All four 1st leg matches of the LEN Euro Cup quarterfinals were played on November 8, 2017.
The visiting Ferencvaros and Sport Management both excelled and recorded decisive victories over Sintez Kazan and Crvena Zvezda respectively. Miskolci shined at home beating Spartak Volgograd, while CN Marseille came away with a narrow win in Split against Jadran.
LEN Euro Cup semi-finalists will be determined after 2nd leg which is scheduled for December 9, 2017.
DOMINANCE OF FERENCVAROS AND SPORT MANAGEMENT
Sintez from Kazan hosted the 1st leg match against FTC Budapest water polo team and suffered a tough loss. Ferencvaros justified the role of a favorite and easily came away with a 16:8 win.
Nikola Jaksic netted the opener, after which Denes Varga and Slobodan Nikic raised the advantage of Ferencvaros to three leaving the hosts scoreless in the first quarter (0:3). The team from Budapest went ahead 5:0 in the second period thanks to brilliant Krisztian Manhercz and Daniel Varga. It was not until then that Konstantin Stepanyk scored the first goal for the hosting squad. The domination of Ferencvaros was quite obvious as Sintez was falling behind by five at halftime (1:6).
In the third quarter, Ferencvaros added six goals and the difference increased to eight before the final period (4:12). Sintez water polo players were not able to bring down the deficit which remained the same until the end of the match.
The game’s top scorer was Denes Andor Varga with four goals. Marton Gyorgy and Jaksic each scored three goals for Ferencvaros, while hosting team’s Merdi Mahzouki also recorded a hat trick.
SINTEZ KAZAN 8:16 FTC BUDAPEST
(0:3, 1:3, 3:6, 4:4)
Sport Management triumphed in Belgrade, 10:5, proving too strong for Crvena Zvezda. The hosting water polo players kept parity until the final period. However, they eventually failed to accomplish at least a narrow result at the end of the face-off in which they were underdogs.
Both teams were struggling at first and the only scorer in the first quarter was Stefano Luongo who ended up as the top scorer with three goals. The next two quarters saw an excellent performance by Dejan Savic’s team so it was an equal duel until the last eight minutes of the game. SM went ahead 2:0 thanks to Antonio Petkovic’s goal, after which Nebojsa Toholj cut the difference to one. The team from Verona achieved a two-goal lead on two more occasions before the halftime. But Veljko Tankosic and Aleksandar Njegovan made sure their team goes on a break with an only one-goal deficit (3:4).
Hosting water polo team had their hopes high and kept their game on point in the third quarter as well. Luongo netted Sport Management’s fifth goal before Crvena Zvezda managed to equalize. Djordje Tanaskovic and Ognjen Stojanovic each scored a goal leading to the first tie during the game. The team from Belgrade controlled the game only for two minutes, and then Pietro Figlioli scored with one second left on the clock (5:6).
In the fourth period, Crvena Zvezda had several opportunities for scoring but failed to seize any of them. SM water polo players’ experience prevailed and they netted four unanswered goals. In the end, they accomplished a convincing victory and have already got one foot in the semifinal.
CRVENA ZVEZDA 5:10 SM VERONA
(0:1, 3:3, 2:2, 0:4)
MARSEILLE HOLD OFF JADRAN SPLIT
Split, Croatia saw the most suspenseful battle of LEN Euro Cup quarterfinals.
CN Marseille got off to a better start and went ahead 2:0 in four minutes. Jadran water polo players responded appropriately and finished the first quarter with a minimum deficit (2:3). Crucial was the second period when Marseille shined and achieved a vital lead. Led by Nicolas Constantin-Bicari and Ante Vukicevic, who each finished the game with a hat trick, squad from France had a four-goal advantage at halftime (3:7).
Jadran water polo players refused to surrender and stroke back in the second half. Firs, they brought down the difference to one by leaving their rival scoreless in the third quarter (6:7). This comeback was an announcement of a thrilling final period. Marseille kept its defense on point and prevented the hosts from equalizing or taking over the lead. Jadran suffered a narrow loss (10:11) in the end. These teams can both be optimistic ahead of their upcoming clash in Marseille.
JADRAN SPLIT 10:11 CN MARSEILLE
(2:3, 1:4, 3:0, 4:4)
MISKOLCI OVERPOWER SPARTAK
Another quarterfinal encounter which saw an impressive win was played in Hungarian town Miskolci where the hosting water polo team beat Spartak Volgograd.
Miskolci VLC controlled the match from the very beginning. They had a 4:0 lead after eight minutes, and allowed their opponent to score only a pair before the break when Miskolci had a five-goal lead (2:7). Alexander Brant Bowen stood out netting three goals in the first half. He added two more in the second half, and Pavel Khalturin then also scored five for Spartak Volgograd.
The visiting squad woke up after halftime and even won the second half by one. However, this reaction came too late, and the five-goal deficit was insurmountable for them. Thanks to Miskolci’s defense, Spartak lowered the difference to four and was unable to do anything more than that. They lost (8:12) and will have a tough assignment in one month at home.
MISKOLCI VLC 12:8 SPARTAK VOLGOGRAD
(4:0, 3:2, 2:3, 3:3)