Another day packed with the LEN competitions is ahead of us.
The games of three LEN competitions will be held on Wednesday.
Besides the Champions League Group B matches, the return games of the LEN Men’s Euro Cup and the LEN Challenger Cup quarterfinals are scheduled for tomorrow. Seven games are on tomorrow’s program because a match of the Challenger Cup in Turkey (Galatasaray – Apollon) has been postponed due to a catastrophic earthquake.
An encounter between Szolnok and Trieste was the only close contest in the 1st leg of the LEN Euro Cup quarterfinals. So, this is the only duel that promises excitement in the 2nd leg. However, Trieste, the host in this match, has an advantage before the first whistle. The Italians earned a narrow 13:12 victory in Szolnok. On the other side, the Hungarians played very well last week. They beat Vasas on Saturday. A few days before that, they ran a neck-and-neck race with Ferencvaros for almost two quarters. On the other side, Trieste had an unsuccessful week. Last Wednesday, it suffered a big loss to Pro Recco (5:16). After that, it won only a point against underdog Roma.
Good performances in the last two matches are an encouragement for the Hungarians and an indication that they have realistic chances in Italy.
As for the other three matches, it will be a big surprise if any of the teams that recorded a victory in 1st leg doesn’t reach the semifinals.
Vasas earned the biggest advantage before the return match. The Budapest-based team beat Sabac by six goals (10:4). However, the Serbian club and its fans are looking forward to the return leg. Almost all tickets for the match have been sold, and the club has added a temporary tribune to the pool. Sabac will try to make a miracle with the support of an “extra player” in the stands. The latest results in the Hungarian League indicate that Vasas isn’t in excellent shape. This season, Sabac beat some very good teams in home matches (Trieste, Barcelona). Still, six goals are a pretty big margin to overcome.
Savona played excellently in the first encounter of the duel that was considered the derby of the quarterfinals. The Italians beat Tourcoing in France (8:5). Tourcoing doesn’t have a white flag and it’s sure that the French club can play better than in the first leg. However, the outcome of the duel and the aggregate score will depend primarily on what Savona displays in front of its fans.
Oradea will welcome Panionios. The Romanians had some great moments on the European stage this season. They beat Barcelona in Spain in the Champions League qualifications. Still, Panionios brings a five-goal advantage (10:5). Therefore, it’s hard to expect that Oradea will stop the Greeks on their way to the semifinals.
Oradea (Romania) – Panionios (Greece) at 17:00 (16:00 CET) – first match 5:10
Savona (Italy) – Tourcoing (France) at 19:00– first match 8:5
Sabac (Serbia) – Vasas (Hungary) at 20:00– first match 4:10
Trieste (Italy) – Szolnok (Hungary) at 20:00 – first match 13:12
As mentioned, only three games of the LEN Challenger Cup will be played tomorrow.
The catastrophic earthquake hit Turkey and Syria. More than 5.000 people lost their lives. After the bad news started coming from Turkey, LEN made a reasonable decision to postpone the game Galatasaray – Apollon. The new date is February 18.
The other three matches of the return leg will be more-or-less formalities. Two Spanish clubs, Terrassa and Tenerife, earned huge advantages in the 1st leg and they are already in the semifinals.
The Dutch champion Het Ravijn will host the other Turkish club Enka. The Turks recorded a 6-goal win in the first leg, so the home team has a slim chance of advancing to the semifinals.
Het Ravijn (Netherlands) – Enka (Turkey) at 19:00 – first match 8:14
Terrassa (Spain) – Ludwigsburg (Germany) at 20:00 – first match 16:7
SKP Modri Draci Kosice (Slovakia)– Tenerife (Spain) at 20:00 – first match 8:22
Galatasaray (Turkey) – Apollon Smyrnis (Greece) postponed to February 18 – first match 5:9