The last round of the Champions League Group B produced expected outcomes.
Pro Recco beat Marseille in the derby (11:8) and confirmed 1st place in the group, ahead of the French.
Before the 14th round, it was known that Jug would finish in 3rd and Hannover in 4th place. These two teams met in Hannover and shared the points (14:14) in their last European rehearsal before the Final Eight in Belgrade.
The visiting teams collected points in the remaining two matches. Crvena Zvezda beat Spandau in a thrilling game (12:11) and moved from 8th place, while OSC Budapest was too strong for Steaua (15:9).
Group B, final standings: 1. Pro Recco 39, 2. Marseille 33, 3. Jug 31, 4. Hannover 21, 5. OSC 19, 6. Spandau 10, 7. Crvena Zvezda 7, 8. Steaua 4.
Pro Recco – Marseille 11:8 (3:3, 5:0, 1:4, 2:1)
Pro Recco: Zalanki 4, Ivovic 3, Hallock 3, Younger 1.
Marseille: Crousillat 3, Prlainovic 3, Spaic 1, Bodegas 1.
Marseille needed a 7-goal win to climb atop the group. Recco quickly proved that it wouldn’t allow a miracle. The Italians earned a 2:0 lead in the fifth minute of the game played in front of the packed stands of the outdoor pool “Punta Sant’Anna”, located in a beautiful location near the seashore in the town of Recco. After renovation, this was the first international official game in the “Punta Sant’Anna”. Marseille leveled at 2:2 in the 8th minute. Immediately after, Aleksandar Ivovic put the hosts in front. Still, Vladan Spaic closed the quarter with an action goal for 3:3 with just three seconds to go.
However, Recco ran over the French in the second quarter. The hosts, led by Gergo Zalanki scored five unanswered goals (four action goals and one with an extra player) to jump to an 8:3 lead.
In the 19th minute, Andrija Prlainovic converted a penalty shot to end Marseille’s goalless phase that lasted 10:05 minutes and the visitors started coming back. By the end of the third period, they reduced the gap to two goals (7:9). Marseille earned an extra player in its first possession in the final period. Prlainovic converted it to 8:9 and the game entered a thrilling finish. Neither Recco nor Marseille gave up. They fought hard until the end. Midway through the fourth period, Aleksandar Ivovic netted a nice action goal for 10:8. After that, both teams had good chances. However, only Recco’s center-forward Ben Hallock managed to find the net. He pushed Recco to 11:8 with 95 seconds to go and the Italians secured the three points.
Hannover – Jug 14:14 (4:5, 6:3, 3:2, 1:4)
Waspo 98 Hannover: Radovic 3, Da.Brguljan 2, Nagaev 2,Kubisch 2, Corusic 1, Macan 1, Real 1, Muslim 1, M.Brguljan 1, Schuetze 1.
Jug AO: Papanastasiou 4, Zuvela 4, Argyropoulos 3, Krzic 2, Stahr 1.
Jug arrived in Hannover with only 12 players. Most of them were juniors. Since the game had no importance, Jug’s coach Vjekoslav Kobescak decided to give a chance to younger players. But, Kobescak also stayed in Dubrovnik because he got ill shortly before the trip. The club’s director Ognjen Krzic replaced Kobescak on the bench.
A rejuvenated team from Dubrovnik managed to earn a point with a stunning finish. The visitors had a 5:4 lead after the first period. They doubled the advantage in the middle of the second (7:5), but Hannover produced a 5:1 run and went to 10:8 before the middle break.
The equal battle continued after a 3-minute pause, but the hosts dictated the pace. Early in the third period, Jug leveled at 10:10, but Hannover responded with three goals and entered the final period with a 13:10 advantage. Three and a half minutes before the end, it stood 14:11. However, Jug was able to come back. The Croats leveled in the 31st minute after Zuvela converted a man-up for 14:14. The visitors even had a chance to secure a win in the last attack. Still, Hannover managed to save a point.
Spandau 04 – Crvena Zvezda 11:12 (2:3, 3:3, 4:3, 2:3)
Spandau 04: Dedovic 3, Strelezkij 2, Kholod 2, Chiru 1, Bozic 1, Tkac 1, Restovic 1.
Crvena Zvezda: Subotic 4, Basara 2, Tankosic 2, Pjesivac 1, Radjen 1, Vukicevic 1, M.Radovic 1
Crvena Zvezda finished the season with two wins against the same rival. In the first round, the “red-whites” beat Spandau 12:9. Today, both teams had no pressure and played an exciting match. Crvena Zvezda recorded its second win over the Berliners thanks to a last gasp goal.
This was a game with a lot of twists and turns. The Serbs opened the match better and earned a 2:0 lead. In the second period, Spandau went ahead for the first time – 5:4. Still, Crvena Zvezda had a 6:5 advantage at the middle break, scoring a goal nine seconds before the end of the 2nd quarter.
Spandau led 9:8 at the finish of the third period, but Crvena Zvezda closed this period with another late goal. Gavril Subotic hit the back of the net for 9:9, just 32 seconds before the last break.
The fourth period was a “tit for tat” battle. Crvena Zvezda took a lead twice (10:9 and 11:10), but Spandau equalized on both occasions. Still, Crvena Zvezda finished the quarter in a similar way as the previous two periods. The visitors earned a man-up with 27 seconds to go. Their head coach Dejan Savic called a time-out. In the last second of the attack, Veljko Tankosic scored from a difficult position for 12:11. After that, Spandau had no time for a third equalizer.
Steaua – OSC Budapest 9:15 (2:3, 1:3, 4:5, 2:4)
Steaua Bucharest: Neamtu 4, Fulea 2, Negrean 1, Mudrazija 1, A.Gheorghe 1.
OSC Budapest: Manhercz 3, E.Csacsovszky 2, Vin. Vigvari 2, Dala 2, Sziladi 1, Toth 1, Burian 1, Bundschuh 1, Harai 1.
OSC led throughout the game in Bucharest. The Romanians managed to come close just twice in the early stage of the encounter (1:2 and 2:3). OSC had a 4-goal advantage already in the second period (6:2). In the 20th minute, they went to 10:4, and after that, only a winning margin was in question.
1.Pro Recco 14 – 39
2. Marseille 14 – 33
3. Jug Dubrovnik 14 – 31
4. Waspo 98 Hannover 14 – 21
5. OSC Budapest 14 – 19
6. Spandau 05 14 – 10
7. Crvena Zvezda 14 – 7
8. Steaua Bucharest 14 – 4