Two Champions League wild card holders, Novi Beograd and Ferencvaros, started the season at the Memorial tournament “Vlaho Bata Orlic,” organized by Novi Beograd.
Besides the two clubs, Szolnok, Noisy-le-Sec, Partizan and Novobeogradski Vukovi (Novi Beograd’s B team) take part in the tournament.
The teams are split into two groups of three clubs. The 1st-placed and 2nd-placed from each group will advance to the semifinals.
The hosts, the runners-up in the 2022 Champions League, recorded two convincing wins on Day 1 and secured 1st place in Group A. Ferencvaros produced a big comeback to beat Szolnok in Group B.
Vlaho Bata Orlic (1934 – 2010) was a famous coach who is considered the father of modern Serbian and Yugoslav water polo. The indoor pool where the tournament will take place is named after Vlaho Orlic.
2020 Memorial Tournament “Vlaho Bata Orlic”, Belgrade, Day 1
Novi Beograd – Partizan 12:5 (3:0, 3:0, 1:3, 5:2)
Novi Beograd: Vlachopoulos 4, S.Rasovic 2, Drasovic 2, Mandic 1, Granados 1, Vucinic 1, Shushiashvili 1.
Partizan: Smiljevic 2, Bodiroga 1, Gladovic 1, Paparic 1
Novi Beograd – Nosy-le-Sec 21:6 (5:1, 2:2, 6:2, 8:1)
Novi Beograd: S.Rasovic 3, Vucinic 3, Shushiashvili 3, Mandic 2, Granados 2, Cetkovic 2, Perkovic 2, V.Rasovic 2, Vlachopoulos 1, Skoumpakis 1.
Noisy-le-Sec: Caumette 2, Do Carmo 1, Gogov 1, Petkovic 1, Guerin 1.
Novi Beograd proved that it would be one of the most serious title contenders in the Champions League. The hosts beat Partizan in the morning session and downed Noisy-le-Sec in the evening. The first quarter of the duel between Novi Beograd and Noisy set the tone of the match. The French, which played without its biggest reinforcement Alex Bowen (who joined the team yesterday) managed to keep up with Novi Beograd in the second quarter. However, Noisy ran out of gas for the second half.
Standings: 1. Novi Beograd 6 (2), 2. Partizan 0 (1), 3. Noisy 0 (1).
Szolnok – NBG Vukovi 20:7 (5:3, 4:0, 5:2, 6:2)
Szolnok: Pasztor 6, Szeghami 2, Agh 2, D.Jansik 2, Kovacs 2, Vismeg 2, Daco 1, Solef 1, Peto 1, Bertold 1
NBG Vukovi: Sofranac 2, Nesic 1, Bucan 1, Stojanovic 1, Andrin 1.
Ferencvaros – Szolnok 11:10 (2:5, 3:2, 1:0, 5:3)
Ferencvaros: D.Varga 3, Ven.Vigvari 3, Argyropoulos 3, Jansik 1, Merkulov 1.
Szolnok: Pasztor 4, Kovacs 2, Szeghalmi 1, Schmolcz 1, Vismeg 1, Agh 1.
The competition in Group B was opened by an encounter between Szolnok and Novobeogradski Vukovi. As expected, Szolnok recorded an easy win.
Former captain of Yugoslavia, former LEN Bureau member, and water polo legend Aleksandar Sostar (58) debuted as Novobeogradski Vukovi head coach today. This is the first coaching job for one of the best goalkeepers of all time.
The Hungarian derby was the only exciting match of the day. Szolnok, which has rejuvenated its squad, started surprisingly well. Szolnok took a 5:1 lead and kept the distance until 7:3. Ferencvaros tightened its defense and started coming back. The “Fradi” kept Szolnok goalless for 14 minutes and scored three goals in that interval to level the score. Denes Varga found the net for 7:7 in the 26th minute.
Szolnok went ahead once more (8:7), but Ferencvaros came back once again. The Hungarian champion built a 2-goal lead in the 31st minute (11:9). Szolnok halved the distance shortly after(10:11), and had a chance to secure a point. Szolnok earned a penalty shot with 13 seconds to go but failed to score and Ferencvaros took all three points.
Standings: 1. Ferencvaros 3 (1), 2. Szolnok 3 (2), 3. NBG Vukovi 0 (1).