The 2024 Men’s Challenger Cup, the competition for the clubs ranked lower than 11th place in the LEN’s Ranking, started with the qualification tournaments.
The teams play in four groups. Many debuted or returned to the European stage after a long absence.
The top two from each group will advance to the quarterfinals.
2024 Men’s Challenger Cup, qualifications, Day 1
Group A (Porto, Portugal)
Vittoria Sport Clube – Kreuzlingen 10:12 (3:5, 3:2, 2:2, 2:3)
Triglav Kranj – Apoel Nicosia 18:5 (4:0, 3:1, 5:0, 6:4)
Clube Fluvial Portuense bye
Kreuzlingen (Switzerland) secured a 12:10 victory over Vittoria (Portugal) thanks to a 4:0 run, which gave it a jump from 8:8 to 12:8. Triglav (Slovenia) showed no mercy to Apoel (Cyprus).
Group B (Mouscron, Belgium)
ODTU Spor Club – Banja Luka 21:16 (6:0, 8:6, 4:3, 3:7)
Royal Dauphis Mouscronnios – City of Manchester 16:14 (4:3, 4:4, 6:4, 2:3)
Carouge Natation bye
Thanks to an excellent start, Turkish ODTU Spor Club beat Banja Luka, the best club in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ODTU rushed to an 8:0 lead in the first 10 minutes. After that, the game became a festival of goals, but the Turks’ win wasn’t in danger.
The second game was more interesting. The host, Royal Dauphis (Belgium), and the visitors from Great Britain, City of Manchester, fought a balanced battle until 10:10. Then, the Belgian team scored three straight goals and went to 13:10, which was crucial for its win.
Group C (Istanbul, Turkey)
The tournament will start tomorrow. Participating teams: Galatasaray (Turkey), KVP Novaky (Slovakia), Polytechnic WP Club (Great Britain) and Sporting Club de Portugal (Portugal)
Group D (Gzira, Malta)
EVK Zaibas – Cetus Espoo 22:8 (5:3, 6:1, 7:1, 4:3)
Valetta – KVT Komodor 21:3 (6:1, 5:1, 4:0, 6:1)
ENKA Sport bye
There was no excitement in the first round in Malta. ECK Zaibas (Lithuania) easily beat the Finish team, Cetus Espoo in the Nordic derby. Host Valetta was merciless to KVT Komodor (Bulgaria).