Tomorrow, the teams that will compete in the final matches of the LEN Euro Cup and LEN Challenger Cup will be known.
Every one of the eight teams taking part in the semifinals still has a chance of advancing to the finals. All four semifinal 1st leg matches ups were very close. Therefore each return game will be decisive.
LEN Euro Cup, semifinals, 2nd leg
In the return leg of the Vasas – Panionios matchup, Vasas will be the host in the Komjadi pool. Vasas is one of the strong contenders for the trophy, but the Hungarians will start the second match with a one-goal deficit.
Panionios displayed a better performance in the first leg in Athens. During the fourth period, Vasas held the lead briefly with an 8:7 score. Still, Alexandros Gounas, Panionios’ veteran, managed to score two goals in the 32nd minute, including the winning goal at the last second, so the Greeks’ hopes are still alive.
The first game in the Italian derby, Trieste – Savona, ended in a 9:9 draw after several twists and turns. Savona, the winner of three LEN Euro Cups (2005, 2011, 2012), was considered a favorite before the first match against Trieste, the debutant in LEN Euro Cup. Nothing changed, meanwhile.
Following a close duel with Trieste, Savona has been playing worse and worse, recently being demolished by Pro Recco in the Italian League (4:15). Last week, 11th–placed Roma even managed to upset Savona (9:7). Trieste, meanwhile, has kept a solid shape, but will be without one of its key players, Japanese Yusuke Inaba, who was red–carded due to brutality foul in the fourth quarter of the first game.
Five players who represented their nations in the recently finished Division 1 of the World Cup will play in the return matches of the LEN Euro Cup and LEN Challenger Cup semifinals: Italians Gianmarco Nicosia and Lorenzo Bruni (both Savona), Serbs Branislav Mitrovic and Sava Randjelovic (both Vasas), and Greek Emmanouil Solanakis (Apollon Smyrnis).
Yusuke Inaba (Trieste) played for Japan, but he will miss the return leg against Savona, due to a red card. Bogdan Djurdjic (Savona) didn’t play for Montenegro in the World Cup, due to personal reasons. However, he is a regular member of the national team.
LEN Euro Cup semifinals, return leg, March 22
Savona – Trieste (19:00) – first match 8:9
Vasas – Panionios (20:00) – first match 9:9
LEN Challenger Cup, semifinals, 2nd leg
As for the LEN Challenger Cup, the all-Spanish final is still very possible, but Terrassa and Tenerife struggled to earn wins in the first matches. Terrassa beat Turkish Enka 15:12, while Tenerife defeated Apollon Smyrnis by a goal (11:10). Both Apollon and Enka will have enormous support from the stands in the return matches. They will have “an extra player” from the beginning. All four teams have realistic chances of reaching the final.
LEN Challenger Cup semifinals, return leg
ENKA Istanbul – Terrassa (18:30 – 16:30 CET) –12:15
Apollon Smyrnis – Tenerife (20:00 – 19:00 CET) – 10:11