Hungary and Italy will have two clubs apiece in the LEN Euro Cup quarterfinals.
The return matches were held today. Almost each of the encounters was a big battle.
Two Hungarian clubs that advanced are Vasas and Szolnok. Savona and Trieste will represent Italy. Besides these four teams, Sabac (Serbia), Tourcoing (France), Oradea (Romania) and Panionios (Greece) will play in the round of 8.
As expected, there were not many easy wins. Even Vasas and Savona, the clubs that beat their respective rivals by five goals in the first match (Crvena Zvezda and Ortigia), had to work hard to save their advantages from the first leg.
Savona secured its quarterfinal berth by a last-gasp goal, while Vasas put a lot of effort into halting Crvena Zvezda’s late comeback.
The matches in Szolnok – Honved and Barcelona – Sabac were very close contests, too. The winners in the other four encounters secured themselves spots in the quarterfinals without thrilling endings.
LEN Euro Cup, eight-finals, return leg
Ortigia – Savona 13:9 (4:3, 3:2, 2:1, 4:3) – 1st leg 2:7
Ortigia:Vidovic 4, Velkic 2, Ferrero 2, Giribaldi 1, A.Condemi 1, Di Luciano 1, F.Condemi, Napolitano 1.
Savona: DJurdjic 3, Rizzo 2, Campopiano 2, Rocchi 1, Guidi 1.
The Italian derby in Syracuse was a real thriller, despite the fact that Savona brought a five-goal advantage from the 1st match.
Ortigia led most of the time. Savona took an opening 1:0 lead and equalized only once – 4:4. Then, Ortigia scored three goals in a row for a 7:4 lead and proved that it might make the quarterfinals. At the middle break, it stood 7:5, but Ortigia rebuilt a 3-goal advantage in the third period (8:5 and 9:6). At the beginning of the fourth, Andrea Condemi made it 10:6.
Shortly after, the hosts had a chance to erase a 5-goal deficit from a penalty shot, but they missed. But, in the middle of the fourth period, Ortigia caught up with Savona. Ferrero scored for 11:6 and that was a start of a thrilling ending. The teams quickly exchanged goals. Each scored two within 60 seconds, and three minutes before the end , Ortigia had a 13:8 advantage. As the final buzzer was approaching, it seemed that the match would continue in a penalty shootout since both teams missed chances.
Ortigia didn’t convert its last man-up in the dyings seconds and a penalty shootout was very close. But, three seconds before the end, Savona’s coach Angelini called a time-out and sent goalkeeper Nicosia in the attack. The visitors had a 7 on 6. At 0:01 Valerio Rizzo beat the buzzer. He found the net from a distance for 9:13 and sent Savona into the quarterfinals.
Crvena Zvezda – Vasas 11:7 (2:2, 3:2, 2:1, 4:2) – first leg 10:15
Crvena Zvezda: Subotic 2, Vasic 2, Tankosic 1, Markovic 1, B.Banicevic 1, Basara 1, Vukicevic 1, Seman 1, Radovic 1.
Vasas: Randjeovic 2, Konarik 1, Selley-Rauscher 1, Nagaev 1, Gabor 1, Batori 1.
Crvena Zvezda played excellently against a mighty team of Vasas and was very close to making a miracle and secure a quarterfinal berth or, a penalty shootout, at least. The game was an even contest until 3:3. Then, Crvena Zvezda took a 5:3 lead and was always in front in the remaining time.
Two goals separated the rivals before the final quarter (7:5), but nothing indicated that a miracle could happen. Still, Crvena Zvezda doubled its advantage with two quick goals (9:5), which boosted the hosts’ hopes. Vasas reduced the gap (6:9). However, Crvena Zvezda responded with two goals and erased the deficit from Budapest – 11:6 (30th minute). A minute and a half before the end, Gabor converted a man-up for, as it turned out, the final score (11:7). Crvena Zvezda had an extra player in the next possession but missed, and Vasas went to the Top 8.
Tourcoing – Primorac 15:11 (4:3, 6:3, 4:2, 1:3) – 1st leg 7:7
Tourcoing: Marzouki 5, Dasic 3, Durik 3, M.Brguljan 1, Gagulic 1, Krizman 1, Canonne 1.
Primorac: Mrsic 3, Vujosevic 2, Draskovic 1, Macic 1, Vukasovic 1, Paunovic 1, F.Gardasevic 1, Stanojevic 1
The last remaining Montenegrin club in the LEN cups, Primorac didn’t surprise Tourcoing and finished its journey in the 2023 Euro Cup.
The Montenegrins fought hard. They scored an opener and led 3:2 at the finish of the first period. Still, the hosts closed the first period with two goals for 4:3. Primorac opened the second quarter, leveling the score at 4:4. Tourcoing built an excellent 10:6 advantage until the end of the first half and went to 14:8 before the last eight minutes. The Kotor-based side didn’t surrender and halved the deficit in the 31st minute (11:14), but it was too late. Lukas Durik scored the last goal for the final 15:11.
