The home teams took the points in all matches of Day 1 in the Champions League Groups C and D.
The matches in Group C saw favorites Ferencvaros and Jadran Split struggle to defeat their opponents Jadran Herceg Novi and Crvena Zvezda, respectively. The games had a similar pattern. They were open until the fourth quarter. In fact, the visiting team had an advantage, but the hosts managed to make a comeback from a two-goal deficit and secure a win in the fourth quarter in each game. Jadran S beat Crvena Zvezda 16:12, while Ferencvaros secured a 9:7 win over Jadran HN.
The games in Group D offered less excitement. Barceloneta demolished Spandau 04 – 16:6. Marseille beat Vouliagmeni by two goals (15:13). But unlike Ferencvaros and Jadran Split, Marseille didn’t leave the decision for the final quarter. The French dictated the pace throughout the match and had a 4-goal lead before the fourth period.
2024 Champions League, Day 1
Ferencvaros – Jadran HN 9:7 (0:2, 2:2, 5:2, 2:1)
Ferencvaros: Di Somma 2, Varga 2, Mandic 1, Argyropoulos 1, Fekete 1, Ad.Nagy 1, Jansik 1.
Jadran Herceg Novi: Da. Radovic 2, Caraj 2, Kholod 1, Nagaev 1, Sladovic 1.
Ferencvaros, which has several outstanding goal-getters on the roster, could score only two goals in the first half. Both teams struggled in the attack in the first quarter. It was obvious that neither of the sides had reached the desired level of shape. However, Jadran should be praised for what it showed in Budapest. Dmitri Kholod broke the deadlock with 56 seconds left in the first period. Just before the buzzer, Caraj doubled the Montenegrins’ advantage.
Ferencvaros got on the scoreboard in the 10th minute – Di Somma made it 1:2. But, Jadran’s defense, commanded by goalie Darko Djurovic, who had a great evening (14 saves), was up to the task in the 2nd period, as in the 1st quarter. Ferencvaros trailed just by a goal 2:3 at the finish of the second quarter. Still, Caraj closed the first half, so Jadran was 4:2 up at halftime.
The hosts dictated the pace after the middle break. They produced a 3:0 run in the first five minutes of the second half. Denes Varga put the Hungarians in front with an excellent goal in his style – 5:4. Jadran quickly leveled at 5:5. Then at 6:6. Still, Ferencvaros entered the final quarter with an advantage, as Dusan Mandic found the net twelve seconds before the last break for 7:6. Matija Sladovic equalized at 7:7 in the 25th minute. But, as the match was approaching an end, Ferencvaros’ goalkeeper, Soma Vogel, played better and better and didn’t let Jadran add its 8th goal. Midway through the final period, Ferencvaros earned a two-goal lead (9:7) and kept it until the end.
Jadran S – Crvena Zvezda 16:13 (4:4, 3:4, 4:3, 5:2)
Jadran Split: Marinic Kragic 4, Fatovic 3, Kharkov 2, Dj. Radovic 2, Duzevic 2, Cagalj 1, Butic 1, Vrlic 1.
Crvena Zvezda: Vasic 3, Bursac 2, Subotic 2, Gogov 2, Basara 1, Milojevic 1, Gajic 1, Markovic 1,
The encounter was a chess game in the first three periods. Crvena Zvezda offered a strong resistance to Jadran, which entered the season with several high-class reinforcements. Moreover, the Serbs controlled the result until the last break. Crvena Zvezda took a one-goal lead nine times in the first two quarters and a half, and Jadran leveled each time. In the third quarter, Crvena Zvezda streched the margin to two for the first time. Gogov netted from a counter for 10:9. Shortly after, Gajic converted a man-up to 11:9. The visitors were at full speed. In the 22nd minute, they had a chance to increase their lead to three goals, but Mate Anic saved a penalty shot from Marko Radovic.
Crvena Zvezda paid for the missed opportunity. In the eight minutes that followed after the saved penalty shot, Jadran made a 7:1 series (from 9:11 to 16:12), which decided the match.
Loren Fatovic scored twice in 26 seconds (one goal from a rebound and the other from a counter) and Jadran caught up with the Serbs for the 10th time – 11:11.
The save from Anic and two quick goals from Fatovic were a turning point. Jadran stopped Crvena Zvezda’s rush and started taking control.
After two minutes of play in the fourth period, Jerko Marinic Kragic put Jadran in front for the first time – 12:11. The same player doubled the hosts’ advantage. Gavril Subotic netted for 12:13, but Crvena Zvezda lost the momentum. Jadran replied with three straight goals and went to safe 16:12.
Both teams made the most of their opportunities after the opponents’ exclusions. The rivals had the same percentages of extra player shots – 8/11. Jadran had two penalty shots and converted both. Crvena Zvezda scored three goals from four penalty shots.
Marseille – Vouliagmeni 15:13 (4:3, 3:2, 5:3, 3:5)
Marseille: Vernoux 6, Manhercz 3, Prlainovic 2, Bouet 2, Crousillat 1, Vukicevic 1.
Vouliagmeni: Kourovanis 4, Kalogeropoulos 3, Papasifakis 3, Chalyvopoulos 1, Spachits 1, Ubovic 1.
Vouliagmeni won 4th place in the 2023 Champions League, while Marseille was far from the Final Eight. However, the French were the favorites today. This summer, they signed several excellent reinforcements, and Vouliagmeni had to rejuvenate the team.
Vouliagmeni took the lead just once – in the fourth minute, Kalogeropoulos made it 1:2. The French replied with two, and Kalogeropoulos added one more goal to level at 3:3. In the 8th minute, Thomas Vernoux, the man of the match, handled excellently, even though he was well-guarded, to make it 4:3 from a two-meter shot.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Krisztian Manhercz, one of Marseille’s additions, converted a man-up. Two minutes later, Alexandre Bouet scored an action goal for 6:3. That Marseille’s 3:0 series, opened by Vernoux and closed by Bouet, set the tone of the match. Vouliagmeni fought hard, but it couldn’t come close to the hosts. The Greeks reduced the gap to two (4:6, 5:7, 6:8, 7:9). However, Marseille controlled the result. In the 23rd minute, Krisztian Manhercz scored from deep left and converted to make it 11:7.
Marseille kept a four-goal lead for a while but couldn’t celebrate the win too early. Vouliagmeni didn’t surrender. The Greeks halved the deficit at the finish. All in all, both can be satisfied with their performances. A new team of Vouliagmeni proved it could make trouble for the favorites.
Barceloneta – Spandau 04 16:6 (4:1, 3:1, 5:0, 4:4)
Barceloneta: Sanahuja 4, Perrone 3, De Toro 2, Zovic 2, Paul 2, Larumbe 1, Tahull 1, Biel 1.
Spandau 04: Tomasovic 3, Gbadamassi 1, Strelezkij 1, Abramson 1.
The match in Barcelona proved which team was the heavy favorite for the top spot and which was considered an underdog in this group.
Barceloneta dominated from the beginning. The Spaniards opened the match with a 4:0 run. At halftime, it stood 7:2. The hosts sank the Germans in the third quarter so that they could relax in the last quarter.
Spandau has a team that can put up a good fight if it shows its best, but today, the Germans were far from their best performance. Anyway, Barceloneta is much stronger.
The next round is scheduled for October 6/7. For the full schedule, visit Total Waterpolo Arena’s page: The 2024 Champions League calendar and live scores