The 2018/19 Champions League was opened by an action-packed evening. Favorites in Group A beat their respective rivals with ease, but the games in Group B offered a lot of thrills. Title-holder Olympiacos returns home empty-handed as it was beaten by Sport Management. Two encounters between Croatian and German clubs were very exciting. Three games were decided by a one-goal margin and one match was ended in a draw.
The match of the day was played in Busto d’Arizio. Sport Management, the newcomer in the Champions League and runner-up in the 2018 Euro Cup, hosted title-holder Olympiacos. Two minutes before the 1st break, Olympacos led 2:1. After that, the Italians held the Greek scoreless for 17 minutes. Meanwhile, Sport Management netted six goals. The hosts were 6:2 up at halftime and they led 6:3 before the last quarter. But, the match offered a thrilling finish. Three minutes before the final buzzer, the score was 7:4. Olympiacos scored two fast goals and came to 7:6 minute from the end. Nobody found the net in the last 60 seconds and Sport Management celebrated a golden win.
Hannover, the technical host of the Final Eight, traveled to Zagreb. The Germans met returner to the Champions League Mladost, which has big ambitions this season. Hannover, boosted by its experienced Montenegrins, Croats and a Italian Giorgetti, stunned the home side in the opening minutes. Hannover had a 5:1 lead early in the second quarter.
The Croats recovered from a shock. In their first possession in the 4th quarter, they turned around a big deficit to a lead (8:7). The visitors responded with three goals in a row and earned a 10:8 lead. The German side was two steps ahead (11:9) 74 seconds before the end. The drama still wasn’t ended. Mladost secured a draw. Petkovic scored an equalizer (11:11) in the last second. Antonio Petkovic, Serb Milos Cuk and Romanian Cosmin Radu (all Mladost) were top scorers with 3 goals apiece.
An encounter between German and Croatian club was seen in Berlin, too. Jug Dubrovnik overcame some difficulties to defeat Spandau. The Croats opened the match as it was expected. They led 4:0 deep into the second quarter. However, the hosts, who upset a few favorites last season, started climbing back and managed to come very close to Jug in the 30th minute (they trailed 6:7). There were no goals in the remaining time, so the favorites from Croatia took all three points.
2017 champion Szolnok found it much harder to defeat newcomer Jadran Split than perhaps the Hungarians expected. Szolnok, the host in this game, scored three goals in a span of 2:37 minutes to earn a 3:0 lead. But, the Croats fought hard and managed to reduce the deficit. After halftime, the visitors were a goal behind the hosts for most of the time, but they were not able to equalize. Szolnok kept the minimal advantage and won 10:9.
Ferencvaros convincingly defeated Dynamo Moscow in Budapest. The Russians started very well, they led 2:1 in the middle of the 1st quarter. The hosts produced a 5:0 rush and went 6:2 up. The 2017 and 2018 Euro Cup winner had a 7:4 advantage at halftime. It secured three points in the third period. By the end of this quarter, the home side built a 7-goals advantage 11:4. Both teams scored two goals apiece in the last eight minutes and Ferencvaros opened its Champions League campaign with a 13:6 victory.
Pro Recco, 8-times European champion, downed 2013 winner Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) in Belgrade. It was a clash of two very successful coaches Dejan Savic (Red Star) and Ratko Rudic (Pro Recco). But their teams aren’t in the same weight class. Despite this fact, the Italians needed a lot of time to break the rival.The Serbs fought hard. After the 1st quarter, the rivals were tied (1:1) Recco had a 4:3 lead before the 3rd period. The second half was a power domination from the Italian team. Red Star scored just one goal by the end of the game. Pro Recco rolled over the hosts in the second half of the match and won 17:4.
Brescia water polo players didn’t allow surprise in Bucharest where they faced Steaua. The Romanians had a slim 2:1 lead in the 6th minute. Brescia’s 6:1 run by the end of the third quarter for a 7:3 lead decided everything. Brescia won 8:5.
