If there are no big surprises until the end of the group stage, Barceloneta will finish atop Group A of the 2023 Champions League.
Barceloneta beat Olympiacos 10:5 in the highlight of Day 10 . After a balanced first quarter (3:3), Barceloneta opened the second half with five straight goals, jumped to an 8:3 lead, and maintained a 5-goal difference until the end. Barceloneta kept a 3-point advantage ahead of Pro Recco, while it has five points more than Olympiacos now. The Spaniards will have much easier matches than Olympiacos and Recco in the remaining four rounds.
Pro Recco ran over Waspo Hannover (21:4) and climbed to 2nd place. Barceloneta and Recco mathematically qualified for the Final Eight. Olympiacos needs one win to join them.
The other crucial game of Day 10 in Group B was played in Split. Jadran and Vouliagmeni, the contenders for 4th place, shared the points – 10:10. Vouliagmeni kept an advantage of three points ahead of Jadran. Still, everything is still open. Jadran still has a chance.
Unlike Jadran, Radnicki is out of the race for 4th place. The Kragujevac-based side left the pool empty-handed today, playing without a few key players. Dinamo Tbilisi beat Radnicki 13:8. Radnicki is just five points behind Vouliagmeni, but it will have very demanding tasks in the remaining four rounds and after the defeat to Dinamo, the realistic chances of reaching the F8 disappeared.
Barceloneta – Olympiacos 10:5 (1:1, 2:2, 3:0, 4:2)
Barceloneta: Aguirre, Famera, Matkovic, Munarriz 3, De Toro, Larumbe 1, Pavillard 1, Fernandez, Tahull, Perrone 2, Paul 1, Bustos, Porter. Head coach: Fatovic
Olympiacos: Bijac, Gkillas, Vamos 2, Genidounias 1, Fountoulis, Gouvis, Dervisis, Buslje, Mourikis, Dimou, Kolomvos, Papanastasiou 2, Zerdevas. Head coach: Milanovic.
Before the start of the Champions League, Olympiacos and Pro recco were considered the favorites for 1st place in Group B. But, as things stand now, it’s most likely that the Greeks and the Italians will finish behind Barceloneta, which displayed its excellent quality once more in beating Olympiacos for the second time this season (after a 9:7 victory in Athens). This time, Olympiacos played without injured Filip Filipovic.
The first quarter produced just six goals. Both teams played very intense pressing in the defense. Neither of the teams could find good solutions to outwit the opponent. Center-forwards were guarded well, they didn’t get many balls. Only four personal fouls were committed in the first half (two on each side). Felipe Perrone converted the first man-up in the match to give the hosts a 1:0 lead. Olympiacos created more opportunities to score in the first half. But Unai Aguirre was up to the task. At the other end of the pool, Bijac did his job well, but most of Barceloneta’s shots weren’t very dangerous. The Greeks took a 2:1 and 3:2 lead. Barceloneta leveled both times. Marc Larumbe scored from a 6 on 5 with 21 seconds left on the clock and set the score of the first half – 3:3. Barceloneta converted both of its man-ups in the first half, and Olympiacos’ conversion was 1/2
After the middle break, a “new game” started. Barceloneta started dominating. Aguire commanded the defense excellently, and the attack was better and better. Munariz scored from a penalty for 4:3. After that, Famera handled well in a difficult position and outwitted Bijac for 5:3. In the middle of the quarter, Nikolas Paul took advantage of the mistakes in Olympiacos’ defense. The Greeks left him unguarded, and he sent the rocket the ball from a distance for 6:3. The hosts continued their series in the final quarter. Munarriz added another goal from a penalty shot, Perrone scored from a 6 on 5, and it stood 8:3 in the 27th minute. Shortly after, Genidounias ended Olympiacos’ goalless phase that lasted 12:55 minutes(!). However, it was too late for a comeback.
Elvis Fatovic, Barceloneta’s head coach, said something similar as he said after a great win over Pro Recco in Italy in the previous round:
“The defense was the key to success in the match against the team that has great potential in the attack. We didn’t control our attack in the first half, made some mistakes, and let Olympiacos make chances from counterattacks. But, in the second half, we were much sharper in the attack and kept level in defense.”
Olympiacos’ coach Igor Milanovic said:
“We were in the game in the first half, but in the third period, we let Barceloneta score three easy goals and earn a 3-goal lead. It was enough for an excellent team of Barceloneta, with my colleague Elvis Fatovic, to take control and finish the match as they wished. We missed too many chances in man-up situations and from the center-forward positions.”
Jadran S – Vouliagmeni 10:10 (3:1, 2:5, 4:2, 1:2)
Jadran Split: Marcelic, Buric, Marinic Kragic 4, Cagalj 1, Butic 1, Pejkovic, Bukic 2, Zovic , Tomasovic, Dobud 1, Setka, Duzevic, Anic. Head coach: Marelja.
Vouliagmeni: Tzortzatos, Chalyvopoulos 2, Kastrinakis, Kalogeropoulos 2, Troulos 1, Nikolaidis 1, Almyras, Woodhead 1, Alafragkis, Kapotsis 1, Kourovanis 1, Farmer 1, Andreadis. Head coach: Vujasinovic.
The rivals in the race for 4th place shared the points. Vouliagmeni has to be more satisfied because it kept a 3-goal distance ahead of Jadran. Still, both sides had what to regret. Both teams had chances to secure a win.
