OSC (HUN) will almost surely continue its adventure in the main round for the third consecutive year after a decisive win in Volgograd (RUS). The other three duels are still open, including last season Final Six participant Brescia’s contest with Sintez (RUS) as the Italians will travel to Kazan with only a two-goal advantage. Jadran (MNE) earned a valuable away win in Marseille (FRA) while Sabadell (ESP) drew in Belgrade (SRB) so they still had some task to do in four days time in the second leg matches.
OSC is to clear all three obstacles for the third year in a row: though the Hungarians had some struggles a couple weeks ago (lost to Marseille in the second round tournament at home), this time, in Volgograd, they offered their best performance of the season so far.
The Russians jumped to a 3-1 lead but the Magyars hit back with a 0-4 rush in 2:08 minutes still in the first period. And the script remained the same: Spartak scored the first goal in the second, OSC responded with three straight goals in 1:49 minutes, then four in 3:34 in the third, building a 7-goal margin (5-12). And they maintained this gap till the end to earn a decisive 7-14 win, making the second leg a mere formality in four days time.
The other big favourite in the play-offs, Brescia could also have earned a big win but the other Russian side, Sintez came up big in the last period. The Italians, played in the Final Six last May, gained a 3-0 lead with ease and went 8-3 up early in the third and still held on for an 11-6 advantage with 5:24 remaining from the game. However, the visitors netted the last three goals of the match (11-9) and this comeback gave them hope for the return match.
Jadran Herceg Novi earned a fine 6-7 win in Marseille but the game proved that virtually nothing separates the two sides. It was a balanced encounter, the French went 4-3 ahead in the first half but the Montenegrins scored two in 42 seconds early in the third and were even 5-7 up in the fourth. The hosts pulled one back but now Jadran sits in a better position.
The fourth clash between Crvena Zvezda and Sabadell ended in a 6-6 tie in Belgrade. The Serbs couldn’t score for two and a half periods while the Spaniards got a 0-3 lead. But once Zvezda netted the first after 23:57 minutes, they began chasing Sabadell and with 3:06 to go they had them, what’s more the Serbs even took the lead at 5-4. Their rivals hit back with two but the home side had the last laugh, Mateja Asanovic scored the equaliser with 0:02 remaining on the clock.
Champions League, Qualification Round III, 1st leg
Game A: CN Marseille (FRA) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) 6-7
Game B: Spartak Volgograd (RUS) v A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) 7-14
Game C: AN Brescia (ITA) v Sintez Kazan (RUS) 11-9
Game D: Crvena zvezda Belgrade (SRB) v CN Sabadell (ESP) 6-6
Second leg: 18 October
For details, stats, play-by-play description visit www.len.eu