the centre, but Adam Nagy was on target once more in a man-up for 10-10. The Hungarians denied Jug’s 6 on 5, and Damonte put away theirs after a time-out with 1:30 to go. FTC survived the first shot in Jug’s next extra, but Franko Lazic managed to find a whole between Vogel’s hand and the post. However, Damonte was on fire and with 0:12 on the clock he converted another extra for his third – still, Jug had Lazic who beat Vogel again from the wing in their last 7 on 6, with 0:02 remaining. Fantastic finish – a ten-goal final period, with a draw at the end. Perhaps this does not satisfy either side – but was a water polo spectacle, it was a perfect start for Day 11.

How they saw it

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug

“It was a great match, very tense and with a lot of quality. We are satisfied with this point, which does not qualify us for the Final Eight but definitely helps. We were chasing them in the first half, then had a great third period and at the end we can be content with our performance. We just need to continue to play on this level.”

Zsolt Varga, coach, Ferencvaros

“It was a tough game today, especially after our travel issues yesterday, a 5-6 hour trip was expanded to 14 hours due to the wind, but anyway, we came here to win. And we took the upper hand at the beginning, we did well in the first half but we had a setback in the third when Jug took a two-goal lead. We could come back, which was great, and obviously, we could have won the match, I just feel sorry for the last ten seconds, you cannot concede a goal from a situation like this, we have to learn from that.