Marseille or Strasbourg will clinch the 2023 French Men’s Cup in the “Ives Blanc” pool in Aix-en-Provence tomorrow.
These two teams advanced to the gold-medal match of this season’s edition of the French Cup (“Trophy Pierre Garsau”), beating their rivals in today’s semifinals.
Strasbourg edged out Noisy-le-Sec in the first semifinal match, which has been the most exciting game of the tournament so far. Strasbourg secured a 9:8 win, scoring a last-gasp goal two seconds before the end.
The second semifinal game didn’t offer much excitement. Marseille beat Tourcoing convincingly– 21:10. Tourcoing kept up with the French champion in the opening minutes. From the second quarter, the match was a one-sided contest.
Noisy and Tourcoing will battle for the bronze medal. Montpellier defeated Pays d’Aix, while Sete bettered Reims in the semifinals for the classification 5th – 8th place.
Noisy-le-Sec – Strasbourg 9:10 (3:2, 1:3, 2:2, 3:3)
Noisy-le-Sec: Petkovic 3, Krapic 3, Bowen 2, Caumette 1.
Strasbourg: Canovas 4, Popadic 2, Misic 2, Vitrant 1, Bachelier 1.
From the first whistle, Noisy-le-Sec and Strasbourg were in a close battle. Strasbourg scored an opening goal, already after 23 seconds of play (Bachelier), and led for most of the time. In the first half, Noisy went in front just once. Alex Bowen converted a penalty for 3:2 in the 8th minute. However, Strasbourg produced a 3:0 run in the second quarter. Vlado Popadic closed that series with a nice goal to give his team a 5:3 lead in the 15th minute. The second quarter ended in the same way as the first period. Noisy earned a penalty shot in its last possession. Alex Bowen took responsibility again and sent the ball into the net for 4:5.
Strasbourg got a chance to double the advantage from a penalty early in the third quarter. Canovas made no mistake (6:4). After that, Noisy tightened its defense. Goalkeeper Remi Garsau posted a few nice saves and the Parisians leveled at 6:6. However, just five seconds before the last break, Lorris Canovas gave Strasbourg a 7:6 lead.
The fourth quarter brought new twists and turns. The defenses dominated until the 29th minute, when David Caumette broke the deadlock to level at 7:7. Just 39 seconds later, Antonio Petkovic put Noisy in front (8:7). However, a new turn was yet to come. Strasbourg responded with two goals. Vlado Popadic scored from a 6 on 5 to give Strasbourg a 9:8 lead with 61 seconds left on the clock. Ivan Krapic responded in the same manner. He converted a man-up (9:9) 41 seconds before the last buzzer. Noisy blocked a shot from Strasbourg’s player in the dying seconds, but the ball went to the team with the blue caps and Strasbourg had another possession. Popadic assisted Steven Vitrant with a long pass. Vitrant beat the buzzer founding the net from a distance with two seconds to go, sending Strasbourg into the final.
Marseille – Tourcoing 21:10 (7:4, 6:2, 4:1, 4:3)
Marseille: Vernoux 4, Crousillat 3, Bodegas 3, Bouet 3, Izdinsky 2, Marion-Vernoux 2, Daube 1, Prlainovic 1, Cuckovic 1, Vanpeperstraete 1.
Tourcoing: D.Zivkovic 2, Cathudal 2, Marzouki 2, Canonne 2, Vincourt 1, Dasic 1.
Even 11 goals were scored in the first quarter of the duel between Marseille and Tourcoing. The reigning champion controlled the game. Marseille built a 2:0 lead in the first 87 seconds of the game. Tourcoing narrowed the gap a few times (1:2, 2:3, 3:4, 4:5). But, Marseille closed the first quarter with two goals in the last 75 seconds (Marion-Vernoux and Vernoux) and took a 3-goal lead for the first time (7:4).
Marseille added two straight goals in the first three minutes of the second period and stretched the margin to five (9:4). At that moment, it was more-less clear that Tourcoing couldn’t make a surprise. By the end of this quarter, Marseille earned a 7-goal lead (13:6). The French champion continued ruling the field after the middle break. At the end, 11 goals separated the rivals, which was much more than expected. Marseille was the favorite, but Tourcoing has a quality team that will play in the LEN Euro Cup quarterfinals next week.
Montpellier – Pays d’Aix 9:8 (2:0, 2:5, 2:1, 3:2)
Montpellier: Kalinic 2, Ivankovic 2, Piot 2, Dory 1, Vilcot Lampert 1, Mustur 1 .
Pays d’Aix: Peisoon 2, Bakircilar 2, Rocchietta 2, Vrdoljak 2.
Reims – Sete 12:15 (5:6, 2:2, 1:4, 4:3)
Reims: Bulat 3, Culina 2, Missy 2, Lambert 1, Dubar 1, Babic 1, Vix 1, Le Goff 1.
Sete: Randjic 4, Furman 4, Bofill 3, Tomic 2, Lopinot 1, Chandieu 1.
Montpellier and Sete will play in the 5th-place match.
The morning session of the 2nd competition day started with an encounter between Montpellier and home team Pays d’Aix. Montpellier earned a 2:0 lead in the first eight minutes. The second quarter presented a different scenario. Pays d’Aix’s attack was excellent. The hosts entered the second half leading 5:4. In the second half, Montpellier chased the rival and leveled at 5:5, 6:6, and 7:7, but Pays d’Aix regained a slim lead all three times. Cedric Rocchietta gave Pays d’Aix an 8:7 advantage by converting a man-up in the 29th minute. However, Montpellier had the last laugh, scoring the last two goals in the match. Uros Kalinic set the final score and secured the win for Montpellier. He made it 9:8 with 68 seconds left on the clock.
The match Reims – Sete had a peaceful ending, although the first two periods saw a balanced battle. Deep into the second period, the teams were tied at 7:7. At the finish of the first half, Sete, led by Miroslav Randjic and Adam Furman, started a great series. Sete scored five unanswered goals and went to 12:7 (23rd minute). After that, Reims couldn’t come close to the rival.
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