Szolnok is the champion of Europe, for the first time in the history of the club! In the final game of 2017 Final Six of the Champions League, the Hungarians demolished Jug, last year’s winner. Szolnok beat Jug 10-5 in front of 10.000 spectators in the Danube Arena in Budapest.
This is the first European title for Szolnok. Furthermore, the Hungarian champion had never played in a final game of some European club’s competition until today. Szolnok is also, the second club from Hungary, which won the European title in the 21st century. Honved celebrated in 2004. That Final Four was played in Budapest too.
Final: Big turn in 2nd quarter
The first goal in the match scored Szolnok (Prlainovic). Jug netted three in a row and till the second minute of the second period, the Croats earned a 3-1 lead. Serbian water polo player Milan Aleksic scored two consecutive goals to equalise (3-3). Just after Aleksic’s second goal, Marko Macan hit the target for a new Jug’s lead (4-3).
But after that, the Hungarians produced a big turn. Andrija Prlainovic managed to equalise from a penalty shot. Till the end of the first half Marton Vamos scored twice, and before the third quarter, the Hungarian team led 6-4. Szolnok’s goalkeeper Viktor Nagy was outstanding. With several brilliant saves, he pushed his team to the crucial turn in the 2nd quarter.
In the same rhythm, Szolnok started in the 3rd quarter. Andrija Prlainovic hit his third goal, from a penalty shot for 7-4. Last hope for Jug was Pavo Markovic ‘s goal for 5-7. The Hungarian champion soon gained a new three-goal advantage. Milan Aleksic netted from an extra for 8-5. Aleksic’s countryman Zivko Gocic, the Szolnok’s captain, hit the target on man up for 9-5 (06:33 to go), and in that moment everything was almost decided. Szolnok controlled the match. Jug water polo players couldn’t find a way to send a ball behind Viktor Nagy’s back. When Gabor Kis scored for 10-5 (01:24 before the end) celebration time started. Nothing couldn’t be changed anymore.
Prlainovic’s 5th title
The huge contribution in the Szolnok’s victory had three Serbs (Aleksic 3 goals, Prlainovic 3, Gocic 1). Prlainovic clinched his fifth title in the Champions League, after one with Partizan (2011), two with Pro Recco (2012 and 2015) and one with Red Star (2013). Aleksic was the champion as a Partizan player, Gocic, the oldest of three Serbs in Szolnok, won his 1st title in the CHL.
One of the heroes of the match is Viktor Nagy, Szolnok’s goalkeeper. Everybody in Szolnok’s team played very well. Two goals scored Marton Vamos….
Andrija Prlaianovic was picked for the MVP award while team-mate Viktor Nagy became the best goalkeeper of the Final Six.
In the 2017 Champions League, Szolnok achieved 12 wins and one match ended in a draw (against Olympiacos). The only defeat in the season Szolnok suffered in the regular part of the Hungarian championship against Eger.
Jug CO – Szolnok VSK 5-10 (2-1, 2-5, 1-2, 0-2)
Referees: Tiberiu Negrean Alexandrescu (Romania) and Boris Margeta (Slovenia). Exclusions: Jug 12, Szolnok 13. Penalty shots: Szolnok 2(2)
Jug: Bijac, Macan 1, Fatovic, Loncar 1, Jokovic 1, Garcia Gadea, Markovic 2, Pavlicevic, Vrlic, Peronne Rocha, Benic, Obradovic, Popadic. Coach: Vjekoslav Kobescak.
Szolnok: Nagy (10 saves), Gocic 1, Crousillat, Vamos 2, Jansik, Mezei, Aleksic 3, Younger, Prlainovic 3, De. Varga, Kis, Fulop 1, Kardos. Coach: Sandor Cseh.
Pro Recco took the bronze
In the match between two losers of the semi-finals, Pro Recco beat Eger and won the bronze. Despite the fact that for Recco is only European title a success, the Italians found motivation to show their great power. They beat Eger 15-6.
The Italians grabbed the lead early. They were 5-1 up in the 14th minute. By the end of the second period, their advantage grew to 7-2. Recco had 12 players in the team (Dusan Mandic missed the match because of injury), but the Italian champions didn’t slow down until the end. The leader of the team, with four goals, was Aleksandar Ivovic. Legendary goalkeeper Stefano Tempesti played well too, unlike in the semifinals. Ivovic was followed by Di Fulvio (3 goals), Sukno (3), Filipovic (2)… At the end Recco achieved one of the most convincingly wins in the history of the Final Six (and Final Four earlier).
Pro Recco – ZF Eger 15-6 (3-1, 4-1, 3-2, 5-2)
Referees: Matan Schwartz (Israel), Vojin Putnikovic (Serbia). Exclusions: Pro Recco 6, Eger 8. Penalty shots: Pro Recco 1 (1), Eger 1 (1).
Pro Recco: Tempesti (8 saves), Di Fulvio 3, Figlioli 1, Molina Rios, Pijetlovic, Sukno 3, Fondelli, Ivovic 4, Filipovic 2, Aicard 1i, Bodegas 1, Volarevic. Coach: Vladimir Vujasinovic.
