The four teams that won in the 1st matches of the LEN Euro Cup Quarterfinals – Vasas, Savona, Trieste and Panionios advanced to the semifinals.
However, there was a lot of excitement in the 2nd leg.
Panionios earned a 5-goal advantage after the first match against Oradea and it was very close to the semifinals. But, the Romanians played much better in front of the home crowd and recorded a 13:8 victory in regular time. So, a penalty shootout decided the winner. The Greeks were a luckier team in a “penalty lottery”.
The second encounter between Trieste and Szolnok was very similar to the first one. It was an even contest. Still, the Italians earned a one-goal win (11:10), just like in the first match (13:12) and reached the semifinals for the first time in the club’s history.
Vasas and Savona were dominant in the other two quarterfinal pairs.
Vasas defeated Sabac in the 2nd leg – 9:6 (first match 10:6), Savona was better than Tourcoing – 13:10 (first match 8:5).
Oradea – Panionios 19:15 (3:1, 4:4, 3:2, 3:1, PSO 6:7) – first match 5:10
Oradea: Negrean 5, Asanovic 4, Ilisie 2, Szabo 2, Dragomirescu 2, Colodrovschi 2, Gheorghe 1, Czenk 1.
Panionios: Gounas 5, Gkiouvetsis 3, Kapetanikis 3, Ntalapas 2, Papakos 2.
Oradea managed to erase a five-goal deficit from the first leg, but it fell in a thrilling penalty shootout.
After the quarterfinal draw, Panionios was considered the favorite in this duel. The Greeks proved that the predictions were good since they recorded a 10:5 win in Athens.
However, Oradea showed something of its best in the return match. The Romanians dictated the pace. Early in the second period, they led 4:1 and indicated that they might come back after a 5-goal defeat. Panionios cut the deficit shortly after (3:4). Still, Oradea rebuilt a 3-goal lead a few times in the middle two quarters (7:4, 8:5, 9:6, 10:7). At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Ilisie stretched the margin to four (11:7). Gounas responded from a penalty shot for 8:11. But, Oradea netted two quick goals (Asanovic and Szabo) and reached a 5-goal lead (13:8) It happened four minutes and 30 seconds before the end. Nobody found the net in the remaining time, and the match entered a penalty shootout.
There were no misses in the first six rounds of shots. Gkiouvetsis netted in the 7th series to make it 15:19. At the other end of the pool, Ilisie missed the target and the Greeks advanced to the semifinals.
Trieste – Szolnok 11:10 (3:2, 4:3, 1:3, 3:2) – first match 13:12
Trieste: Mladossich 3, Mezzarobba 2, Inaba 2, Podgornik 1, Buljubasic 1, Valentino 1, Razzi 1.
Szolnok: Ger.Kovacs 3, D.Jansik 2, Szeghalmi 1, Schmolcz 1, Vismeg 1, Pasztor 1, Teleki 1.
The game in Trieste was a rollercoaster. Trieste, which had a 1-goal advantage before the first whistle, earned an early 3:0 lead and it seemed that the hosts were on the right track. However, Szolnok struck back strongly, with four straight goals. The Hungarians took a 4:3 lead in the 11th minute and got back in the race for the semifinal spot. A series of new twists was yet to come. Trieste regained a lead before the middle break. At halftime, the hosts were 7:5 up.
But, the third period belonged to Szolnok. The Hungarians produced a 3:0 run in the third quarter and went ahead again (8:7). Trieste equalized in the 23rd minute (8:8). Early in fourth period, Kovacs gave Szolnok a new slim lead (9:8). After that Trieste produced its new and crucial series of three goals in a row. The hosts went to 11:9 with 02:11 minutes left on the clock. Szolnok halved the deficit shortly after (10:11). The Hungarians had a man-up with 48 seconds to go, but Trieste saved a slim win.
Sabac – Vasas 6:9 (1:2, 2:3, 0:1, 3:3) – first match 4:10
Sabac: Stojanovic 2, Sulc 1, Markovic 1, Barac 1, Tubic 1.
Vasas: Randjelovic 2, Nagaev 2, Dr.Brguljan 1, Zernivary 1, Konarik 1, Simon 1., Batori 1.
Although it started into the match with a six-goal deficit, Sabac played as best as it could in front of the packed stands. Still, Vasas controlled the game and showed that it wouldn’t let a surpsie happen. The Hungarian side had a 4:1 advantage in the middle of the second quarter. Sabac narrowed the gap (3:4). Still, Vasas produced a 4:0 run between the 15th and 25th minute for a huge 8:3 advantage.
Savona – Tourcoing 13:10 (2:2, 3:1, 5:4, 3:3) – first match 8:5
Savona: Djurdjic 6, Patchaliev 4, Rocchi 1, Rizzo 1, Lanzoni 1.
Tourcoing: Dasic 2, Marzouki 2, Kujacic 2, D.Zivkovic 1, Gagulic 1, Krizman 1, Draskovic 1.
Tourcoing played well, but Savona’s victory in an aggregate score wasn’t in danger. The French went ahead just once. In the 11th minute, Marzouki scored from an extra player for 3:2. But, the Italians, whose power engines were Bogdan Djurdjic and Andrea Patchaliev, earned a 2-goal advantage before the third period (5:3). The hosts controlled the match and the result in the second half, so the game had a peaceful ending.