Two Leg 1 matches of LEN Euro Cup semifinals were played on Wednesday, January 24. As determined previously by a draw, Ferencvaros hosted Miskolci in Budapest, whereas Sport Management traveled to Marseille.
Miskolci falls to Ferencvaros in final period
Ferenvaros played an exciting match in front of the home crowd and prevailed over the Hungarian water polo club to celebrate an important triumph. Miskolci water polo players managed to keep parity during the first three quarters. They took over the lead on two occasions, but failed to seize the opportunity and beat the 2017 Euro Cup winner. However, the title holder was unable to achieve more than a minimum advantage until the last eight minutes of the game.
The game’s top scorer was Denes Andor Varga who scored one of his three goals at the very beginning of the match, but Oliver Hornyak soon netted an equalizer. Balasz Marton Sziranyi responded right away and brought back the lead to Ferencvaros which only lasted for around 30 seconds because Miskolci’s Alexander Brant Bowen found the net. Viktor Miklos Vadovics put the visiting team into the lead for the first time in this match and silenced the hosts for a while. Then Ferencvaros stepped up their game and Stefan Markovic found the net for another tie before the end of the first quarter (3:3). Markovic added one more just a second before halftime so the hosts went on a break with a one-goal lead (6:5). Before that, his team managed to go ahead 4:3 and 5:4, but the opponents answered back each time.
Miskolci got off to a better start in the third quarter. This period was marked by the struggle of both water polo teams to score. After 90 seconds of play, Vadovics made it a tie again. Afterwards, the game saw no goals for five minutes. When the visitors had an extra player for the third time in a row, they finally grabbed the opportunity and took over the lead. Sasa Misic was the scorer of this important goal which threatened the title holder once again. Ferencvaros proved strong and experienced, put in two more goals in the rival’s net and again had a minimum advantage before the last quarter (8:7). It was also thanks to goalie Soma Vogel who saved the penalty shot by Vadovics. The title holder dominated the final period. They eliminated all doubts about who would be the winner after scoring three consecutive goals (11:7). The four-goal difference was too much for Miskolci to surmount, in spite of their great motivation. They only managed to bring down the deficit to three on two occasions, but Ferenvaros kept the lead and will travel to Miskolc more confident.
FERENCVAROS 13:9 MISKOLCI
(3:3, 3:2, 2:2, 5:2)
Sport Management recorded away victory over Marseille
In an interesting face-off, Sport Management was pretty dominant and even had a five-goal lead on two occasions but blew it all in the final eight minutes. Ahead of the Leg 2, Marseille is falling behind by only two goals thanks to excellent first and last quarters.
The hosting team got off to a better start and scored two unanswered goals by the middle of the first period. But Sport Management water polo players woke up and responded with a pair of goals as well. Nicolas Constantin-Bicari found the net in the last minute and put his team back into the lead at the end of the quarter (3:2). Then Sport Management water polo players overpowered Marseille’s defense and scored four goals. Stefano Luongo tied the result, after which Pietro Figlioli, who ended up being the top scorer, netted all of his three goals. Sport Management found the solution for its rival’s game and went ahead 6:3. They had a two-goal lead at halftime because Romain Marion-Vernoux decreased the difference two seconds before the break (4:6).
At the beginning of the third quarter, Ante Vukicevic got Marseille very close to a tie, but four more goals of the visiting team followed. More relieved, Sport Management entered the final period with a four-goal advantage (6:10). Nobody managed to find the net for four minutes, and then the visitors gained a five-goal lead again thanks to Romain Blary (6:11) who netted the only goal for Sport Management in this quarter. Marseille was trying really hard to overcome the difference but it was too much. They added three, so Sport Management went home with a nice advantage and will host Marseille in Busto Arsizio next month.
MARSEILLE 9:11 SPORT MANAGEMENT
(3:2, 1:4, 2:4, 3:1)
The 2nd leg is scheduled for February 28. That’s when we will find out who gets to battle for the Euro Cup.