The 2024 Champions League started in the best possible way.
The first match of the season and the derby of Day 1, an encounter between Olympiacos and Jug, was very exciting and ended after a penalty shootout. Olympiacos trailed by five goals in the first half. Still, the hosts came back in the match and recorded a 16:15 win (12:12 in the regular time).
But that wasn’t the only thriller in the 1st round. After low-scoring four quarters in the match Sabadell – Brescia, the score was 5:5. Brescia emerged victorious in a shootout – 10:9.
The remaining two games of today’s program were one-sided contests. The finalists of the 2023 Champions League showed no mercy to their rivals. Pro Recco beat Dinamo Tbilisi 15:6. Novi Beograd was more convincing in a 19:7 victory over Steaua Bucharest.
The matches in Groups C and D will be played tomorrow.
2024 Champions League Day 1
Sabadell – Brescia 9:10 (1:1, 0:1, 1:1, 3:2, PSO 4:5)
Sabadell (scorers in regular time):Barroso 1, Van Ijperen 1, Averka 1, Mallarach 1, Bustos 1.
Brescia (scorers in regular time): Irving 2, Renzuto 2, Dolce 1.
Scorers for Sabadell in the shootout: Valera, Barroso, Averka, Van Ijperen (Tesanovic saved a shot from Schuetze in the 5th round), Brescia: Irving, Manzi, Dolce, Faraglia, Balzarini.
Only three goals were scored in the first half. Sabadell took a 1:0 lead in the 5th minute, but Brescia earned a slim 2:1 advantage in the first half. Both teams made mistakes in the attacks. However, Brescia’s attack was organized better. The Italians created significantly more opportunities to score than the hosts. But, Edoardo Lorrio, Sabadell’s goalkeeper, was outstanding in the first 16 minutes with nine saves. Brescia’s goalkeeper, Petar Tesanovic, didn’t have much job at the other end of the pool. He saved only three shots, but conceded only one goal.
The Dutch Van Ijperen ended Sabadell’s 14-minute goalless phase and leveled at 2:2. But, immediately after, Renzuto iodice gave Brescia a 3:2 lead from a penalty. Sabadell consolidated its offensive play and made more chances in the third period than in the previous two, but Petar Tesanovic was up to the task.
After only two goals in the first three quarters, Sabadell scored three in a row in the final period. Barroso equalized, Mallarach put the hosts in front (4:3). Two and a half minutes before the end, Sabadell earned a man-up after Renzuto was excluded for a protest. The Spaniards made the most of that opportunity, Konstantin Averka converted a 6 on 5 for 5:3. But, Brescia equalized quickly. The Italians got a penalty shot in their next possession. Team USA’s Max Irving sent the ball into the net from the 5m line. The same player leveled at 5:5, converting a man-up with 53 seconds left on the clock. Nobody scored in the remaining time, and the winner was decided in a penalty shootout.
There were no misses or saves in the first four rounds. In the fifth round, Brescia’s Tesanovic saved a shot from Sabadell’s German Schuetze. That save decided the winner.
Novi Beograd – Steaua 19:7 (6:2, 5:2, 3:3, 5:0)
Novi Beograd: Jaksic 6, Granados 4, Martinovic 3, Cuk 2, Filipovic 2, Lukic 1, Vlachopoulos 1.
Steaua Bucharest: Vuskovic 2, Georgescu 2, Bota 2, Neamtu 1.
Novi Beograd left no chance to Steaua. The Romanians battled as much as they could. They led 1:0, but Novi Beograd responded with two quick goals for 3:1 and doubled its advantage by the end of the first quarter (6:2).New captain Filip Filipovic opened the second period with a goal for 7:2. The hosts, led by Nikola Jaksic, who had almost perfect percentage of shots (6/7), were 10:4 up at halftime.
After a balanced third period, Novi Beograd tightened its defense and didn’t let Steaua come close to the hosts’ goal.
