As usual, the last competition day at the LEN Champions League Final Eight started with the matches for 5th and 7th place.
Barceloneta grabbed 5th place, beating Hannover (12:10). Marseille defeated Jug in the 5th-place game.
Hannover – Barceloneta 10:12 (2:0, 2:3, 2:6, 4:3)
Waspo98 Hannover: Schenkel, Corusic, Macan 2, Real, Da. Brguljan 1, Schipper, Muslim 3, Nagaev 4, Kubisch, M.Brguljan, Schuetze, Winkelhorst, Goetz. Head coach: Seehafer.
Barceloneta: Lopez, Famera 2, Granados, Munnariz 2, De Toro, Larumbe 2, Pavillard 1, Fernandez, Asensi 1, Perrone, Biel , Bustos 4, Aguirre. Head coach: Fatovic.
Extra player shots: Hannover 3/8, Barceloneta 3/9. Penalty shots: Hannover 2/3.
Hannover started very well. The Germans kept Barceloneta goalless in the first quarter. The Spaniards got on the scoreboard in the 9th minute. After that, they added two goals to earn a 3:2 advantage. However, Hannover had a 4:3 lead at halftime, as Muslim and Macan netted action goals in the last 47 seconds of the first half.
Hannover kept up with Barceoneta until the middle of the third quarter and 5:5. Then, the Spaniards netted three quick goals for an 8:5 advantage. Hannover was coming back from time to time, but Barceloneta controlled the game until the end.
Barceloneta’s attack was led by Alessandro Bustos Sanchez. Legendary goalkeeper Dani Lopez Pineido did a good job in Barceloneta’s come back, he posted some excellent saves in crucial moments. With this match, he said goodbye to water polo. A few months ago, Lopez announced that he would retire.
Besides Lopez, a few players will leave Barceloneta. It’s expected that Novi Beograd will sign a contract with Alvaro Granados in the following few days.
Marseille – Jug 15:13 (4:3, 2:4, 4:3, 5:3)
Marseille: Lazovic, Cuckovic, Crousillat 1, Spaic 1, Prlainovic 2, Vernoux 2, Vanpeperstraete, Marion Vernoux 2, Kovacevic 2, Vukicevic 4, Bodegas 1, Hovhannysian. Head coach; Scepanovic.
Jug: Popadic, Vukojevic, Fatovic, Burdjelez, Jokovic, Papanastasiou 4,Tomasovic , Argyropoulos 1, Kryic, Kakaris 5, Stahor, Zvono1, Jurisic . Head coach: Kobescak.
Extra player shots: Marseille 3/5, Jug 6/10. Penalty shots: Jug 2/2
Marseille recorded its first-ever win at the Final Eight tournaments and made a step further compared to its debut at the F8. A year ago, the French finished 8th.
Both teams played relatively relaxed. There were not many personal fouls, but there were a lot of goals and a few twists and turns. In the first quarter, Marseille built a 3-goal lead (4:1). However, Jug responded with 5:0 series and went to 6:4 (14th minute). Marseille halved the deficit before the middle break (6:7). The second half was an even contest with a new series of turns, until 12:12. Then, Marseille netted three goals in a minute and a half to jump to 15:12 (with 02:05 left on the clock) and secured the win.
After the game, Marseille’s ace Andrija Prlainovic said:
“It’s always nice to finish a season with a win. We beat one of the most successful clubs in water polo history for the second time this season. We made a step further at the F8 tournaments and proved that we had made progress since the last season. The team gained a new dose of needed experience. I hope we can get among the top four next season.”
Prlainovic has played at the Champions League F4/F6/F8 tournaments 11 times and has won five titles. He didn’t use to play matches for the classification 5th-8th place. However, he did his best in all games in Belgrade.
“The matches for the 5th-8th place classifications have no importance. Playing for 5th place has no sense in the competitions like this. Especially because of the players who will join their national teams in the following days. They risk to get injured in games that aren’t necessary.”
Maro Jokovic, Jug’s leftie, said:
“It’s most important that the tournament and the season is over. Considering the fact that this is the end of a tiring season and that the match wasn’t crucial, our play against Marseille was quite solid. Our younger players were given more chances to prove themselves. We lost, but this defeat changed nothing. We can be satisfied with the season. We finished the last season without a trophy. This year we won the Croatian League again, and we were close to the Champions League semifinals. So, it was a good season.”
QF1: Brescia – Waspo98 Hannover 12:5
QF2: Pro Recco – Barceloneta 11:10
QF4: Marseille – Novi Beograd 10:16
QF3: Ferencvaros – Jug 14:13
5th – 8th place
Hannover – Marseille 11:9
Barceloneta -Jug 12:9
1st – 4th place
Brescia – Novi Beograd 13:14
Pro Recco – Ferencvaros 10:7
For 7th place: Marseille – Jug 15:13
For 5th place: Hannover – Barceloneta 10:12
For 3rd place : Brescia – Ferencvaros(17:00)
FINAL: Novi Beograd – Pro Recco (19:30)
All times are CET