Barceloneta had gone 5/5 before this round but today were simply blown away by Recco as the title-holders turned the highlighted match into a one-sided contest. The Italian did a tremendous job in defence, limited Barceloneta to five goals while killing 12 man-downs out of 15. Olympiacos beat fellow Greek side Vouliagmeni with ease, so the three favourites top the ranks with equal points. Jadran and Radnicki had to settle for a dramatic draw after the Croats could score twice in the last 58 seconds – and that expanded the gap to eight points between the big boys and their chasers.
Day 6, Group A
Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Pro Recco (ITA) 5-11, Jadran Split (CRO) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) 10-10, Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Vouliagmeni (GRE) 14-6, Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) 11-14
Standings: 1. Recco 15, 2. Olympiacos 15, 3. Barceloneta 15, 4. Radnicki 8, 5. Vouliagmeni 7, 6. Jadran 7, 7. Hannover 3, 8. Dinamo 0
Though they lost their opening game back in November, by now Recco seemed to finish the rebuilding process of their well-known shape which doesn’t let much chance to any rival across the continent. As a power demonstration, they simply blew away Barceloneta, the only team with a perfect record in the first five rounds – and they did that in Barcelona.
A missed penalty at the beginning was Recco’s only weaker moment in the game, as it turned out. Their defence worked extremely well – keeping Barceloneta on five goals was a monumental effort from the title-holders. They limited their rivals to 28 shots, only 15 were on target and Marco del Lungo stopped 10 of those. The Spaniards weren’t as sharp as in the previous rounds, however, this was crediting rather the Italian defence which killed 12 man-downs, out of 15.
With a brick wall behind their back, the Recco offence delivered the destroying blows by halftime already – late in the second they led 2-7 –, and held on for 5-9 before the last break, thanks to three brilliant action shots by 2022 F8 MVP Giacomo Cannella and a fantastic lob from leftie Gonzalo Echenique. To highlight the difference between the teams, Recco shut out the Spaniards in the entire fourth quarter to claim a brilliant win – and to make it 8-0 in their head-to-head over the last six years.
Now the top three sides are on level in points as Olympiacos made no mistake and downed fellow Greeks Vouliagmeni with ease. The only good news for the losers came from Split where Jadran and Radnicki had to settle for a tie. The Croats were trailing all the way, were 8-10 down with 83 seconds to go, still managed to save at least one point as Ivan Zovic hit one with 0:06 on the clock from a 7 on 6 at the end.
After five straight defeats, it was Hannover which cashed the first three points of the season in the battle of the winless teams – a 0-3 opening in Tbilisi set the tone and the Germans managed to maintain that gap till the end.
Fixtures for Wednesday, Group B
19.30 Genesys-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v AN Brescia (ITA)
19.30 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v CN Marseille (FRA)
20.45 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Novi Beograd (SRB)
Standings: 1. Novi Beograd 13, 2. Brescia 12, 3. Ferencvaros 9, 4. Jug 7, 5. OSC 5, 6. Spandau 5, 7. Marseille 4, 8. Sabadell 1
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