Courtesy: LEN Media
OSC sent a strong signal that the team was ready to conquer the highest heights as they beat Recco in Verona to end the Italian giant’s unbeaten run in its home after 36 matches. This was the second three-goal away win for the Hungarian side after they had beaten title-holder Ferencvaros in the previous round. The other Magyar team bounced back in Zagreb by downing Mladost, while the game of Terrassa and Marseille ended in a tie, though both would have loved to bag three points to keep their hopes alive.
Group B (Friday)
Pro Recco (ITA) v A-Híd OSC Budapest (HUN) 9-12, HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 6-9, CN Terrassa (ESP) v CN Marseille (FRA) 11-11, Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) 18-14
Standings: 1. Recco 20, 2. FTC 20, 3. OS9 16, 4. Mladost 16, 5. Terrassa 13, 6. Marseille 10, 7. Hannover 6, 8. Tbilisi 0
Cashing six points in back-to-back rounds against Ferencvaros and Recco from two away games is something any team would be proud of. Few expected this from OSC but the Budapest based side – once ruler of Europe in the 70s – recovered its home losses against Marseille and Recco with these brilliant victories.
The first period already showed that this would not be the same hammering Recco usually stages at home. The Italians could score their first goal 22 seconds before the end of the first period and even though they jumped to a 3-1 lead early in the second, OSC replied with three connecting goals and held on for 5-5 till halftime.
Though Filip Filipovic’s trademark blast opened the third but another stunning triple came from the visitors, young leftie Gergely Burian netted a great action goal and Andrija Prlainovic was also on target twice to give OSC a 6-8 advantage. Mateo Aicardi’s ‘dunking’ in a man-up halved the distance but Krisztian Manhercz also found the back of the net so OSC led 7-9 before the last break.
A lucky bounce helped Recco in the first possession, and after an exchange of extraman goals it stood 9-10 with 5:00 minutes remaining. No one thought that this had been the hosts’ last goal – but it turned out to be. Since Prlainovic netted his fourth and soon Nemanja Ubovic lobbed a great goal for 9-12, the home players became too tense and lacked precision. They had five more shots but the goalie didn’t even have to make a save as all were complete misses.
On Day 5 Ferencvaros halted Recco’s home winning streak after 33 matches, now the Italians’ unbeaten run ended after 36 occasions – and Recco is just facing another shaky test in the home of Ferencvaros in 11 days.
That game might as well decide the top spot in this group on 3 March since Ferencvaros bounced back from its loss to OSC and beat Mladost to go on level in points with Recco. The Magyars’ defence worked really well as they limited the home side to a single goal in the first half while taking a 1-4 lead.
Though the Croats came closer at 3-4 but Ferencvaros kept its calm and reset the three-goal gap by the end of the third period (4-7).
A mix of crucial happenings came soon in the fourth period: what seemed to be a great moment for Mladost with 5:30 to go – a fine counter-attack goal by Luka Bukic for 5-7 – was quickly changed to decisive blow. In fact, it was a real blow in midfield as Matias Biljaka punched Szilard Jansik amidst some off-the-ball wrestling and the ensuing 4-min expulsion of the Croat put an end to the contest. Though the Hungarians could score only twice in the constant 6 on 5 but Mladost had no chance to reduce its deficit.
The only good news for the Zagreb boys came from Terrassa where the Spaniards, the most dangerous among the chasers, couldn’t keep all three points at home against Marseille. It was a fantastic thriller where the French rushed to a 0-4 lead in the first period only to see the hosts coming back by netting six goals in the second so it stood 6-6 at halftime. Terrassa even took the lead twice in the third but the French hit back and went in front once again before the last break.
They doubled their lead for 8-10 but the Spaniards managed to equalise once more with 1:37 to go. Bogdan Durdic netted an action goal for Marseille with 1:15 remaining but Alberto Barroso sent the ball home from a man-up 37 seconds from time. After one steal apiece Marseille had 6 seconds after a time-out, earned a man-up but their last shot was denied so the teams had to settle for a draw – a bit better news for Terrassa but they are still trailing by three points to Mladost and Marseille came further three adrift.
The bottom ranked teams produced a 32-goal epic in Hannover, the Germans had a sluggish start but soon they began to dominate over Dinamo and their win was never in danger in the second half.
Group A (Saturday)
19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Jadran Split (CRO)
19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Sintez Kazan (RUS)
20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 19, 2. Olympiacos 19, 2. Jug 18, 4. Szolnok 12, 5. Jadran Carine 10, 5. Spandau 8, 7. Jadran Split 4, 8. Sintez 3
Euro Cup, semi-finals, 1st leg
18.00 DiGi Oradea (ROU) v CC Ortigia (ITA)
19.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v ZF-Eger (HUN)