Champions League

Szolnok ties Olympiacos late, Pro Recco downs title holder

Jug - Pro Recco
Photo: VK Jug.

A much anticipated day 2 of the Champions League preliminary stage did not disappoint this weekend. The rematches of last year’s Final Six semifinals saw Szolnok tying Olympiacos 5-5 late in the game thanks to Andrija Prlainovic who struck on extra for the home side with just 40 seconds remaining. The big clash in group B ended with the visitors from Recco as the winners. Title holder Jug suffered from a bad second and third period in which Pro Recco took command and could even allow the home team to go on a 3-0 run in the final term to still win 8-11. The Serbian left-hand tandem on the right side for Recco, consisting of Filip Filipovic and Dusan Mandic, combined for 5 goals in the win. Recco now leads group B with two wins, while Olympiacos and Szolnok share the honours in group A after two rounds of play in this 10-round group stage.

Elsewhere on Saturday, some striking final scores were noted. First of all in Hannover where Waspo held Barceloneta to a 9-9 draw, confirming their contender ship for the Final Six ambitions this season, in group B. In an  ‘open’ contest Marc Minguell looked to have shot the visitors from Barcelona to an 8-9 victory, with 1.37 remaining on the game clock. Tying for the home team, however, half a minute later was Pere Estrany on an extra-man possession which meant the tie that would hold on until the end despite Barceloneta having another man-up opportunity with 40 seconds to play. Strahinja Rasovic led Barceloneta in scoring with 3. For the home team the experienced players Darko Brguljan, Aleksandar Radovic, lefty Luka Sekulic and game-saver Pere Estrany scored a pair of goals each.

Also in group B it was ZF-Eger who came away with a close 8-9 win in Belgrade surviving the ever-dangerous match-up with a young Partizan side at their home pool of Banjica. Top scorer for the home team, promising Ognjen Stojanovic netted his 4th shot of the game to level the teams at 8-8 with 1.32 remaining, only to see his fellow countryman, Milos Cuk, scoring the game winner on an extra-man possession with just under a minute remaining. Partizan showed their strength at home once more, for Eger it meant a scare in Belgrade, but also a warning for the remaining group stage matches, considering their Final Six ambition.

In group A the other results were less close. OSC welcomed their first victory in Nice where the home team played along nicely in the first half but lost the game in the second, where OSC walked away to a clear 7-13 triumph. Top scorer for the visitors was Bence Batori with 4 hits. Sebastien Monneret produced the same offence for the French side. Spandau meanwhile travelled to Brescia with high hopes but saw these crushed in a 9-6 loss in Northern Italy. The Germans stayed close for three quarters but had to let go in the final period where first Alessandro Nora, and after a Spandau answer by Remi Saudadier, Vjekoslav Paskovic, delivered the knock-out blow to the Spandau team. Both Nora and Paskovic led the scoring for the home side with 2 goals apiece.

Day 3 of the prelims continues on Wednesday, December 21.

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