Marseille made a huge step toward the final of the French Championship.
The titleholder recorded a big away win over Tourcoing (17:10) in the first leg of the semifinals.
Noisy-le-Sec beat Strasbourg. Four goals separated the rivals at the end of the game (11:7). Noisy had a nice advantage, but everything is still open before the return leg in Strasbourg.
Montpellier and Pays d’Aix shared the points (12:12) in a thrilling first match of the playoffs for 5th place.
Tourcoing – Marseille 10:17 (4:4, 1:5, 2:3, 3:5)
Tourcoing: Rocchietta 3, Krisman 3, Canonne 2, Randjic 1, Gagulic 1.
Marseille: Crousillat 5, Prlainovic 3, Vernoux 3, Kovacevic 2, Vukicevic 2, Bouet 1, Marion-Vernoux 1.
Noisy-le-Sec – Strasbourg 11:7 (2:2, 3:1, 4:2, 2:2)
Noisy-le-Sec Cercle 93: Marzouki 5, Peisson 3, Petkovic 2, Caumette 1.
Strasbourg: Buga 3, Babic 1, Misic 1, Bachlier 1, Canovas 1.
Marseille defeated Tourcoing convincingly, but it wasn’t an easy win. At the first break, the score was 4:4. In the 14th minute, Marseille had a slim 6:5 lead. Then, the visitors produced a 3:0 rush and earned a 4-goal lead (9:5). The favorite dictated the pace. In the middle of the fourth quarter, Marseille built a 7-goal lead for the first time (15:8) and maintained the difference until the end. Ugo Crousillat led the champions with five goals, Andrija Prlainovic and Thomas Vernoux added three each.
The middle two quarters were vital for Noisy’s victory over Strasbourg. In the 12th minute, the Parisians earned a 5:2 lead. However, Strasbourg was able to come back. The visitors leveled at 5:5 early in the third. But, Noisy retook control. The hosts scored four straight goals before the last break and went to 9:5. Mehdi Marzouki opened the fourth period with his 5th goal to make 10:5. Strasbourg narrowed the distance in the remaining time and keeps hope that it can overcome a 4-goal deficit in the return match.
Montpellier –Pays d’Aix 12:12 (2:3, 3:5, 4:5, 3:0)
Montpellier: Piot 4, Ivankovic 2, Kalinic 2, D.Zivkovic 2, Mustur 1,Spilliaert 1.
Pays d’Aix: Bakircilar 3, Giga 3, Pirat 2, Khasz 2, Grgurevic 2.
Pays d’Aix had a 5-goal advantage already in the second quarter (8:3). The visitors entered the final quarter leading 12:9. But, they couldn’t find the net in the fourth quarter. Montpellier was goalless for a long time, too. Still, the home side netted three unanswered goals in the last 01:46 minutes and saved the match to a 12:12 draw.