Two Hungarian, two Serbian teams, and the clubs from Croatia, Greece, Spain, and Russia will play in the quarterfinals of the LEN Euro Cup.
Szolnok, OSC Budapest (both Hungary), Radnicki, Crvena Zvezda (both Serbia), Mladost (Croatia), Sabadell (Spain), Dynamo Moscow (Russia), and Vouliagmeni (Greece) are waiting for the draw for the quarterfinals, after today’s second leg of the Round of 16.
Only seven matches were played today. Radnicki Kragujevac advanced to the quarterfinals without entering the pool. The Serbs’ rival Strasbourg had four players positive for COVID after today’s testing. Besides, the French didn’t act according to the LEN Health Protocol, and the return leg in this duel was suspended.
Today, the most interesting games were played in Athens, Belgrade, and Zagreb. The home sides recorded wins in all three games. Vouliagmeni edged out Novi Beograd (9:8) in Athens and qualified for the quarterfinals after a draw in the first match (7:7). Crvena Zvezda beat Tourcoing 7:6 in Belgrade, while Mladost was better than Barcelona (7:6) in Zagreb.
A week ago, the visiting teams were very successful in the 1st leg, which proved decisive for the outcomes of most of the duels. Only two of the teams which were visitors today qualified for the next round – Sabadell and Radnicki.
Second leg, results: Vouliagmeni (GRE)– Novi Beograd (SRB) 9:8 (first leg 7:7), Szolnok (HUN) – Primorac (MNE) 17:16 (18:8), Mediterrani (ESP)- Sabadell (ESP) 6:17 (9:9) , Mladost (CRO) – Barcelona (ESP) 7:6 (11:9), Dynamo (RUS) – Sintez (RUS) 9:6 (14:12), OSC Budapest (HUN) – Pays d’Aix (FRA) 20:9 (22:6), Crvena Zvezda (SRB) – Tourcoing (FRA) 7:6 (12:9), Strasbourg (FRA) – Radnicki (SRB) match suspended (10:11).
Vouliagmeni – Novi Beograd 9:8 (2:1,1:2, 3:3, 3:2) – 1st leg 7:7
Vouliagmeni: Mylonakis 3, Basic 2, Kalogeropoulos 2, Chalyvopoulos 1, Lozina 1.
Novi Beograd 011: Dj.Filipovic 2, Gogov 2, Shushiashvili 2, Nikolov 2.
After a 7:7 draw in the first match, Novi Beograd and Vouliagmeni played another exciting match.
Vouliagmeni earned a 3:1 advantage in the 11th minute, and for the first and the last time, the distance between the sides was two goals. Novi Beograd leveled the score before the middle break – 3:3. The quick exchange of goals started in the opening minutes of the second half. Vouliagmeni took a lead three times, but Novi Beograd responded with a goal to equalize on each occasion. Georgia’s Nika Shushiashvili opened the fourth quarter with a goal, and the visitors went ahead for the first time (7:6). In the middle of the period, Novi Beograd led 8:7, but Croat Andrija Basic was the only one who found the net in the last four minutes. He scored two goals and secured a 9:8 victory for Vouliagmeni.
Mladost – Barcelona 7:6 (3:1, 1:3, 2:1, 1:1) – 11:9
HAVK Mladost: Milos 2, Bukic 2, Radu 1, Lazic 1, Vrlic 1.
Barcelona: Durik 2, Goma 2, Delgado 2.
Mladost brought a 2-goal advantage home from a trip to Spain. But, the Regional League winner couldn’t relax until the fourth quarter. Barcelona fought hard and didn’t let Mladost celebrate a win too early. The Spaniards kept close to the hosts throughout the match, but they didn’t take a lead.
Mladost, which played without injured Konstantin Kharkov, who was the best scorer in the 1st match, got off to a flying start and jumped to a 3:0 lead. But, Barcelona responded in the same way and equalized – 3:3. At halftime, the rivals were tied at 4:4.
Before the final period, Mladost led 6:5. The hosts’ captain Luka Bukic doubled his team’s advantage -7:5 with 04:40 minutes to go, and everything was more or less decided, because Mladost had a 4-goal advantage in the aggregate score at that moment.
Strasbourg – Radnicki match suspended – 10:11
KVK Radnicki qualified for the quarterfinals without playing the second match. The Serbs arrived in Strasbourg with a 1-goal lead earned in Kragujevac. But, the French club was suspended at today’s technical meeting. On Friday, four Strasbourg players tested positive for COVID. However, the primary reason for the suspension was a mistake made a few days earlier. Strasbourg did not undergo the mandatory PCR test two days before entering the hotel (the first testing had to be done 72 hours before the match, on Wednesday).
