Two big derbies in Group A opened the new season in the Champions League.
These two games had different storylines. Brescia and Ferencvaros shared the points in a thrilling game, which was the rematch of the last season’s semifinal (8:8). Novi Beograd beat Radnicki convincingly in the Serbian derby (16:10). Radnicki kept up with Novi Beograd in the first half, but the Belgrade-based side played perfectly after the middle break.
Hosts recorded wins in the other two games. Barceloneta defeated Jadran Split 11:6, while Olympiacos demolished Dinamo Tbilisi 20:9
2021/22 Champions League, Group A, Day 1
Brescia – Ferencvaros 8:8 (1:2, 2:2, 3:3, 2:1)
Brescia: Lazic 3, Luongo 2, Di Somma 1, Vapenski 1, Dolce 1.
Ferencvaros: Merkulov 2, Vamos 2, Varga 2, Ubovic 1, Jansik 1.
Last season, Brescia and Ferencvaros met three times in the Champions League. The Italians recorded two wins in the group stage in the “bubble” in Budapest, but Ferencvaros was better than Brescia in the semifinals in Belgrade.
This evening, the teams fought a hard battle. Ferencvaros led for most of the time. Brescia was never ahead, but it saved a point
Until the middle of the second quarter, the teams were in a neck-and-neck race. Ferencvaros took the lead twice, but Brescia equalized on both occasions (2:2). Midway through the second quarter, Denes Varga netted two goals to give Ferencvaros a 4:2 advantage. After that, an exchange of goals started. The hosts halved the deficit twice (3:4, 4:5), but Ferencvaros responded with a goal both times. Three and a half minutes before the last break, Ferencvaros led 6:4. Brescia finally equalized in the 22nd minute. Stefano Luongo found the net twice within 41 seconds for 6:6. Shortly after Luongo’s equalizer, Merkulov put the Hungarian side in front (7:6).
Boris Vapenski opened the final quarter with a new equalizer (7:7). Merkulov scored his 2nd goal for Ferencvaros’s new lead (8:7). Shortly after, Ferencvaros missed a man-up. Immediately after that, Dolce scored an action goal for 8:8 with 02:31 minutes left on the clock. Defenses worked well in the final two minutes. Ferencvaros had a man-up in its last possession but failed to secure a win. Marton Vamos hit the post three seconds from time.
Novi Beograd – Radnicki 16:10 (3:3, 5:3, 4:0, 4:3)
Novi Beograd: Jaksic 5, S.Rasovic 4, , Mandic 2, SHushiashvili 2, Gogov 1, Vlachopoulos 1.Perkovic 1.
Radnicki: Brankovic 2, Cuk 2, Radulovic 2, Vrlic 2, Stanojevic 1. Toholj 1.
For the second time in ten days, Novi Beograd defeated Radnicki. Ten days ago, in a league match, Novi Beograd recorded an 18:14 victory. Today, Novi Bograd beat the Serbian champion again and debuted in the Champions League with a 16:10 victory.
The first half of the game was quite interesting. Radnicki started better. The visitors had an excellent percentage of a man-up conversion in the opening minutes and earned a 2-goal lead twice (2:0, 3:1). Still, by the end of the first period, Novi Beograd equalized (3:3). Strahinja Rasovic scored all three goals for Radnicki in the first quarter.
In the 13th minute, Novi Beograd built a 2-goal lead for the first time (7:5). Radnicki responded with two goals by center-forward Josip Vrlic (both on an extra) and caught up with Novi Beograd – 7:7. But, it turned out that it was the end of the even contest. In the following ten minutes, Novi Beograd dominated and scored six straight goals.Drasko Gogov closed the first half for 8:7. Georgian Nika Shushiashvili opened the third quarter with two goals. Dusan Mandic and Nikola Jaksic added a goal each, and Novi Beograd jumped to a 12:7 lead. In the final possession in this quarter, Radnicki wasted a double man-up, and it was clear that the visitors weren’t able to come back. Jaksic, the man of the match, stretched the margin to six goals in the 25th minute (13:7). Radnicki didn’t surrender, but the hosts controlled the match.
Vladimir Vujasinovic, Novi Beograd head coach, was very satisfied with the result:
“It was important for us to open the season with a win. We are already qualified for the Final Eight, as hosts, but we want to prove that we deserved a spot at the final tournament. Our attack worked well throughout the match. But, we were nervous in defense in the first two periods. Because of that, we made ourselves problems. After the middle break, we corrected the mistakes in defensive play, and that was crucial. We built a big difference and secured the victory.”
Uros Stevanovic, Radnicki head coach, congratulated the rival and compared the first two clashes with Novi Beograd in the season 2021/22:
“We started well in the league match ten days ago, but Novi Beograd broke us in the second quarter. Today, we fell in the third period. I hope that we will keep up with Novi Beograd until the 4th quarter in our next match and be an equal rival until the end. Simply put, Novi Beograd is a better team than us. They earned a 5-goal lead in time. It’s practically impossible to come back from five goals down in a match against a team like Novi Beograd is.”
Olympiacos – Dinamo Tbilisi 20:9 (5:2, 4:2, 4:3, 7:2)
Olympiacos: Fountoulis 8, Filipovic 3, Radovic 2, Genidounias 2, Mourkis 2, Kolomvos 1Gouvis 1, Buslje 1.
Dinamo Tbilisi: Jelaca 3, Adeishvili 2, Vasic 2, Bitadze 1, Saric 1.
Olympiacos stormed past Dinamo, as expected. The Greek champion opened the match with a 4:0 lead. Led by unstoppable Ioannis Fountoulis, Olympiacos dictated the pace. Dinamo did its best. Still, the Greeks dominated and played in a speed rhythm until the end to record a big 20:9 victory.
Barceloneta – Jadran S 11:6 (3:2, 4:0, 2:3, 2:1)
Barceloneta:Larumbe 4, Granados 3, Perrone 2, De Toro 1, Asensio 1.
Jadran Split: Duzevic 3, Marinic Kragic 1, Cagalj 1, Bukic 1.
Barceloneta defeated Jadran easier than expected. Barceloneta’s outstanding performance in the second quarter determined the rest of the encounter. The hosts led from the beginning, but Jadran was trialed just by a goal (2:3) at the first break. Barceloneta straightened its defense in the second quarter. The Spaniards managed to stop Jadran’s left-handed Konstantin Kharkov. Barceloneta went to 7:2 before the middle break. In the second half, the difference was never smaller than three goals.
Day 2 (November 9)
Brescia – Barceloneta
Novi Beograd – Olympiacos
Jadran – Dinamo
Radnicki – Ferencvaros