A long-awaited new season of the Champions League has begun.
Today, the first three matches of Group A were played in the National Center of the Italian Swimming Federation in Ostia, near Rome.
In the first match, Olympiacos defeated Ortigia 6:4. Jug Dubrovnik cruised to a win over Spandau (13:7).
The derby of the day was an encounter between Pro Recco and Marseille. Recco players were trailing by three goals in the middle of this very exciting game, but managed to win in the end – 11:9. Marseille played very good, but the favorite won.
2020/21 Champions League, Round 1
Group A (Ostia), Day 1
Olympiacos – Ortigia 6:4 (1:2, 2:0, 2:1, 1:1)
Olympiacos:Skoumpakis 1, Genidounias 1, Argyropoulos 1, Dervisis 1, Mourikis 1, Kapotsis 1.
Ortigia:Gallo 1, Rossi 1, Vidovic 1, Napolitano 1.
Olympiacos opened the 2020/21 Champions League with a win in a low-scoring match. The Greeks’ goalkeeper Emmanouil Zerdevas was one of the match’s heroes with 11 saves (Ortigia’s goalkeeper Stefano Tempesti collected six). Ortigia, a debutant in the best clubs’ competition in the world, earned a 2:0 lead. The Greeks’ strengthened their defense and scored three unanswered goals by the middle break. Valentino Gallo opened the third period with a goal from a penalty shot for 3:3. Still, Skoumpakis and Morukis responded with two fine goals, and the Greeks led 5:3 before the last period. After three minutes of play in the fourth quarter, Ortigia forced another penalty shot, which Vidovic converted to a goal for 4:5. Shortly after, Kapotsis set the final score.
Only three action goals were seen in this match. Olympiacos converted four man-ups (4 of 7 chances), while Ortigia scored two goals from penalty shots (2/2) and one with an extra man (1/4).
Spandau – Jug 7:13 (1:4, 2:5, 2:2, 2:2)
Spandau 04: Kholod 3, Juengling 2, Dedovic 1, Stamm 1.
Jug AO: Loncar 3, Merkulov 3, Fatovic 2, Papanastasiou 2, Zuvela 1, Benic 1, Krzic 1.
The second match lacked excitement because Jug water polo players proved who the bosses were. Spandau managed to equalize just once (1:1 in the third minute). After that, Jug rushed to a 9:1 lead. The Germans reduced the gap in the last two minutes of the first half. Jug slowed down after the middle break. On the other side, the Germans, who played their first official game after September 27, did their best to avoid a bigger defeat.
Pro Recco – Marseille 11:9 (2:3, 2:3, 4:2,3:1)
Pro Recco: Di Fulvio 3, Mandic 3, Younger 2, Ivovic 2, Presciutti 1.
Marseille:Prlainovic 2, Camarasa 2, Kovacevic 1, Vukicevic 1, Vernoux 1, Spaic 1, Crousillat 1.
The first four goals in the match were scored by the players who grew up in Jadran Herceg Novi’s water polo school. Recco’s captain Aleksandar Ivovic converted a man-up in the first minute for 1:0. Vladan Spaic and Andrija Prlainovic put Marseille in front. Ivovic equalized. Marseille’s Aleksandre Camarasa closed the first quarter as he found the net for 2:3. Marseille dictated the pace in the second period, and it even built a 3-goal lead (5:2 and 6:3).
At halftime, Marseille led 6:4, while Ante Vukicevic regained a 3-goal advantage for the French team in the 13th minute (7:4). After that, Pro Recco started coming back. Dusan Mandic scored in two consecutive attacks with an extra man advantage for 6:7. Francesco Di Fulvio equalized (7:7) three minutes before the last break. Ugo Crousillat gave Marseille an 8:7 lead by converting a man-up. But, Di Fulvio replied immediately in the same manner, and the sides were tied at 8:8 before the final quarter.
In the first minute of the fourth period, Aaron Younger hit the back of the net from a nice long-distance shot and Recco led again (9:8). In the following minutes, both sides displayed excellent defensive play (both goalkeepers – Recco’s Marko Bijac and Marseille’s Dejan Lazovic played very well). Two minutes from the end, Presciutti doubled Recco’s advantage (10:8). Prlainovic cut Marseille’s deficit with 01:40 remaining on the clock (9:10). The French had a chance to equalize, but they failed, while Younger netted his second goal 11 seconds before the end for 11:9.
Schedule for Tuesday, December 15
Group A, Ostia (Day 2)
15.15: Jug – Marseille
17.45: Spandau – Olympiacos
20.15: Ortigia – Pro Recco
Group B, Budapest (Day 1)
14.00: Dinamo – Brescia
16.30: Jadran HN – Ferencvaros
19.00: Hannover – Barceloneta