Szolnok defeated OSC Budapest in the 1st match of the LEN Euro Cup final, played in Szolnok today.
The hosts earned a 3-goal advantage (14:11) before the return leg (Budapest, May 8). They made a significant step towards the trophy. OSC will face a challenging task in two weeks. A 3-goal distance in the clash of the big rivals, like Szolnok and OSC are, isn’t tiny, but everything is still open.
It was an exciting game, Szolnok came back from a two-goal deficit. The home side, led by a hero of the match Filip Filipovic, secured a 3-goal win in the final minutes.
LEN Euro Cup finals, 1st leg
Szolnok – OSC Budapest 14:11 (2:3,5:4, 3:1, 4:3)
Szolnok: Filipovic 5, Drasovic 2, Szeghalmi 2, Schmolcz 1, A.Nagy 1, Pijetlovic 1, Jansik 1, Konarik 1.(Nagy 14 saves)
OSC Budapest: Manhercz 3, Csacsovszky 2, Erdelyi 2, Burian 2, Harai 1, Salamon 1 (Levai 10 saves).
Szolnok took an early 2:1 lead. However, OSC responded with three straight goals and earned a 2-goal advantage (4:2) early in the second quarter. The visitors kept a 2-goal distance until the 15th minute (7:5), and then Szolnok started coming back. Filip Filipovic and David Jansik found the net in two consecutive attacks in the 15th minute, and the hosts equalized before the middle break – 7:7.
Dusko Pijetlovic opened the third quarter by converting a man-up for 8:7. Krisztian Manhercz halted Szolnok’s series of goals shortly after. OSC’s best scorer found the net from the penalty shot to level at 8:8.
But, Szolnok answered with a new 3:0 run. By the end of the third quarter, the hosts went 10:8 up. Radomir Drasovic scored an action goal in the 25th minute for 11:8 and for the first time, the distance between the teams was three goals. But, not for long. OSC reduced the gap quickly (10:11). That was followed by a goal o each side of the pool, and two minutes before the end, Szolnok had a slim 12:11 lead.
Filip Filipovic scored from 6 on 5 to make it 13:11 with 01:57 minutes remaining on the clock. In the next possession, Szolnok’s goalie Viktor Nagy blocked an excellent shot by OSC’s captain Balasz Erdelyi.
A minute and 8 seconds before the end, Szolnok earned an extra player, but there was no goal (Adam Nagy’s shot was blocked). Still, Szolnok didn’t lose the ball and had another chance. Filip Filipovic closed the match. Just 45 seconds before the final buzzer, he scored a nice action goal to set the final score – 14:11. It was his fifth goal in the match. OSC had a power-play advantage in the last possession, but they wasted the chance. Erdely hit the post a few seconds from the end, and Szolnok kept a 3-goal win.
Besides Filipovic, a power-play conversion and goalkeepers made the difference. Viktor Nagy (Szolnok) posted 14 saves, Marton Levai blocked 10 shots. The hosts scored seven power-play goals (they had 15 chances). Szolnok’s players were excluded more times than OSC’s, but the hosts managed to defend their goal well in man-down situations. OSC converted 5 man-ups (5/19).