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Perrone: It is hard to explain what happened…

The second semi-final was in sharp contrast from the first one. Though Barceloneta took a fine start, luck saved Ferencvaros to fall 0-3 behind, and soon they somehow found the way to equalize and from that point, the encounter changed into a low-paced patience game. No risk, waiting for the rival’s mistakes, not even the man-ups geared up the play. Misses here and there, it stood 3-3 at halftime (with 22 attempts altogether).

Martin Famera’s shot from the distance gave back the lead for Barceloneta, then they missed a 6 on 5 to go by two, instead Nikola Jaksic ‘dunked’ a man-up for 4 4. Felipe Perrone’s trademark counter-goal put the Spaniards ahead once more, but again, they missed their next 6 on 5 (Soma Vogel came up with two great saves) and Zoltan Pohl leveled for 5-5. Though Vogel did his best in a man-down after the corner Josip Vrlic brilliantly finished his center-action so Barceloneta was ahead before the last break.

Finally, the gap was doubled early in the fourth, Denes Varga’s nice backhander was caught by Dani Lopez, Perrone stormed away, earned a penalty and Alvaro Ortega buried it for 5-7. Lopez had a stop in a crucial man-down but the Spaniards hit the block in their 6 on 5 and Denes Varga sent the ball home from a dying extra. Soon it was 7-7, Varga hit from action this time, the ball sneaked in from the post with 4:44 to go. And as it happens, another missed Spanish man-up was penalized by a nicely played 6 on 5 from Ferencvaros and they led for the first time in the match at 8-7 with 3:28 remaining. Not even a time-out helped the Spaniards: man- up, shot, gone, and from the next possession Denes Varga showed his real magic with outstanding individual action, so the Hungarians produced a 4-0 rush to win the game 9-7 after being 5-7 down.

Barceloneta wasted their last extra to highlight the way they sank here as they finished the match with a 6:56 scoreless phase and 1 for 15 in man-up and despite having much more shots (31-20) and having a psychological advantage of beating their rivals in the prelims both home and away. On the other end great team-work, Vogel’s extraordinary 65% saving percentage and Denes Varga’s treble in the fourth sent Ferencvaros to the final, quite a feat from a newcomer, arriving from the 4th place in the prelims. They face Olympiacos, just like in December in the Super Cup final where they beat the Greeks in Budapest in a penalty shootout.

“Congratulations for both teams, it was a great fight, maybe it looked a bit slower but it was a very demanding physical game which tired out all players. It’s not easy to play another game after 24 hours, so teams can have its downs during a match and I think we managed to get out from this negative phase a bit stronger than Barceloneta and had more energy in the finish. I have to credit my players as they showed a great character today.” Zsolt Varga, Ferencvaros head coach

“It’s hard to say anything… We lost Alberto Munarriz quite early with three fouls, very strange, he is a key player for us, without him it was much much harder. We had some problems with man-ups and Ferencvaros is a great team so… I really don’t know what to say at this moment.” Jesus Martin, Barceloneta head coach

“It is hard to explain what happened to us in the last quarter, but this is something that starts to repeat in the big games we play. After three very good quarters, we just stopped… This is an exhausting tournament for all teams but we need to find strength for tomorrow’s bronze medal match against Pro Recco.” Felipe Perrone Barceloneta captain.

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