Barcelona – Sabac 12:11 (1:3, 4:3, 3:4, 4:1) – first leg 10:13
Barcelona: Valls 5, Lopez 3, Goma 2, Ramon 1.
Sabac: Sulc 4, Barac 3, Maras 1, Toholj 1, Tubic 1.
Sabac achieved one of the biggest successes in the club’s history by advancing to the LEN Euro Cup quarterfinals. The Serbs lost the match in Barcelona, but they controlled the game until the middle of the fourth period, and their win in an aggregate score wasn’t in big danger. Sabac started excellently. Already in the 9th minute, it had a 4:1 advantage. Barceloneta leveled in the 14th minute (5:5), but Sulc scored in the last second of the second period, to secure a 6:5 advantage for Sabac at halftime.
Barcelona leveled at 6:6, 7:7, 8:8 in the third quarter, but it didn’t manage to take the lead. Sabac rebuilt a 2-goal lead with two quick goals in the 22nd minute (10:8). The visitors were still two steps ahead (11:9) in the 30th minute. Barceloneta netted three goals in the last 125 seconds, and secured a consolation victory. However, they weren’t very close to catching up with Sabac in the aggregate score. Vavic set the final score just 12 seconds before the end.
Szolnok – Honved 8:5 (3:3, 2:0, 3:1, 0:1) – first leg 11:13
Szolnok: Szeghalmi 3, Pasztor 3, Agh 1, Vismeg 1.
Honved: Zs.Ekler, B.Ekler 1, S.hessels 1, B.Hessels 1, Sugar 1.
The second match in the all-Hungarian battle, an encounter between two former European champions, was decided in the middle two quarters. Szolnok’s defense was superb in this phase of the game. Honved scored its third goal in the 7th minute for 3:2. After that, the visitors couldn’t find the net for ten minutes, while Szolnok netted three goals and secured a 6:3 lead (17th minute). After Honved’s fourth goal, Szolnok quickly answered with two for 8:4 (21st minute). In the remaining time, the hosts focused on defense, which gave the desired result. They conceded only one goal in the fourth period (28th minute) and secured a quarterfinal berth.
Oradea – Steaua 10:6 (4:3, 2:1, 1:0, 3:2) – 1st leg 8:8
Oradea: Asanovic 2, Negrean 2, M.Gheorghe 2, Ilisie 2, Colodrovschi 1, Czenk 1.
Steaua Bucharest: Iudean 2, Vuskovic 2, Georgescu 1, Neamtu 1.
The best Romanian clubs started in the second match from “ground zero”. The visitors from Bucharest earned an early 3:1 lead. But, that was followed by Oradea’s 4:0 rush. The hosts scored three unanswered goals before the first break and added one early in the second for a 5:3 lead. That series of four consecutive goals set the tone of the match. In the remaining time, Oradea was always in front. Steaua halved the deficit shortly after Oradea’s fifth goal. But, after that, Oradea’s defense was superb. The hosts kept the Bucharest-based side goalless between the 11th and 29th minute, scoring three straight goals for a safe 8:4 advantage.
Panionios – Partizan 12:8 (3:1, 2:2, 5:3, 2:2) – first leg 11:12
Panionios: Gounas 6, Gkiouvetsis 2, Bitadze 2, Kalaitzis 1, Papakos 1.
Partizan: Smiljevic 3, Milos 2, Gak 2, Dimitrijevic 1.
A one-goal advantage that Partizan had before the return leg, wasn’t enough, despite the fact that the visitors played much better than Panionios in the first quarter of the match in Athens. They took a 1:0 lead. But, Panionios scored three straight goals in the last 80 seconds of this period, and earned a lead in the aggregate score.
In the middle of the second quarter, Bitadze made it 4:1. Partizan came close three times (2:4, 3:5, 4:6). Still, Panionios, led by experienced Alexandros Gounas, dictated the pace. The hosts earned a five-goal lead in the third period (10:5), and any comeback became impossible for the Serbs.
Trieste – Noisy-le-Sec 16:13 (4:6, 3:3, 6:0, 3:4) – first leg 20:12
Trieste: Inaba 4, Petronio 3, Bego 2, Razzi 2, Mezzarobba 1, Podgornik 1, Valentino 1, Mezzarobba 1, Bini 1, Mladossich 1.
Noisy-le-Sec: Gogov 3, Petkovic 3, Bowen 3, Saudadier 1, Ondo 1, Caumette 1,
Everything in the encounter between Trieste and Noisy-le-Sec was decided after the Italian’s 20:12 win in the first leg. The French played well in the first half. They earned an early 2:0 lead and kept the distance until the middle break (9:7). Still, Trieste ran over Noisy in the third period.