The opening day of the Champions League qualifications and the first day of the international water polo season offered a lot of excitement.
The highlight of the day was an encounter between Radnicki and Primorac in the group in Kragujevac. It was the game for the history of LEN competitions. For the first time, a new rule was used. There are no more ties in the matches in the group stage. In the case of a draw after 32 minutes, a penalty shootout decides a winner (World Aquatics implemented this rule a few months ago). Radnicki emerged as a winner in the thriller and beat Primorac 17:16 (12:12 in the regular time).
Noisy-le-Sec defeated ASC Duisburg convincingly in the same group.
Crvena Zvezda and Barcelona opened the tournament in Hannover with victories over Honved and Waspo Hannover, respectively.
The competitions in the groups in Dubrovnik and Oradea begin tomorrow.
2024 Champions League Qualifications, Day 1
Group A (Hannover)
Honved – Crvena Zvezda 7:10 (3:2, 0:4, 2:3, 2:1)
Honved: Zs. Ekler 2, Vadovics 2, B.Ekler 2, Nyiri 1.
Crvena Zvezda: Vasic 2, Vukicevic 2, Radovic 2, Bursac 1, Subotic 1, Gogov 1, Lukas 1.
Waspo98 – Barcelona 9:11 (4:3, 1:2, 1:3, 3:3)
Waspo98 Hannover: Benic 3, Macan 2, Jaeschke 2, Milradovic 1, Schipper 1.
Barcelona: Bertran 3, Valls 2, Veich 1, Villamayor 1, Andrade 1, Goma 1, Alegre 1, Daura 1.
Apollon Smyrnis bye
Crvena Zvezda passed the first of several high hurdles at the tournament in group A, in the outdoor pool in Hannover. Despite Honved starting quite well, Crvena Zvezda secured a win practically before the final quarter, thanks to a 6:0 series in the middle of the match.
In the 8th minute, the Hungarians took a 3:1 lead, but just nine seconds before the first break, Milos Vukicevic made it 2:3.
That goal was the start of the Serbs’ great series. After the first break, they tightened their defense and dominated the middle two quarters. Honved had six man-ups in the second and third periods but converted only one. Crvena Zvezda scored four unanswered goals in the second quarter and opened the third period with two. After 37 seconds of play in the second half, Vukicevic widened the gap to four with a nice back-hander for 7:3. Shortly after, Crvena Zvezda earned a penalty shot in a counterattack. Subotic sent the ball into the net and the Serbs went to 8:3.
Zsombor Ekler ended Honved’s silence, which lasted 13 minutes, for 4:8. Still, the Hungarians didn’t come close to Crvena Zvezda in the last quarter and a half.
For the second time in ten days, Barcelona defeated Hannover. Last week, the Spaniards beat the Germans by seven goals in a friendly tournament in Barcelona (11:4). Hannover learned from the mistakes made in Catalonia, and played better, but it wasn’t enough for at least a point.
The teams fought a hard battle until the middle of the fourth period. The hosts took a 2-goal lead in the first quarter (2:0, 3:1, 4:2). The sides were tied at five at the middle break. In the 19th minute, Barcelona, which entered the season with nine new players, went in front for the first time – 6:5. Barcelona gained a 2-goal advantage only three seconds before the last break after Goma converted a man-up for 8:6. The home side came back into the match. It leveled at 8:8 (28th minute). However, Barcelona responded with three straight goals and secured three points.
Group B (Kragujevac)
ASC Duisburg – Noisy-le-Sec 8:17 (1:4, 1:5,3:4, 3:4)
ASC Duisburg: Seifert 3, Kueppers 2, Gusakov 2, Gergelyfi 1.
Noisy-le-Sec: V.Rasovic 5, Saudadier 2, Do Carmo 2, Caumette 2, Bowen 2, Ondo 1 Bjorch 1, Krapic , Matkovic 1.
Radnicki – Primorac 17:16 (3:3, 2:4, 3:1, 4:4, PSO 5:4)
Radnicki: N. Stanojevic 3, Randjic 3, Vickovic 3, Sulc 2, Adeishvili 1,
Primorac: Mrsic 3, Dj. Stanojevic 3, Perov 2, Dr.Brguljan 1, Markovic 1, Vico 1, P.Cetkovic 1,
Scorers from a shoootut: Radnicki: Randjic, Kojic, Jankovic, Sulc, Vickovic. Primorac: Mrsic, Gopcevic, Dj.Stanojevic, P.Cetkovic (Brguljan hit the post).
Noisy-le-Sec didn’t need much time to prove who the favorite was in the game against Duisburg. The French side, led by returnee Viktor Rasovic, earned a 4:0 lead in the first five minutes. By halftime, Noisy stretched the margin to seven (9:2) and added two goals in the first three minutes of the second half for 11:2. The Parisians maintained the difference until the end.
The second game was an even contest, but Radnicki was a team that chased a rival for most of the time. Primorac earned an early 2:0 lead. The hosts leveled at 2:2, 3:3, and 4:4. At the finish of the first half, the Montenegrins produced a 3:0 run to jump to 7:4. Radnicki narrowed the gap before the middle break (5:7). Nobody had an advantage before the final quarter (8:8).
Less than five minutes before the end, Radnicki took the lead for the first time. An experienced newcomer, Miroslav Randjic, hit the back of the net from a distance (11:10). After that, the teams exchanged goals. Two minutes before the end, veteran Drasko Brguljan, a returnee to Primorac, scored an equalizer (12:12). In the remaining time, there were a lot of mistakes, lost balls and turnover fouls, but there were no goals. Therefore, the match entered a penalty shootout. Nine of ten shooters found the net in the shootout. Drasko Brguljan hit the post in the 5th round. Radnicki won two, and Primorac took one point.
Day 2, September 8
GROUP A (Hannover): Barcelona – Crvena Zvezda (16:30), Waspo 98 Hannover – Apollon Smyrnis (18:30). Honved bye
GROUP B (Kragujevac): Brescia – ASC Duisburg (18:00), Primorac – Noisy-le-Sec (20:00). Radnicki bye.
GROUP C (Oradea):Vouliagmeni – Ortigia (18:00 – 17:00 CET), CSM Oradea – Primorje EB (19:45 – 18:45 CET)
GROUP D (Dubrovnik): Jug AO – Dinamo Bucharest (18:00), OSC Budapest – Tourcoing (20:00)