Eger: Mitrovic (8 saves), Angyal, Decker, Cuckovic 1, Hosnyanszky 1, Lorincz, Cuk 1, Kovacs, Erdely 1, Vapenski 2, Bedo, Harai, Csiszar (2 saves). Coach: Norbert Dabrowski
FLASH QUOTES, DAY 3
Jug -Szolnok 5-10
Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:
“It was visible that we didn’t have enough power left for this match. After beating Olympiacos and Recco in two days, our players got tired for the third day and Szolnok is as good team or even better as the previous two. We lacked what drove us in the quarters and semis. I saw on my players that they were slower both in speed and in making decisions. But I cannot say that I am dissatisfied now. We have two fantastic seasons with this team, we earned great results and I hope we can keep the guys together because we have lot more to achieve. Congratulations to Szolnok, they did a fantastic job.”
Zoltan Kosz, assistant coach, Szolnok:
“This is our fourth trophy this season but by no means the most valuable one. Playing one less match than Jug made the difference perhaps, though the first two periods were really tight so the players had to keep their nerves. In the second half we played just great, everything worked. Last year, when we finished third and three outstanding players left the club, many said that we missed our best chance to win the trophy and might never be as close as we had got then. Today it turned out that the saying was still valid: never say never!”
Pro Recco – Eger 15-6
Vladimir Vujasinovic, head coach, Recco:
“This is the real face of our team, what we showed in the whole season. We had one bad game and we finished third, though. But this is sport, we have to deal with it and we have to start preparing for next year’s Final Four where we will be the host. Yesterday it was all about pressure – just like a year ago – and we have to take care of that as it cannot happen once more to such a great players.”
Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:
“The different level in speed made the difference today. Recco played in another class, they have quality players who can decide the matches and today they didn’t leave any chance for us. Perhaps I should say I’m proud of my team as we achieved the best result in our history but now I’m only feeling disappointment.”
(Quotes source: LEN)
2017 Final Six Budapest
Day 1, 25 May, Thursday
Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) – Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) 8-11
ZF Eger (HUN) – AN Brescia (ITA) 6-4
Day 2, 26 May, Friday
For places 5-6:Olympiacos – Brescia 5-8
Pro Recco (ITA) – Jug (CRO) 9-10
Szolnok (HUN) – Eger (HUN) 5-7
Day 3, 27 May, Saturday
Bronze medal match: Pro Recco (ITA) – Eger (HUN) 15-6
Champions League Final: Jug (CRO) – Szolnok (HUN) 5-10
2016 / 2017: Szolnoki Vizilanda Sport Klub (Hungary)
2015 / 2016: VK Jug Dubrovnik (Croatia)
2014 / 2015: Pro Recco (Italy)
2013 / 2014: Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta (Spain)
2012 / 2013: VK Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)
2011 / 2012: ASD Pro Recco (Italy)
2010 / 2011: VK Partizan (Serbia)
2009 / 2010: ASD Pro Recco (Italy)
2008 / 2009: VK Primorac Kotor (Montenegro)
2007 / 2008: ASD Pro Recco (Italy)
2006 / 2007: ASD Pro Recco (Italy)
2005 / 2006: VK Jug Dubrovnik (Croatia)
2004 / 2005: CN Posillipo Naples (Italy)
2003 / 2004: Domino BHSE Budapest(Hungary)
2002 / 2003: ASD Pro Recco (Italy)
2001 / 2002: Olympiacos Pireaus CFP (Greece)
2000 / 2001: VK Jug Dubrovnik (Croatia)
1999 / 2000: VK Becej Nis Naftagas (Serbia)
1998 / 1999: Splitska Banka Split (Croatia)
1997 / 1998: CN Posillipo Naples (Italy)
1996 / 1997: CN Posillipo Naples (Italy)
1995 / 1996: HAVK Mladost (Croatia)
1994 / 1995: CN Catalunya (Spain)
1993 / 1994: Újpesti TE (Hungary)
1992 / 1993: Jadran Koteks Split (Croatia)
1991 / 1992: Jadran Koteks Split (Croatia)
1990 / 1991: HAVK Mladost (Yugoslavia)
1989 / 1990: HAVK Mladost(Yugoslavia)
1988 / 1989: Spandau Berlin (West Germany)
1987 / 1988: Sisley Pescara (Italy)
1986 / 1987: Spandau Berlin (West Germany)
1985 / 1986: Spandau Berlin (West Germany)
1984 / 1985: Vasas SC (Hungary)
1983 / 1984: ASD Pro Recco (Italy)
1982 / 1983: Spandau Berlin(West Germany)
1981 / 1982: CN Barcelona (Spain)
1980 / 1981: VK Jug Dubrovnik (Yugoslavia)
1979 / 1980: Vasas SC (Hungary)
1978 / 1979: OSC Budapest (Hungary)
1977 / 1978: Circolo Canottieri Naples (Italy)
1976 / 1977: CSK VMF Moscow (URSS)
1975 / 1976: Partizan Belgrade (Yugoslavia)
1974 / 1975: Partizan Belgrade (Yugoslavia)
1976 / 1974: MUG Moscow (URSS)
1972 / 1973: OSC Budapest(Hungary)
1971 / 1972: Mladost Zagreb (Yugoslavia)
1970 / 1971: Partizan Belgrade (Yugoslavia)
1969 / 1970: Mladost Zagreb (Yugoslavia)
1968 / 1969: Mladost Zagreb (Yugoslavia)
1967 / 1968: Mladost Zagreb (Yugoslavia)
1966 / 1967: Partizan Belgrade (Yugoslavia)
1965 / 1966: Partizan Belgrade (Yugoslavia)
1964 / 1965: Recco (Italy)
1963 / 1964: Partizan Belgrade (Yugoslavia)