Courtesy: LEN Media
Three of the four play-off duels in the Champions League qualifications saw the favourite teams claiming almost decisive wins. Euro Cup winner Ferencvaros (HUN) and the Italian sides Brescia and BPM Busto are all on their way to the main round. On the contrary, Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) lost the first leg in Split (CRO) and may find it hard to make the prelims again.
Ferencvaros offered a glimpse of the future: the Hungarian side – rather an international who’s who with a handful of world-class players – can be a real threat in the main round for any team in the field. They are almost there as they thrashed Vouliagmeni (GRE) by six goals. The Greeks tried to withstand the pressure from the 2017-18 Euro Cup winner but couldn’t really succeed.
Brescia, making the F6-F8 in the last two years, had to fight hard before breaking Terrassa in the second half. A week ago the Spaniards ousted fellow club Sabadell (main round participant in last season) and held on for 3-3 till half-time in Brescia too. However, the Italians netted four connecting goals and kept that difference until the end.
The other Italian qualifier, BPM Busto opened the game in Strasbourg with a 0-4 rush and never looked back – this big 6-goal away win guarantees a spot for last season’s Euro Cup runner-up in the Champions League main round.
Jadran Carine (MNE) would love to return there as well but the Montenegrins need to dig deep on Wednesday in order to play in the prelims again. The other Jadran, Split (CRO) did a tremendous job, especially in the middle two periods when they scored nine goals. At one stage they were even four goals up in the third but the Herceg Novi side could climb back, shut out the Croats in the entire last period and halved the difference. Still, Split enjoys a two-goal advantage before the return leg and might be the third team from Croatia appearing in the prelims, besides Jug and Mladost.
Champions League, Qualification play-offs
FTC-Telekom (HUN) v Vouliagmeni (GRE) 10-4
Jadran Split (CRO) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) 11-9
Team Strasbourg (FRA) v BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) 4-10
AN Brescia (ITA) v CN Terrassa (ESP) 8-4
Second leg: 10 October