LEN Trophy Final Four Tournament was held in Budapest on April 14-15, 2017. UVSE Budapest won the Trophy after beating Padova in the final match on Easter Saturday. Dunaujvaros water polo players defeated Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk to take the bronze medal.
UVSE Budapest squad ended up playing for the LEN Trophy after their loss in the quarter-finals to Mataro, the team who was the LEN Trophy holder and in March this year advanced to the F4 for the first time ever. It was decided by a draw that in the semi-finals UVSE will face their local rival Dunaujvaros, the team they’ve defeated in three out of four matches this season. Therefore, UVSE came to the Budapest as a favorite.
As a clear favorite, UVSE dominantly opened the semi-final match against Dunaujvaros scoring three consecutive goals. They had a two-goal advantage after the first period (3-1), but their rival answered appropriately and cut the margin to just one goal by halftime (4-3). Dunaujvaros water polo players put a lot of efforts and managed to tie the result during the third period (5-5). They even took the lead (5-6) for the first time at the beginning of the last quarter and made it clear to UVSE that they wouldn’t give up easily. However, three goals from UVSE water polo players followed – Kuna, Szucs and Czigany scored giving their team a reason to celebrate.
The other semi-final match was a clash of two water polo teams that represent two most victorious countries. Padova from Italy, whose clubs won 9 titles and were runner-ups 3 times, recorded a victory over Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk from Russia whose squads have won 3 titles and were runner-ups 6 times.
Padova water polo team netted five goals in the first half leaving their rival scoreless and leaving no doubt about who will be the winner of this match. Ugra water polo players did not surrender and scored seven goals in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit. Even though the Ugra’s Ekaterina Lisunova, the game’s top scorer, put in four goals, Padova won 9-7 and advanced to the gold medal match.
The bronze medal match saw Dunaujvaros convincingly won over Ugra, 17-10, on Saturday. With their defense on top, the Hungarian squad achieved a six-goal advantage in the first half. They netted three goals in a row at the beginning of the match, but Ugra responded and brought the deficit down to one (3-2). However, Dunaujvaros water polo team put their foot on the gas and netted six goals in the second quarter. In the first half, brilliant Dorottya Szilagyi scored four of her six goals. Dunaujvaros continued to increase their lead and had an eight-goal advantage on several occasions. Ugra water polo players had no chance against the team from Hungary which recorded the most convincing victory at the LEN Trophy tournament.
UVSE Budapest won the gold medal after the triumph over Padova water polo team, 7-6, in a close contest game. Queirolo netted an opener for Padova in the first minute of the match, but Csabai tied the result two minutes later. Barzon gave the Italian team another lead which UVSE again annulled with Van der Sloot’s goal. Takacs and Van der Sloot again scored by the end of the first period in which UVSE overpowered Padova and achieved a two-goal advantage. They managed to keep it during the second quarter and had 5-3 at halftime. Even though Padova water polo players kept fighting, they were still down by two at the end of the third period (7-5). The struggle continued in the last quarter which almost ended without goals. With around two minutes left on the clock, Padova’s Sara Dario scored a 5m goal to bring her team closer to a tie. Unfortunately, it was unachievable due to UVSE’s great defense. Although scoreless in the last eight minutes, UVSE water polo players triumphed and raised the LEN Trophy for the first time in history.
LEN Trophy Final Four – Budapest (HUN)
Semi-finals (April 14)
Plebiscito Padova (ITA) vs. Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS) 9-7 (2-0, 3-0, 2-4, 2-3)
Padova scorers: Barzon (1), Gottardo (1), Queirolo (1), Millo (2), Dario (1), Galardi (2), Robinson (1)
Ugra scorers: Nizheboichenko (1), Garipova (1), Alogbo (1), Lisunova (4)
UVSE Budapest (HUN) vs. Dunaujvaros (HUN) 8-6 (3-1, 1-2, 1-2, 3-1)
UVSE scorers: Czigany (1), Szucs (2), Keszthelyi (2), Toth (1), Csabai (1), Kuna (1)
Dunaujvaros scorers: Szilagyi (2), Menczinger (1), Horvath (1), Valyi (1), Garda (1)
Bronze Medal Match (April 15)
Dunaujvaros (HUN) vs. Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS) 17-10 (3-2, 6-1, 4-3, 4-4)
Dunaujvaros scorers: Szilagyi (6), Menczinger (2), Gurisatti (3), Horvath (3), Somhegyi (1), Mchunu (2)
Ugra scorers: Perfileva (1), Sutyagina (1), Timofeeva (4), Kovina (1), Alogbo (2), Lisunova (1)
Gold Medal Match (April 15)
UVSE Budapest (HUN) vs. Plebiscito Padova (ITA) 7-6 (4-2, 1-1, 2-2, 0-1)
1 – UVSE Budapest (HUN)
2 – Plebiscito Padova (ITA)
3 – Dunaujvaros (HUN)
4 – Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk (RUS)