Strasbourg water polo club defended the title of champion in France, despite losing a second game of the big finals against visiting Pays d’Aix – 10:9. This was Strasbourg sixth championship trophy in the club’s history.
Strasbourg really dominated the French league during the whole season. They went to the playoffs with the best record in the regular season, conceding only one defeat.
Also, in the semifinals, they recorded two wins against Nice, so it was obvious they will enter the big finals as a clear favorite.
In the first game they proved the quality by beating Pays d’Aix 10:8, but in the rematch, the visitors really showed that they are not in the finals by an accident.
The visitors also came to Strasbourg without an injured captain Quentin Vander Meulen. But, this didn’t stop them to show some muscles to the home team and their fans. They played very well both ways, defensively and offensively, so Pays d’Aix quickly got to a desired 2:0 lead.
And it was an advantage the visiting team managed to hold until the end of the first half when it was 5:3.
When the third quarter started Pays water polo players looked even more focused and determined to win this game. So, by the halfway through this period they even got to a “gigantic” four goals lead (7:3).
At that moment Strasbourg realized that things have gone too far and that they really risk losing the championship trophy. So, slowly, minute by minute, the home team started to claw back into this game. By the end of this period, Strasbourg managed to cut the deficit into half (7:5).
And it was the last quarter drama that decided the champion of France. For most of the period, Pays managed to keep Strasbourg on the two goals distance. But in just one minute in the home team scored not one, but two times to equalize (9:9).
Pays d’Aix managed to score their 10th goal of the game just 12 seconds before the final whistle, but it was too late for another sensational turnaround.
For their consolation, this was Strasbourg’s first home defeat since December 2016.
Strasbourg 9:10 Pays d’Aix
(2:3, 1:2, 2:2, 4:3)
Strasbourg: Janssen 3, Bratic 2, Vanpeperstraete 2, Letica, Jablonski
Pays d’Aix: Vukicevic 4, Crousillat 3, Khasz 2, De Lera