Next weekend, two Spanish, one Russian and one Italian team will battle for the first European water polo trophy in the 2020/21 season, and the first after the coronavirus outbreak.
The Final Four of the LEN Trophy will start tomorrow in Barcelona. Sabadell, Mataro (both Spain), Kinef Kirishi (Russia) and SIS Roma (Italy) will take part.
On Day 1, Mataro will play against SIS Roma in the first semifinal. After that, Sabadell and Kinef will face off.
Mataro is the only of the four teams that have already won the LEN Trophy (it happened in 2016). Still, Sabadell and Kinef are the favorites.
Sabadell has five titles of the European champion in its treasury (2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2019). Kinef won the LEN Euro League twice (2017 and 2018), and was the runner-up five times. So, the encounter between Kinef and Sabadell, the winners of the last four editions of the Euro League will be a derby of the semifinals.
Kinef arrived at the LEN Trophy, after it was stunned by Dynamo Uralochka in the Russian derby of the Euro League quarterfinals. Dynamo produced a big surprise in the first leg in Kirishi (11:8). Kinef was better in the second leg in Uralochka (10:7) but failed to qualify for the LEN Euro League F4 after penalty shootout (5:6).
Sabadell lost to Olympiacos in the quarterfinals (19:21 in aggregate score). The outgoing European champions are coming to the F4 encouraged by a success achieved last week. Sabadell won the Spanish Cup after an 11:9 victory over Mataro in the final.
Mataro is the favorite against SIS Roma. The Italians will make their debut at a final tournament of the LEN competitions. SIS Roma was founded in 2008. The Rome-based side won the 2019 Italian Cup, and it has been the only trophy for this club, so far. But, SIS Roma has its chances. The Italians surprised many in the LEN Euro League qualifications when they defeated one of the favorites Olympiacos. Still, Hungarian Dunaujvaros was a too high hurdle for Roma in the quarterfinals (aggregate 17:21). Mataro was also eliminated by a Hungarian club. UVSE beat Mataro in the quarters (21:18).
LEN Trophy, Final Four (Barcelona)
Saturday, April 17
CN Mataro Goufone – Lifebrain SIS Roma (11:30)
Astralpool Sabadell – Kinef-Surgutneftegas Kirishi (14:00)
Sunday, April 18
3rd-place match (11:30)