Two rounds before the end of the Preliminary Stage of the 2018/19 Champions League, five clubs secured their spots at the Final Eight. Barceloneta and Brescia (Group A) beat their respective rivals today, in the 12th round, and joined Pro Recco and Jug which booked their F8 tickets earlier. Waspo Hannover is automatically qualified, as a host.
Three clubs are in the chase for the last remaining ticket in Group A: Ferencvaros, Dynamo Moscow and Eger.
Sport Management, title-holder Olympiacos , and Szolnok are in the race for the two available berths in Group B
The match of the day in Group A was an encounter between the group-leader Pro Recco and LEN Super Cup winner Ferencvaros, that was played in Budapest. Ferencvaros had a brilliant start. The Hungarians took a 4:1 lead after just five and a half minutes of play. But, Pro Recco struck back strongly, by scoring seven goals in a row, and went 8:4 up in the 16th minute and kept the win (13:7). It should be mentioned that Niksa Dobud, a new Recco’s center-forward played in the game in Budapest. This was his first official match after a 4-year suspension due to avoiding doping test. Dobud scored two goals.
Pro Recco continued its winning streak. Despite the defeat, Ferencvaros is very close to the Final Eight. The Budapest-based side has four points more than Eger and Dynamo which share the 5th and the 6th place. In the 13th round, the Super Cup winner will have the next “match point” to reach the F8. The Hungarians will play against 7th-placed Steaua. If Ferencvaros water polo players win, they will secure F8 berth. In the 14th round, they will face Dynamo, which will clash Eger in the next round.
Barceloneta earned an F8 ticket by defeating Dynamo in Barcelona. There were a lot of twists and turns. The Spaniards rushed to an early 4:1 lead. The Russians responded with a 5:0 run to take a 6:4 lead deep into the second quarter. Than came Barceloneta again, with five goals in a row for 9:6 (22nd minute). The Spaniards didn’t let another turn in the remaining time and kept the three points (13:9). Barceloneta secured at least the 3rd place.
As expected, Brescia defeated Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) in Belgrade. The Italians dominated from the 1st whistle, but the hosts fought bravely. Brescia jumped to a 9:3 lead deep into the second quarter and never looked back. The hosts reduced the gap in the last ten minutes (Brescia won 13:9). Brescia water polo players keep the 2nd place, with a point more than 3rd-placed Barceloneta, but they will face a hard task in the next round. They will play against Recco, while they will host Steaua in the last round. In the remaining two games, Barceloneta will play against Crvena zvezda (in Barcelona) and Eger (in Hungary).
Eger kept its slim hope to grab the 4th place in the group, as it returned home from Bucharest with three points (Steaua – Eger 11:13).
Jug’s long unbeaten run came to the end. In the derby of the day, 2017 European champion Szolnok defeated Jug.
The match was played in Szolnok. It was an even contest until the middle of the second quarter (3:3). The hosts, who played without injured Andrija Prlainovic, took control and produced a 5:1 run for an 8:4 lead (20th minute), which proved decisive for their victory. Jug couldn’t come back. Szolnok celebrated a 10:7 win.
Title-holder Olympiacos did a clean job in Berlin. The Greeks’ defense was superb. The Pireaus-based team cruised to an 11:3 victory over Spandau.
Sport Management defeated Hannover. After a slow start (it stood 2:2 early in the 2nd period), the Italians ruled the field and jumped to an 8:2 lead (21st minute). Hannover wasn’t able to recover after that shock. Sport Management beat the Germans by 5 goals (12:7).
Two rounds before the end, Sport Management, Olympiacos and Szolnok have similar chances to reach the Final Eight. Sport Management has collected 26 points, Olympiacos has won 24, Szolnok – 21.
But, in the remaining two rounds Sport Management will have very hard exams. The Italians will play against Szolnok (13th round) and Olympiacos (14th). Sport Management will be the visiting team in both encounters. Before the match against Sport Management, Olympiacos will travel to Hannover. Szolnok is going to play against Jadran in Split in the last round.
Sport Management might clinch the first place, but it is hard to expect that they can catch Jug, as the group-leader faces easy tasks in the last two rounds (Spandau and Jadran).
In the last match of the day, Jadran Split edged out Mladost (12:11) in the Croatian derby.
Champions League 2018/19, Day 12
Ferencvaros 7:13 Pro Recco
(4:4, 1:5, 0:1, 2:3)
Ferencvaros Telekom: Jansik 2, Sedlmayer, Kallay, Vamos, Younger, Varga.