Barceloneta posted a nice 12:7 win at home. The Spaniards hosted Eger. Everything was decided in the last quarter. After the third period, the hosts were just two goals ahead (6:4). The last eight minutes saw 9 goals! Everything was clear in the middle of the period. Larumbe scored his 3rd goal this evening in the 28th minute and Barceloneta jumped to a safe 10:5 lead.
2018/19 Champions League, Day 1
Ferencvaros 13:6 Dynamo
(2:2, 5:2, 4:0, 2:2)
Ferencvaros Telecom Budapest: Pohl 3, Varga 3, Younger 2, Mezei, Nikic, Jaksic, Jansik, S. Mitrovic.
Dynamo Moscow: Pijetlovic 2, Koptsev, Bychkov, Nagaev, Kholod.
Barceloneta 12:7 Eger
(2:1, 3:2, 1:1, 6:3)
CNA Barceloneta: Larumbe 3, Mallrach 2, Tahull 2, Famera, Granados, Vrlic, Fernandet, Bustos.
ZF Eger: Gyarfas 2, S. Rasovic, Vlachopoulos, Hosnyanszky, Santa, Murisic.
Steaua 5:8 Brescia
(2:2, 0:2, 1:3, 2:1)
Steaua Bucharest: Gheorghe, Marinic Kragic, Fulea, Prioteasa, Szabo.
Brescia: Filgioli 2, Rizzo 2, Gallo, Muslim, N. Presciutti, Vukcevic.
Crvena Zvezda 4:17 Pro Recco
(1:1, 2:3, 1:6, 0:7)
Crvena Zvezda: Tankosic, Vasic, Bitadze, Sulc.
Pro Recco: Ivovic 4, Kayes 3, Bukic 2, Aicardi 2, Filipovic 2, Mandic, Molina, Velotto, Echenique.
1. Pro Recco (Italy) 1 – 3
2. Ferencvros (Hungary) 1 – 3
3. Barceloneta (Spain) 1 – 3
4. Brescia (Italy) 1 – 3
5. Steaua (Romania) 1 – 0
6. Eger (Hungary) 1 – 0
7. Dynamo Moscow (Russia) 1 – 0
8. Crvena zvezda (Serbia) 1 – 0
Sport Management 7:6 Olympiacos
(2:2, 4:0, 0:1, 1:3)
BPM Sport Management: Damonte 2, Di Somma 2, Drasovic 2, Mirarchi.
Olympiacos: Fountoulis 2, Buslje, Mourikis, Gounas, Obradovic.
Szolnok 10:9 Jadran Split
(3:1, 3:3, 3:3, 1:2)
Szolno Dosza: Batori 4, Szatmari 3, Zalnaki, Aleksic, V. Rasovic.
Jadran Split: Popovic 3, Viskovic 2, Delic, Zovic, Setka, Kovacic.
Spandau 6:7 Jug
(0:3, 1:2, 2:1, 3:2)
Spandau 04: Stamm 3, Gielen 2, Kueppers.
Jug: Fatovic 2, Jokovic 2, Macan, Garcia, Papanastasiou.
Mladost 11:11 Hannover
(1:4, 3:2, 3:1, 4:4)
HAVK Mladost: Mi. Cuk 3, Radu 3, A. Petkovic 3, Milos , Cagalj.
Waspo Hannover: Corusic 2, Giorgetti 2, real 2, Da. Brguljan 2, A. Radovic, Jokic, Ban.
1.Szolnok (Hungary) 1 – 3
2. Sport Management (Italy) 1- 3
3. Jug (Croatia) 1 – 3
4. Hannover (Germany) 1 – 1
5. Mladost (Croatia) 1 – 1
6. Jadran Split (Croatia) 1 – 0
7. Olympiacos (Greece) 1 – 0
8. Spandau (Germany) 1 – 0