Champions League

Perrone leads Jug to draw in Barcelona

On the final day of Champions League action in 2016, once more plenty of excitement was on display across Europe in some tight matches while for Olympiacos, OSC and Pro Recco the year of 2016 was finished off with a clear win.

Olympiacos kicked things off already on Tuesday by hammering Olympic Nice 15-2 at home. The French tried but had to admit that the Europe’s runner-up is too much for them at this point. Ioannis Fountoulis, Konstantinos Mourikis and Christodoulos Kolomvos led the scoring for the Greek side with 3 apiece.
Headlines on Wednesday were made by Szolnok, who edged Brescia in a close encounter in Italy 9-10, while the game of the day, Barceloneta vs. Jug ended in a 7-7 draw. For Szolnok the win over Brescia was hard-fought. No less than two times the Hungarian visitors trailed two goals, even going down 7-5 midway through the third quarter. From the game’s next 6 goals, though, 5 were scored by Szolnok who turned things around right on time. Alessandro Nora’s consolation goal for the 9-10 final score came too late with just 19 seconds on the clock. Top scorers for Szolnok were Aaron Younger, Andrija Prlainovic and Denes Varga with a pair of goals each. The Hungarians now keep pace with Olympiacos in group A.
Also finishing the year on a high was OSC who used a 0-3 opening quarter to beat Spandau in Berlin 6-10. Serbian centre-forward Slobodan Nikic, whose internationally goodbye-game will be played on Thursday, led the scoring for the Hungarian squad with 3 goals.

In group B all eyes were on Barcelona where Barceloneta met Jug in what turned out to be a back-and-forth game in which top scorer Felipe Perrone’s equaliser against his former team set the final score at 7-7. Predicting a winner of this match-up would even be a tough task during the game as both teams had their moment but also their comebacks. Barceloneta led 3-2 at half-time before the visitors from Dubrovnik, reigning champions, pulled away in the third period scoring 4 goals. Whoever thought this was the decider turned out to be wrong. The Spanish champion scored three straight goals in the final period to lead 7-6 with over 4 minutes to play. Jug got an early man-up possession but could not convert, only to see Felipe Perrone struck with just 28 seconds on the clock on another extra-man opportunity to level the score and get a point away from Barcelona in the game against this longtime employer. The Brazilian standout scored 5 goals to almost single-handedly led Jug to the tie.
Although Pro Recco marched on by beating ZF-Eger in Hungary 7-11 the other teams could not benefit from Jug and Barceloneta just getting a point as Waspo Hannover failed to beat Partizan at home: 12-12. In fact, the Germans needed a comeback scoring the game’s final 5 goals to avoid a possible upset by the young Partizan squad, who still led 7-12 early in the final period. Darko Brguljan eventually came up big for Waspo netting the equaliser with just under a minute remaining. A late man-up for the home team could not be converted as both teams settled for the draw.
Pro Recco meanwhile leads group B after a straight 7-11 win over Eger. The teams played a balanced first half after which Recco took control in the final period. That could not be answered by the home team who saw Dusko Pijetlovic becoming the game’s top scorer with 3 goals, while Guillermo Molina and Filip Filipovic added 2 apiece for Recco.
Day 4 of the preliminary stage is to be played on January 18 of next year as the group slowly but surely are shaping up.

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