Noisy-le-Sec earned an away win over Tourcoing, while Montpellier beat Pays d’Aix at home in the first matches of the quarterfinals of the playoffs of the French League.
French Championship, playoffs, quarterfinals (best-of-two)
Tourcoing – Noisy-le-Sec 9:10 (1:2, 2:2, 2:4, 4:2)
Tourcoing: Grgurevic 3, Vincourt 2, Krisman 2, Rocchietta 1,Randjic 1
Noisy-le-Sec: Rasovic 4, Petkovic 4, Marzouki 1, Krapic 1.
Montpellier – Pays d’Aix 13:10 (3:3, 5:5, 1:1, 4:1)
Montpellier: Piot 3, Ivankovic 3, Kalinic 2, Delas 2, Mustur 1, D. Zivkovic 1, Spilliaert 1
Pays d’Aix: Gagulic 2,Khasz 2, Djerkovic 1, Dino 1, Monneret 2, Gluhaic 1, Popadic 1.
Noisy-le-Sec, the third-placed team in the regular season, is the favorite in the clash with Tourcoing (6th place in the league). Noisy won the first match against Tourcoing in the regular season (15:10), and the second game was ended in a 15:15 draw.
Noisy dictated the pace throughout the first quarterfinal match. The Parisians, led by Viktor Rasovic and Antonio Petkovic, built a 4-goal lead in the third period (7:3) and again in the fourth (9:5 and 10:6). The hosts scored three unanswered goals in the last four minutes and saved chances to reach the semis. Noisy, which will be the host in the second game, is still the favorite.
Pays d’Aix finished the regular season in 5th place, ahead of 6th-placed Montpellier. The two teams met only once in the regular season. Pays d’Aix achieved a convincing win in Aix-en-Provence (14:6) ten days ago. The sides didn’t play in the first half of the season, because Aix didn’t travel to Montpellier (an 8:0 win was awarded to Montpellier).
The first quarterfinal game was an even contest for more than three quarters. Pays d’Aix led just twice (2:1, 3:2). Montpellier built a 2-goal lead in the second quarter (7:5). But, Pays d’Aix caught up with them quickly. The teams were in a neck-and-neck race until 10:10 (26th minute). Montpellier produced a 3:0 rush in the last six minutes and earned a solid advantage before the return game in Aix-en-Provence.
The first two teams in the regular season, Marseille, and Strasbourg, are directly qualified for the semifinals.