Teams are reaching the penultimate hurdle during their quest to European glory. The men’s Euro Cup semi-finals offer exciting duels – one is between two sides having lost in the final round of the Champions League qualifications, Panionios and Vasas, the other features two Italians, Trieste and Savona.
Panionios and Vasas both reached the third round of the CL qualifiers but couldn’t make a splash there. The Greeks already had some painful experience against a Hungarian side in Budapest as they were soundly beaten by OSC in the first leg (7-17), while Vasas couldn’t match Brescia’s power. Now these two face off – they both ousted Serbian rivals in the eight-finals (Partizan and Zvezda respectively), Vasas brought down another one, Sabac, in the quarters while the Greeks almost blew their five-goal advantage in Oradea (ROU) and had to survive a penalty-shootout.
The all-Italian battle of Trieste (the only team in the semis which entered the Euro Cup) and Savona (dropped from the second qualification round in the Champions League) should also bring fans to their feet. Both eliminated a French team with ease respectively, Trieste in the eight-finals (Noisy-le-sec), Savona in the quarters (Tourcoing) – and both went through some extremely tense moments. Savona already passed an in-house test against Ortigia, but only by a fingernail (won by five, then lost by four), and Trieste edged out Hungary’s Szolnok with two singe-goal victories. They already met twice in the Italian championships, Savona won both matches, 10-12 in Trieste and 13-11 at home.
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Semi-finals, 1st leg
20.00 (19.00CET) Panionios GSS (GRE) v A-Hid-VasasPlaket (HUN)
20.00 Trieste Pallanuoto (ITA) v RN Savona (ITA)