Olympiacos – Jug 16:15 (1:4, 3:4 , 6:2, 2:2, PSO 4:3)
Olympiacos (scorers in regular time): Fountoulis 5, Papanastasiou 3, Gkillas 2, Vamos 1, Genidounias 1,
Jug (scorers in regular time): Lazic 3, Jokovic 3, Buric 2, Vukojevic 1, Daube 1, Grgurevic 1, Zuvela 1
Scorers in a shootout – Olympiacos: Fountoulis, Papanastasiou, Dimou, Genidounias (Popadic saved a shot from Genidounias in the 1st round, Nikolaidis hit the post in the 5th round) Jug: Daube, Jokovic, Buric (Zuvela hit the post in 4th round, Bijac saved a shot from Cabanas in the 5th round and from Daube in the 6th round)
Jug had the match in Piraeus in the hands. It led by five goals and, primarily thanks to a good defense, controlled the game for two quarters and a half. But, midway through the third period, the Croats made a few mistakes and allowed Olympiacos to come back.
Jug opened the derby excellently. The Croats’ defense in the first quarter was almost perfect. Goalkeeper Toni Popadic posted one save after another. Good defensive play was a basis for Jug’s attack. The visitors gained a 2:0 lead before the hosts got on the scoreboard, but Jug closed the first quarter with two goals. Franko Lazic made it 4:1 with a nice goal from a distance with four seconds remaining in the first period.
Even though Olympiacos’ and Croatia’s first goalkeeper, Marko Bijac, started showing his skills in the second quarter and blocked a few excellent shots, Jug increased the margin to five at the finish of the second quarter (8:3). After the 8th goal, Emmanouil Zerdevas replaced Bijac, and Ioannis Fountoulis kept Olympiacos’ hopes alive with a goal for 4:8 in the 16th minute.
Jug maintained a four-goal difference until the middle of the third period (10:6), and then, Olympiacos came back into the match with three goals within 46 seconds. Fountoulis opened the series with a power-play goal. After that, Jug made two mistakes and gifted two goals to the home team. Nicolaos Gkillas stole the ball from Hannes Daube in Jug’s half of the field (the American committed a personal foul on that occasion). Gkillas started a counterattack and made it 8:10. Jug lost the ball in its next possession, and Olympiacos got a chance from a new counter – Fountoulis finished it for 9:10. Four seconds before the last break, Fountoulis leveled at 10:10 from an extra player.
Olympiacos earned a penalty shot on its first possession in the fourth quarter – Vamos converted it to 11:10. After five straight goals from Olympiacos, Jug responded with two for 12:11. At 02:44, Papanastasiou equalized at 12:12. That was the last goal. The first game in the 2024 Champions League entered the shootout.
There were misses and saves at both ends of the pool, but Marko Bijac, who didn’t shine in the first half, made the difference. He returned in front of the hosts’ goal during the shootout. Bijac saved the shots in the 5th and 6th rounds and the “Red Whites” won two points in their first official game this season. One point went to Dubrovnik.
Pro Recco – Dinamo T 15:6 (5:2, 5:2, 2:1, 3:1)
Pro Recco: Kakaris 3, Iocchi Gratta 3, Di Fulvio 2, Younger 2, F.Condemi 2, Zalanki 2, Ivovic 1, N.presciutti 1.
Dinamo Tbilisi:Vapenski 2, Vlahovic 1, Tankosic 1, Magrakvelidze 1, Pjesivac 1.
Pro Recco opened the season with a convincing win over Dinamo Tbilisi, as expected. The reigning champion started slowly in the match played in Lavagna, the municipality located 25 km from Recco (there is no indoor pool in Recco).
Dinamo scored the first goal in the match. In the 4th minute, the score was 2:2. But Recco didn’t need much time to show who the favorite was. The hosts produced a 4:0 run between the 4th and the 10th minute and jumped to 6:2. The score was 10:4 at halftime. At the end of the game, nine goals separated the rivals. Greece’s center-forward Konstantinos Kakaris debuted for Recco with three goals, and another newcomer, Francesco Condemi, added two.
Wednesday, September 27
Group C: Ferencvaros – Jadran Herceg Novi (18:30) , Jadran Split – Crvena zvezda (19:00)
Group D: Barceloneta – Spandau 04 Berlin (20:00), Marseille – Vouliagmeni (20:00)