Courtesy: LEN Media
While Jadran (CRO) and OSC (HUN) have virtually passed the test already during the first leg, regular F8 participant Brescia (ITA) earned only a single-goal advantage against Kazan (RUS). Terrassa (ESP) staged a 4-0 rush at the end to win by three over Oradea (ROU).
Playoffs, first leg
Jadran Split (CRO) v Team Strasbourg (FRA) 13-5, AN Brescia (ITA) v Sintez Kazan (RUS) 13-12, CN Terrassa (ESP) v DiGi Oradea (ROU) 10-7, OSC Budapest (HUN) v Vouliagmeni (GRE) 11-3
Jadran is set to return to the main round and OSC is also on its way back after having spent last year in the Euro Cup. Both sides hammered their respective opponents by eight goals.
The Croats opened the game against Strasbourg with a 5-1 rush, then after two balanced periods they copied that thrashing to double the gap and put themselves into comfort. OSC downed Vouliagmeni by halftime, taking a commanding 7-1 lead. Though the third didn’t see any goals, the Hungarians geared up once more while their defense was simply brilliant. They shut out the Greeks for 23:47 minutes as they jumped from 1-1 to 9-1 and left no room for their rivals to think of a comeback.
On the contrary, Brescia, playing in the last three editions of the finals, faces a mountain to climb as the Italians could only gain a single-goal advantage against Sintez. For a while the game looked to go as expected as Brescia led 5-2 early in the second but soon the Russians hit back and from that point it was a neck-to-neck battle. Brescia was still two up in the third but before the last period it was tied at 9-9 and Sintez even took the lead twice in the fourth. Two action goals in 28 seconds brought the hosts back to life but they will have some tough times in Kazan next Wednesday.
Terrassa’s chances look definitely better thanks to the Spaniards’ late surge. For most of the time Oradea controlled the game, led 3-5 in the third and was still in front at 6-7 with 3:29 to go. Then came a Spanish double in 47 seconds and after the Romanians missed a crucial man-up, the hosts could add two more inside the last minute to turn the match with a 4-0 run at the end.
The second leg is due on Wednesday, winners of the duels will advance to the main round, the losing teams will continue in the Euro Cup quarter-finals.
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