Two Spanish and two Italian clubs will play in the semifinals of the LEN Euro Cup – Telimar, Ortigia (both Italy), Sabadell, and Barcelona (Spain).
The highlight of the return leg was an Italian-Spanish battle in Savona. The second encounter between Savona and Sabadell ended in a 10:10 draw. There was no winner in the first match, too (13:13). So, a penalty shootout decided which team would advance to the top four. The shootout turned into a big drama and a “marathon”. Sabadell secured a 26:25 victory (16:15 in the shootout).
Szolnok, the 2021 LEN Euro Cup winner, finished its European season. After a 5-goal loss to Ortigia in Italy (4:9), Szolnok suffered a 10:15 defeat in Hungary.
Barcelona defeated BVSC in Budapest 12:9 and qualified for the semis, after a 6:6 tie in Catalonia. Telimar Palermo went through after two wins over Mladost Zagreb (16:7 and 11:7).
Last season, two Hungarian clubs played in the final (Szolnok – OSC). This season, there will be no Hungarians in the semis.
Savona – Sabadell 25:26 (2:2, 4:2, 1:3, 3:3, PSO 15:16) – first leg 13:13
Savona: Rocchi 5 (3 in PSO), Fondelli 5 (3), Molina 4 (3), Rizzo 4 (3), Iocchi Gratta 3 (3), Vuskovic 2, Bruni 1, Campopiano 1.
Sabadell: Cabanas 5 (3), Lopez-Escribano 5 (4), Sanahuja 5 (3), Valera 4, Averka 4 (3), Bertran 3 (3).
Savona continued its “tradition”. Savona drew six of their last seven games in the European competitions this season. But, this time, a point wasn’t enough for success. To remind, Savona qualified to the playoffs of the Champions League, although it didn’t record a win in the 2nd round – it won a point in each of three matches in the group.
There were a lot of twists and turns in today’s game. Savona had a 6:4 lead at the middle break, but Sabadell was the better rival in the second half. The Spaniards scored three unanswered goals in the third period for a 7:6 lead. Still, Savona’s Rocchi closed the third period just three seconds from time for 7:7
In the middle of the last quarter, Sabadell built a 2-gal lead (10:8). But, the hosts caught up with the Spaniards in the 30th minute (10:10). There were no goals in the remaining time, and the match entered the shootout.
Scorers made no mistakes in the first 15th rounds of the shootout! After 30 shots, the score was 25:25 (15:15 in PSO). Savona’s Molina was the first one who didn’t find the net in the shootout. Lorrio saved his shot in the 16th series. That was followed by two saves on both ends of the pool (Savona’s Da Rold blocked a shot from Sanahuja, while Lorrio posted another save after Iocchi Gratta’s shot). The drama was ended in the 17th round and after the 34th shot – Lopez Escribano hit the back of the net for Sabadell’s 26:25 victory!
Szolnok – Ortigia 10:15 (3:2, 1:4, 3:6, 3:3) – first leg 4:9
Szolnok: Konarik 3, Jansik 2, Angyal 1, Nagy 1, Gbadamassi 1, Zovic 1, Teleki 1.
Ortigia: Gallo 4, Rossi 3, Mirarchi 2, Napolitano 1, F. COndemi 2, A. Condemi 1, Cassia 1, Ferrero 1.
Szolnok opened the game with a 2:0 lead and the home teams’ fans had hopes that the winner of the 2021 LEN Euro Cup could erase the 5-goal deficit from the first match. But, Ortigia went ahead in the 13th minute (5:4), while it built a 9:4 lead in the third period and killed all the hosts’ hopes
Several key players left Szolnok during the transfer window. On the other side, Ortigia is a very good team. However, the Hungarian champion was not expected to finish the European campaign in the LEN Euro Cup quarterfinals.
BVSC – Barcelona 9:12 (3:4, 0:2, 4:3, 2:3) – 1st leg 6:6
BVSC Zuglo:M.Nagy 3, Pasztor 3, Csapo 1, Gyarfas 1M.Meszaros 1.
Barcelona: Mallarach 5, Tahull 2, Ramon 2, Goma 1, Garcia 1, Durik 1.
Two weeks ago, BVSC wasted a 2-goal lead (6:4), and let Barcelona equalize in the dying seconds (6:6) of the first game. Today, the Spaniards controlled the game. Barceloneta had a 3-goal advantage at halftime (6:3). In the middle of the third period, they went to 7:3. However, BVSC didn’t give in. The hosts came very close to the rival in the fourth quarter (8:9 in the 27th and 9:10 in the 28th minute). But, BVSC couldn’t find the net in the last four minutes, while Barceloneta netted two and celebrated a 12:9 victory.
Telimar – Mladost 16:7 (3:1, 6:3, 2:1, 5:2) – 1st leg 11:7
Telimar Palermo: Vlahovic 4, Irving 3, Basic 3, Occhione 2, Del Basso 1, Maryiali 1, Lo Casco 1, Lo DIco 1.
Mladost: Vrbnjak 2, Bajic 2, Dasic 1,Samardzic 1, Biljaka 1.
Everything in the duel Telimar-Mladost was more or less clear after the first game, played in Zagreb. Telimar proved who the favorite was once more this evening and cruised to the semifinals.
Semifinals: January 12 and February 9, 2022
Finals: March 5 and March 26, 2022.