Crvena Zvezda – Tourcoing 7:6 (0:1, 2:1, 3:3, 2:1) – 12:9
Crvena Zvezda: Tankosic 3, Subotic 1, Milojevic 1, Vukicevic 1, Trtovic 1.
Tourcoing: Krizman 3, Grgurevic 1, Canonne 1, Kujacic 1.
Crvena Zvezda earned a 3-goal advantage in the first match, mostly thanks to an excellent play in the finish. Today, the Serbs started slowly. Tourcoing took a 2:0 lead in the low-scoring first half. Crvena Zvezda got on the scoreboard in the 14th minute of the game when Veljko Tankosic sent the ball into the net from a penalty shoot. The hosts leveled the score 50 seconds before the middle break.
The second half was an even contest, and that was suitable for the home side. Early in the third period, the hosts’ captain Milos Vukicevic continued Crvena Zvezda’s series and put his team in front (3:2). Tourcoing managed to level the score three times (3:3, 4:4, 5:5), and they grabbed a 6:5 lead in the 26th minute. But, Crvena Zvezda regained a lead (7:6) in the 30th minute. In the remaining time, Tourcoing had a few chances with a man-up, but there were no goals.
OSC – Pays d’Aix 20:9 (4:2, 5:3, 6:2, 5:2) – 22:6
OSC Budapest: Manhercz 6, Toth 3, Erdelyi 3, Burian 2, Salamon 2, Csacsovszky 2, Varnai 1, Dala 1.
Pays d’Aix: Popadic 2, Khasz 2, Djerkovic 1, Saux 1.
The winner of the duel OSC – Pays d’Aix was decided already after the Hungarians’ big win in France in 1st leg. OSC showed no mercy to Pays d’Aix once again. OSC, led by Krisztian Manhercz, cruised to a 20:9 victory.
Mediterrani – Sabadell 6:17 (2:6, 1:4, 2:2, 1:5) – 9:9
Mediterrani: Vujovic 2, Frigola 1,Roca 1, J.Perez 1, G.Garcia 1.
Sabadell: Lopez Escribano 4, Valera 4, Sanahuja 3, Ubovic 2,Bertran 2,, Asensio 1, Martino 1
Sabadell was the firm favorite in the Spanish derby, but the first match was ended with no winner, and that was a quite surprising result. But, Sabadell water polo players didn’t let Mediterrani surprise them once more. The visitors had a 7:2 lead already in the 9th minute. By the end of the first half, Sabadell increased the margin to seven (10:3) and ruined all Mediterrani’s hopes.
After a balanced third period, Sabadell ran over the rival in the final period.
Szolnok – Primorac 17:16 (3:4, 6:5, 5:3, 3:4) – 18:8
Szolnok: Dory 3, Pijetlovic 3, Filipovic 3, Drasovic 3, Schmolcz 2, Angyal 1, Jansik 1, Ge.Kovacs 1.
Primorac: V.Draskovic 7, Matkovic 3, Molthen 1, Perkovic 1, STanojevic 1.
Szolnok beat Primorac by ten goals in Montenegro, so the Hungarians’ relaxed performance in the 2nd leg couldn’t endanger their aggregate win. The match turned into a scoring festival quickly after the beginning. Even 18 goals were scored in the first half, but Szolnok took a lead for the first time only in the middle of the second quarter (6:5). At halftime, it stood 9:9.
Szolnok scored an opening goal in the third period, but Primorac equalized shortly after that (10:10). Then Szolnok netted three in two minutes for 13:10. A young Kotor-based team didn’t surrender, but it couldn’t equalize again.
Dynamo – Sintez 9:6 (2:0, 3:1, 3:3, 1:2) – 14:12
Dynamo Moscow: Usov 4, Magomaev 2, Bugaychuk 2, Rustamov 1.
Sintez Kazan: Bychkov 2, Zakirov 1, Pronin 1, Latypov 1, Shepelev 1.
Dynamo secured its spot in the quarterfinals after the first half. The hosts’ defense in the first two quarters was superb. Dynamo led 5:1 at the middle break, and when Roman Usov found the net for 6:1 in the 17th minute, there was no way back for Sintez.
QUARTERFINALS: March 17 and 24, 2021
SEMIFINALS: April 3 and 10, 2021
FINALS: April 24 and May 8, 2021