Big wins for Recco, Barceloneta, Jug, Busto
Four teams – two per group – managed to make it three out of three as Recco (ITA) beat Ferencvaros, Barceloneta (ESP) earned three valuable points in Moscow (RUS) in Group A, while in Group B Busto BPM (ITA) came back from four goals down to defeat Hannover (GER) and Jug (CRO) staged a great finish to upend Szolnok (HUN). Title-holder Olympiacos (GRE) was back to normal and earned its first win with ease against Spandau (GER).
The clash of the giants saw Recco delivering against Ferencvaros – the Hungarians missed three key players due to injuries but still held on for 7-6 deep into the fourth period. However, the hosts, runners-up last season, proved their superiority and added two more goals in the finish while the Euro Cup winners were unable to score in the closing 4:43min and lost their first match in the autumn while Recco is still unbeaten in all competitions.
Barceloneta, bronze medallists in May, also maintained its clean sheet with a fine performance in Moscow. The Spaniards kept the match under control for most of the time as they built a solid lead in the action-packed third period which they won 4-6 and led 9-12. Dynamo climbed back but after 10-13 their double arrived a bit late and they didn’t have the chance for an equalizer. This defeat left the Russians pointless, a big setback after three rounds.
Eger (HUN) and Brescia (ITA) made no mistake at home, the Hungarians staged a 4-0 rush in the third period against Steaua (ROU) and that was decisive. Brescia dominated the encounter against Crvena Zvezda (SRB), though it was a highly defensive game where the Italians shut out their rivals for 26:02 minutes and rushed from 1-1 to 7-1 in the meantime.
In Group B Olympiacos (GRE) returned to the normal path while beating Spandau (GER) with ease. The title-holders struggled a bit at the beginning but once they could score three in a row after 3-3, they never looked back. In fact, they staged an 8-1 run afterward to secure their first win this season.
Busto BPM marched on, after back-to-back victories against Olympiacos and 2017 winner Szolnok at home, they added three more points in Hannover thanks to an outstanding comeback. The Germans took a flying start and led 7-3 late in the second, however, the Italian side managed to hit twice in 72 seconds still before the middle break. Hannover opened the scoring in the third for 8-5 but next came four straight goals from BPM and that did the damage. Hannover equalized once more but another double, this time in 25 seconds, earned another triumph to BPM.
The re-match of the 2017 final offered a thrilling encounter with the lead exchanging constantly between Jug and Szolnok. The Hungarians led 6-7 before the last break but they ran out of gas just like on Day 2 in Busto. There they couldn’t score in the last 14 minutes, in Dubrovnik they remained silent for the final 8:44 minutes while the Croats battled on and put away two man-ups in their usual style, scoring between the 22-25th seconds of the possession.
In the Croatian derby, Jadran was close to a surprise, just three days after losing to Mladost 6-9 in the regional league they were still on equal terms before the last period (9-9). Still, the fellow team from the capital showed some strength and by netting three in a row they managed to continue their unbeaten run while Jadran now counts three straight losses.