The all-Hungarian battle in the water polo Champions League prelims opening round produced the most thrilling encounter of the night as the last seven seconds saw two goals. Favourites won with ease in the other pools, in fact, the top five placed sides of last season’s Final Six all opened their respective campaigns with a win.
In Group A the two Hungarian teams played the match of the day. OSC Budapest took a flying start but soon they found themselves 2-3 down against Szolnok despite leading 2-0 after two minutes. From that point, last year’s bronze medallists were always ahead, led 6-8 deep into the fourth period but the hosts managed to equalise with 0:07 to go. However, Szolnok had the last laugh, Marton Vamos, hero of the night, blasted his fourth from a free throw with one second remaining on the clock, winning the match for the visitors (8-9).
Olympiacos (GRE), runner-up in last May, needed some time to break Brescia (ITA) in a low-scoring, highly tactical game. The Greeks led 5-4 before the last eight minutes but the closing quarter belonged to them as they netted three unanswered goals for an 8-4 win.
For the first time in years Spandau 04 (GER) managed to achieve an away win in the main round, they downed newcomer Olympic Nice (FRA). It was an even contest, with four minutes to go it stood 6-6 but the Germans managed to score twice in the finish and won 6-8.
Group B offered fewer thrills as home teams enjoyed an easy cruise in the respective matches. Title-holder Jug (CRO) did a clean job against Eger (HUN). The Hungarians could keep up until the middle of the second period, but after 4-4 the Croatian champion netted three connective goals and there was no way back for Eger (10-6).
2015 winner, Recco (ITA) demolished newcomer Hannover (GER) in Genova. In just 3:18 minutes the hosts rushed to a 5-0 lead with as many action goals and from that point only the margin of their win was in question. At the end it was expanded to 10 (18-8), Serbian Olympic gold medallist Dusko Pijetlovic scored a day-high 6 goals.
Barceloneta (ESP) didn’t leave the decision too late either, by the end of the first period they were 5-1 up against Partizan (SRB), by half-time the Spaniards led 8-2. Marc Minguell netted 4 goals as his team achieved a fine 12-5 win while only two players were able to score among the young Serbs.
Champions League, Day 1
Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v AN Brescia (ITA) 8-4
A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Szolnoki Dozsa Kozgep (HUN) 8-9
Olympic Nice (FRA) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 6-8
Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v ZF Eger (HUN) 10-6
Pro Recco (ITA) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) 18-8
CN Barceloneta (ESP) v Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) 12-5
Quarter-finals, 1st leg
BVSC-Zuglo (HUN) v Verona (ITA) 13-14
DiGi Oradea (ROU) v Canottieri Napoli (ITA) 11-7
Primorje Rijeka (CRO) v Ferencvaros Budapest (HUN) 9-13
Posillipo Napoli (ITA) v Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) 6-9
Source: LEN Press Release.