There were no close contests in the 1st leg of the LEN Challenger Cup quarterfinals.
The narrowest margin was four goals. Apollon (Greece) beat Turkish Galatasaray 9:5.
The other Istanbul-based club in the Challenger Cup, Enka, celebrated a pretty convincing win over the Dutch champion Het Ravijn (14:8).
Two Spanish clubs cruised to victories. Terrassa beat Ludwigsbutg by nine goals (16:7) in Germany. Tenerife ran over SKP Kosice (22:8).
The 2nd leg is on February 8.
LEN Challenger Cup Quarterfinals, 1st leg
Apollon – Galatasaray 9:5 (3:0, 2:1, 3:4, 1:0)
Apollon: Gardikas 3, Mokkas 2, Bogdanovic 1, Braimis 1, Chondrokoukis 1, Myrilos 1.
Galatasaray: Colak 2, Destici 2, Krstic 1.
Apollon’s flying start made the difference in the match that was considered the derby of the LEN Challenger Cup quarterfinals. The Greeks jumped to a 4:0 lead in the first minute of the second quarter and were 5:1 up at halftime.
Still, the Turks didn’t surrender. They reduced the gap to two goals three times in the third quarter (3:5, 4:6, 5:7). Their 5th goal came in the 22nd minute. In the remaining ten minutes, they couldn’t find the net. Apollon added one more goal before the last break (8:5). Mokkas set the final score in the 29th minute. However, Galatasaray isn’t out of the race for the semifinals.
Enka – Het Ravijn 14:8 (3:0, 4:4, 2:2, 5:2)
Enka Istanbul: Obradovic 6, Alkan 3, Yenigun 1, Duzenli 1, Baskaya 1, Ergin 1, Kahraman 1.
Het Ravijn: H. Wouters 3, Muller 3, E.Wouters 1, Loos 1.
Enka, led by the 2012 Olympic champion, Paulo Obradovic, proved that it was the favorite in the duel against Het Ravijn.
After an excellent start by Enka (3:0), the Dutch netted two goals and reduced the gap to one (2:3). Enka regained a 3-goal lead quickly (5:2) and maintained the difference until the last break. In the fourth quarter, the Turks doubled their advantage. A spot in the semifinals is practical „a mission impossible“ for the Dutch champion.
Ludwigsburg – Terrassa 7:16 (2:4, 2:3, 1:4, 2:5)
Ludwigsburg: Bauer 3, Kutchaushvili 2, Dimitrov 1, Prieto 1
Terrassa: Alarcon 4, Flores 3, De Lera 3, Wilson 2, Delgado 2, Chico 2.
Terrassa can start preparing for the semifinals after the first leg. Ludwigsburg couldn’t surprise the Spaniards. An opening 2:1 lead gave some hope to the Germans, but their hope didn’t last for long, since the visitors responded with five goals and earned a 6:2 lead. The visitors dictated the pace until the end and increased the margin to nine.
Tenerife – SKP Kosice 22:8 (4:1, 8:1, 3:2, 7:4)
Tenerife: Espanol 7, Alegre 6, Mercado 3, Diaz 2, Magrina 1, Keuning 1, Gonzalez 1, Salvador 1.
SKP Kosice: Orem 2, Juhasz 2, Motyl 2, Kamlov 1, Haluska 1.
Tenerife isn’t among the best Spanish club, but the team from the Canary Islands is too strong for SKP Kosice. The return match in Slovakia will be just a formality.