Jadran started very well and earned a 3:1 advantage in the first period. But Vouliagmeni erased the deficit with two quick goals in the first 84 seconds of the second period. Jadran led 4:3 and 5:4 in this quarter. However, Vouliagmeni was ahead of the home team at the middle break. Ten seconds before the end of the first half, Dylan Woodhead converted a man-up from a close-range shot after an excellent assistance from Chalyvopoulos – 6:5.
Jadran retook control in the second half and headed into the third period with a 9:8 advantage. At the beginning of the fourth, Marino Cagalj scored an action goal for 10:8. After that, Jadran had a few chances to go to “+3”. The best one was in the 27th minute, when Dobud hit the post. Vouliagmeni scored two goals in the 28th minute and, just as at the beginning of the second period, caught up with the rival quickly – 10:10.
There were no goals in the last four minutes, but both teams had good chances. Vouliagmeni had the last attack in the match. The Greeks stole the ball with 26 seconds left on the clock. But, they slowed their attack and started celebrating the point, which made their head coach Vladimir Vujasinovic angry. However, in the dying seconds, Kalogeropoulos had a great opportunity. He was alone in front of Jadran’s goalkeeper Anic, but he sent the ball over the crossbar. So, Jadran remains in the race for 4th place.
Pro Recco – Waspo 98 Hannover 21:4 (4:0, 4:0, 5:0, 7:4)
Pro Recco: Del Lungo, Di Fulvio 1, Zalanki 4, Cannella 3, Younger, Fondelli 4, Iocchi Gratta 2, Echenique, Ivovic 2, Velotto, Aicardi 2, Loncar 3, Negri. Head coach: Sukno.
Waspo 98 Hannover: Goetz, Corusic, Schipper, Froreich, F. Schuetze l. Schuetze, Lozina, Macan, Kubisch, Kuvisch, Gansen 1, Benic, Basic 3, Benke. Head coach: Seehafer.
Many water polo lovers came to the pool in Lavagna, where Recco hosted Waspo Hannover. The fans of all generations greeted European champions in the packed stands. Pro Recco didn’t disappoint them. They played excellently from the first until the end of the game, despite the fact that the winner was already decided in the first half. Pro Recco outplayed the Germans completely. The visitors played without captain Radovic, but Benic returned to the team.
Recco kept Hannover goalless until the fourth quarter. Marco Del Lungo, who blocked 13 shots today, was invincible. The home side entered the final quarter with a 14:0 lead. Basic scored the first goal for the visitors in the 25th minute (1:14). Recco’s defense weakened in the final period, but Hannover couldn’t reduce the gap.
Dinamo T – Radnicki 13:8 (4:0, 2:2, 3:3, 4:3)
Dinamo Tbilisi: Razmadze, Kirikidi, Akhvlediani 1, Dzikhtsiarenka, Tkeshelashvili 3, Vlahovic 2, Jakhaia, Saric 3, Imnaishvili, Magrakvelidze 1, Malyshau, Pjesivac 3, Gvetadze. Head coach: Stanojevic.
Radnicki Kragujevac: Dobozanov, Brankovic, Stanojevic, Jankovic 1, Gavrilovic 1, Ukropina 1, Poznanovic, Pljevancic 1, Antic 1, Kojic 3, Vrlic, Todorovski. Head coach: Stevanovic.
Radnicki, which lost Marko Radulovic and Nemanja Kojic in the middle of the season, arrived in Tbilisi without two important players, Milos Cuk, and Nikola Lukic. Since Radnicki narrowly defeated Dinamo in Kragujevac, a balanced battle was expected in Georgia.
But, Dinamo, which had great support from its fans, imposed its rhythm from the beginning, and there was no excitement. In the first minute, one of the best players of the match, Dinamo’s goalie Revaz Imnaishvili (who posted 12 saves today), saved a penalty shot from Ukropina. That was one of the crucial moments. Imnaishvili gained new self-confidence. In the following minutes, his saves discouraged Radnicki’s attackers. Dinamo’s defense was good, but the visitors helped them with many wrong passes, lost balls, and missed great chances. At the first break, Dinamo led 4:0. The last goal was scored by Stefan Pjesivac three seconds before the end, in an excellent, quick action after a long pass from a corner throw by Jovan Saric.
Dinamo kept Radnicki goalless until the 10th minute when Ukropina converted a man-up for 1:4. But, the hosts increased their lead to 6:1 and 7:2. Late into the third quarter, Radnicki reduced the gap to two (5:7). However, Dinamo made a new 4:0 series, just as at in the first period. In the 27th minute, Akhvlediani scored for 11:5 from a penalty shot, and everything was decided.
Dinamo had a perfect percentage of the powerplay shots (5/5). Radnicki had a poor conversion (2/10).
1.Barceloneta 10 games – 27 points
2. Pro Recco 10 – 24
3. Olympiacos 10 – 22
4. Vouliagmeni 10 – 14
5. Jadran S 10 – 11
6. Radnicki 10 – 9
7. Dinamo 10 – 3
8. Hannover 10– 3
Group B (April 4): Spandau 04 – Marseille, Sabadell – OSC Budapest, Jug – Ferencvaros, Brescia – Novi Beograd.
Group A (April 5): Dinamo – Jadran, Radnicki – Barceloneta, Vouliagmeni – Pro Recco, Olympiacos – Waspo 98.
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