Champions League

Thriller matches and surprises in Champions League Qualification Round 2

Ognjen Stojanovic (Red Star) Photo Waterpoloserbia.org

Qualification Round 2 for the 2017/18 Champions League offered a lot of excitement, several surprises and thriller matches. Only one team managed to gain all 9 points. Their spots in the third round secured two Russian clubs Spartak Volgograd and Sintez Kazan, then Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro), Marseille (France), Brescia (Italy), OSC (Hungary), Sabadell (Spain) and Red Star (Serbia).

Group E (Zagreb)

Spartak (Russia) and Jadran (Montenegro) advanced to the third round from group in Zagreb, while host Mladost and ASC Duisburg ended their European cruises for this season.Spartak was the first one that secured its place in the third round. The Russians beat Jadran on Day 1 (7:5) then won a point in the clash with Mladost (6:6). At the end, they beat ASC Duisburg with ease (14:5).
The last match of the group, between rivals from the Regional League Mladost and Jadran determined who would join Spartak. Jadran controlled the match most of the time and secured the win in the last four minutes.  Jadran netted three goals in a span of 3:11 minutes, and jumped from a 9:7 to a 12:7 lead. That was the final score. Jadran took the second place in the group, behind Spartak.

Group F (Budapest)

In Group E in Budapest, the outcome is pretty unexpected. OSC was a strong favourite of the tournament played in its pool. The hosts started very well. They beat Canottieri Naples (11:7) and ANC Glyfada (19:7) in the first two rounds. The most interesting match in the first round was the encounter between Marseille and Canottieri (11:11).
On the last day, Marseille shocked OSC and beat the Hungarians 8:7. The French led 4:0 after six and a half minutes in the first quarter and 6:3 at half-time. OSC, the 5th-placed team in the 2016/17 Champions League, started climbing back in the second half, but they reduced the gap to one when it was too late, 10 second by the end for the final score 8:7. Marseille captured the first place, while OSC went through as the second-seeded team in the group.

Group G (Sabadell)

Brescia is the only of 16 teams in the Qualification round 2 that won all nine points. The Italians won the first place in Group in Sabadell. Brescia and host Sabadell secured their sports in the third qualification round after Day 2. Both teams had had 6 points each before their clash on Day 3, which determined the 1st and the 2nd place in the group. Brescia edged out Sabadell in the battle for the first place – 13:12, thanks to Alberto Nora’s winner 01:08 before the end.

Group H (Oradea)

Red Star (Crvena Zvezda) made a huge surprise in Group H  in Oradea. The young team from Belgrade, led by returnee on the bench Dejan Savic, won the first place ahead of favourites Sintez and Oradea.

On Day 1, Oradea, as expected, defeated Red Star, in the first round 6:3, while Sintez beat NC Vouliagmeni (6:5). On Day 2, Red Star beat Sintez Kazan 10:8. The Russians led 6:5, three minutes before the end of the third period. After that, Red Star netted four unanswered goals for a 10:6 lead. Sintez scored twice in the last four minutes, but it wasn’t enough for a new turn. After that match, Vouliagmeni beat Oradea (8:5) and it was an introduction to a thriller finish of the tournament. Before Day 3, all teams had had 3 points each.

Red Star was the first one which secured a spot in the third qualification round. The team from Belgrade beat Vouliagmeni in the match with plenty twists and turns – 6:5. Vouliagmeni led 4:3 in the third period, but the Serbs scored three goals in a row and secured at least the second place at that moment. Oradea and Sintez met in the last match of the group. Both teams were in a live-or-die situation. The game saw a great battle, the lead was constantly changing. The match-decider came 80 seconds before the last buzzer when Bugaychuk scored for 9:8. Spartak secured the second place, Oradea fell on the last.

In the last phase, the group winners will be paired against the runners-up. The four winners of the home-and-away contests will qualify for the Preliminary Stage of the Champions League. The losers will play in the quarter-finals of the Euro Cup.

Scores and final rankings

Group E (Zagreb)

Round 1: Spartak Volgograd – Jadran Carine Herceg Novi 7:5, HAVK Mladost Zagreb – ASC Duisburg 21:4.

Round 2: HAVK Mladost Zagreb – Spartak Volgograd 6:6, Jadran Carine Herceg Novi – ASC Duisburg 19:5.

Round 3: Spartak Volgograd – ASC Duisburg 14:5, HAVK Mladost – Jadran Carine Herceg Novi 7:12.

  1. Spartak Volgograd (Russia)  3 – 7
  2. Jadran (Montenegro) 3 – 6
  3. HAVK Mladost (Croatia) 3 – 4
  4. ASC Duisburg (Germany) 3 – 0

Group F (Budapest)

Round 1: Canottieri Naples – CN Marseille 11:11, OSC Budapest – ANC Glyfada 19:7.

Round 2: CN Marseille – ANC Glyfada 13:10, Canottieri Naples – OSC Budapest 7:11

Round 3: Canotteri Naples – ANC Glyfada 11:8, CN Marseille – OSC Budapest 8:7

  1. CN Marseille (France) 3 – 7
  2. OSC Budapest (Hungary)  3 – 6
  3. Canottteri (Italy) 3 – 4
  4. ANC Glyfada 3 – 0

Group G (Sabadell)

Round 1: AN Brescia – UZSC Utrecht 23:2, CN Sabadel – Mornar Split 8:3.

Round 2: CN Sabadell – UZSC Utrecht 13:7, Mornar Split – AN Brescia 8:10.

Round 3: Mornar Split – UZSC Utrecht 11:7, AN Brescia – CN Sabadell 13:12.

  1. AN Brescia (Italy) 3 – 9
  2. CN Sabadell 3 – 6
  3. Mornar Split 3 -3
  4. UZSC Utrecht 3 – 0

Group H (Oradea)

Round 1: NC Vouliagmeni – Sintez Kazan 7:10, CSM Digi Oradea – Crvena Zvezda 6:3

Round 2: Sintez Kazan – Crvena Zvezda Beograd 8:10, CSM Digi Oradea – NC Vouliagmeni 5:8

Round 3: Crvena Zvezda Belgrade – NC Vouliagmeni 6:5, CSM Digi Oradea – Sintez Kazan 8:9.

  1. Crvena Zvezda (Serbia) 3-6
  2. Sintez Kazan (Russia) 3 -6
  3. NC Vouliagmeni (Greece) 3-3
  4. CSM Digi Oradea (Romania) 3-3

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