Pro Reco: Filipovic 2, Ivovic 2, Kayes 2, Dobud 2, Mandic 2, Velotto, Echenique, Figari.
Steaua 11:13 Eger
(2:3, 2:5, 2:2, 5:3)
Steaua Bucharest: Vatrai 3, Kapotsis 3, Marinic Kragic 2, Chovieanu, Prioteasa, Dereviankin.
Eger: Vlachopoulos 5, S. Rasovic 2, Santa 2, Avramovic, Hosnyanszky, Murisic, Gyarfas.
Barceloneta 13:9 Dynamo
(4:2, 2:4, 5:1, 2:2)
CNA Barceloneta: Munarriz 3, Fernandez 2, Perrone 2, Famera 2, Granados, Vrlic, Prieto, Mallarach.
Dynamo Moscow: Subotic 4, Kholod 2, Bychkov, Nagaev, Lisunov.
Crvena Zvezda 9:13 Brescia
(1:4, 3:5, 3:4, 2:0)
Crvena Zvezda: Tankosic 5, Maksimovic 3, Ljubenovic.
AN Brescia: Figlioli 3, Bertoli 3, C. Presciutti, Gallo, Rizzo, Muslim, Nora, N. Presciutti, Janovic, Vukcevic
1 Pro Recco (ITA) 12 – 36
2 Brescia (ITA) 12 – 26
3 Barceloneta (ESP) 12 – 25
4 Ferencvaros (HUN) 12 – 19
5 Eger (HUN) 12 – 15
6 Dynamo (RUS) 12 – 15
7 Steaua (ROM) 12 – 6
8 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 12 – 0
The schedule in the remaining three rounds (Pro Recco, Brescia and Barceloneta are already qualified, Steaua and Red Star have no chances to reach the F8)
Ferencvaros (19 pts) – 13th round (April 24): Steaua, 14th round (May 15): Dynamo (h).
Dynamo (15 pts) – 13th round (April 24): Eger, 14th round (May 15): Ferencvaros.
Eger (15 pts) – 13th round (April 24): Dynamo (h), 14th round (May 15): Barceloneta.
(h: the club is the host in the match)
Szolnok 10:7 Jug
(2:2, 4:2, 3:2, 1:1)
Szolnok VSK: Aleksic 3, Zalnaki 3, Batori 2, V. Rasovic, Szeghalmi.
Jug Dubrovnik: Papanastasiou 3, Fatovic 2, Jokovic, Zuvela
Spandau 3:11 Olympiacos
(2:2, 0:4, 0:3, 1:2)
Spandau 04: Stamm 2, Dedovic.
Olympiacos Piraeus: Gounas 3, Fountoulis 2, Dervisis, Buslje, Argyropoulos, Obradovic, Kakaris, Genidounias.
Sport Management 12:7 Hannover
(2:1, 3:1, 4:2, 3:3)
BPM Sport Management: Luongo 4, Damonte 2, Di Somma 2, Dolce, Alesiani, Drasovic, Mirarchi.
Waspo Hannover: Da. Brguljan 3, Real 2, A. Radovic 2.
Mladost 11:12 Jadran S
(2:5, 5:2, 3:1, 1:4)
HAVK Mladost: Cuk 2, A. Petkovic 2, Lazic 2, Radu, Milos, Anzulovic, Bajic, Biljaka.
Jadran Split: Setka 4, Kunac 2, Delic 2, Krapic, Butic, Popovic, Viskovic.
1 Jug (CRO) 12 – 29
2 Sport Management (ITA) 12 – 26
3 Olympiacos (GRE) 12 – 24
4 Szolnok (HUN) 12 – 21
5 Jadran S (CRO) 12 – 12
6 Hannover (GER) 12 – 9
7 Mladost (CRO) 12 – 8
8 Spandau 04 (GER) 12 – 7
The schedule in the remaining three rounds (Jug and Hannover are already qualified, Jadran, Mladost, Spandau have no chances to reach the F8)
Sport Management (26 pts) – 13th round (April 24): Szolnok (h), 14th round (May 15): Olympiacos (h)
Olympiacos (21 pts) –13th round (April 24): Hannover, 14th round (May 15): Sport Management.
Szolnok (18 pts) –13th round (April 24): Sport Management, 14th (May 15): round: Jadran (h)
(h: the club is the host in the match)