Two Hungarian clubs – Szolnok and OSC, Greek Vouliagmeni, and Crvena Zvezda (Serbia) will play in the semifinals of the 2020/21 LEN Euro Cup.
The second matches of the quarterfinals, which were played today, offered a lot of excitement.
The most thrilling duel was, as expected, the encounter between Vouliagmeni and Mladost. The Greeks secured the semifinals after a long penalty shootout – 20:18 (11:10 for Vouliagmeni in regular time).
The matches in Szolnok and Belgarde also were breathtaking
The encounter between Szolnok and Radnicki ended in a 10:10 draw. The Hungarians kept a 2-goal advantage earned in the first match.
There was no winner in Belgrade, too. Crvena Zvezda and Dynamo shared the points – 9:9, although Dynamo had a 5-goal lead. Crvena Zvezda advanced to the semis because it defeated the Russians in Moscow last week (11:8).
Sabadell defeated OSC Budapest 12:10, but the Hungarians’ semifinal ticket wasn’t in danger (OSC celebrated a 17:11 victory in Budapest)
LEN Euro Cup quarterfinals, second leg: Sabadell (ESP) – OSC Budapest (HUN) 12:10 (1st match 11:17), Vouliagmeni (GRE) – Mladost (CRO) 20:18 – PSO (10:11), Szolnok (HUN) – Radnicki (SRB) 10:10 (14:12), Crvena Zvezda (SRB) – Dynamo Moscow (RUS) 9:9 (11:8)
Semifinals (April 3 and 10): OSC Budapest – Vouliagmeni, Crvena Zvezda – Szolnok (OSC and Crvena Zvezda will be the hosts in 1st leg)
LEN Euro Cup Quarterfinals (2nd leg)
Vouliagmeni – Mladost 20:18 (3:4, 3:1, 1:2, 4:3, PSO 9:8) – 1st leg 10:11
Vouliagmeni: Alafragkis 2, Gkiouvetsis 2, Troulos 2, Kalogeropoulos 2, Afroudakis 1,Lozina 1, Basic 1.
HAVK Mladost: Lazic 4, Bukic 2, Milos 2, Buslje 1, Dasic 1.
Scorers in the shootout – Vouliagmeni: Afroudakis 2, Mylonakis 2, Kalogeropoulos 2, Basic 2, Gkiouvetsis; Mladost: Radu 2, Bukic 2, Milos 2, Vrlic, Lazic
Mladost started better. The Croats led 2:1 in the middle of the opening period. In the 7th minute, the Greeks went in front for the first time. However, Mladost had a slim advantage at the first break because Lovre Milos netted two action goals in the last minute of the first period.
Vouliagmeni scored two early goals in the second quarter for 5:4. Marin Dasic leveled the score in the 15th minute, but Troulos replied immediately, and Vouliagmeni had a 6:5 advantage at halftime.
The third period started with Luka Bukic’s goal for 6:6. Just 56 seconds before the last break, Franko Lazic gave Mladost a 7:6 lead, but Gkiouvetsis equalized – 7:7 shortly after
Vouliagmeni played excellently in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. The hosts jumped to a 10:7 lead by the 28th minute. It seemed that the 4:0 series (from 6:7 to 10:7) could be crucial for the outcome and Vouliagmeni’s win. The Greeks had an 11:8 advantage two and a half minutes before the end, but Mladost came back. Luka Bukic converted a man-up in the 30th minute for 9:11. That was followed by a few missed chances on both sides. Just 16 seconds before the final buzzer, Franko Lazic scored from 6 on 5 for 10:11. The final score was the same as in Zagreb (Mladost won 11:10 seven days ago), and the match entered the penalty shootout.
The drama was finished in the 9th round of the penalty shootout. There were no misses in the first eight series. In the 9th round, Tzortzatos saved a shot by Vrlic. On the other side, Andrija Basic, who played for Mladost before coming to Vouliagmeni, didn’t make a mistake. He hit the back of the net for 20:18 and sent Vouliagmeni to the semifinals.
Szolnok – Radnicki 10:10 (3:4, 4:3, 2:1,1:2) – 1st leg 14:12
Szolnok: Angyal 2, Szeghalmi 2, A. Nagy 2, Konarik 2, Pijetlovic 1, Jansik 1.
Radnicki: Toholj 3, Rasovic 2, Stanojevic 1, Krug 1, Brankovic 1, Pljevlancic 1, Lukic 1.
The visitors were leading for most of the time in the first half.
Radnicki took a flying start and grabbed a 2:0 lead. The Serbs quickly erased the deficit from the first game (12:14). The visitors maintained a 2-goal distance for a while (3:1, 4:2). In the 11th minute, Szolnok leveled for the first time (Angyal, extra player goal – 4:4). Radnicki fought bravely against one of the biggest favorites in the LEN Euro Cup and regained a lead (5:4, 6:5, 7:6). Still, Dusko Pijetlovic, one of the “Serbian colony” members in Szolnok (along with Filipovic, Drasovic, and coach Gocic) closed the first half. He scored for 7:7, five seconds before the middle break.
The hosts took the lead in the third period and built a 2-goal advantage (9:7). Radnicki managed to half the distance before the final eight minutes (8:9).
Nebojsa Toholj opened the fourth period by converting a man-up for 9:9. Akos Konarik put Szolnok in front in the 29th minute. Nikita Krug’s consolation goal for Radnicki came too late, 35 seconds from the end.
Szolnok took the ticket for the semifinals, but Radnicki has to be praised. The Kragujevac-based team was the equal opponent to the Hungarian side, which is composed of many Hungarian and Serbian water polo stars.
Crvena Zvezda – Dynamo M 9:9 (0:4, 2:1, 4:2, 3:2) – 1st leg 11:8
Crvena Zvezda: Tankosic 3, Subotic 2 Kasum 1, Basara 1, Vukicevic 1, Radovic 1.
Dynamo Moscow: Rustamov 3, Shein 2, Bugaychuk 2, Balakirev 2
Crvena Zvezda defeated Dynamo by three goals in Moscow (11:8) and made a huge step towards the semifinals. The Russians had slim chances after the first game. But, Dynamo stunned Crvena Zvezda in the first quarter of the second match by earning a 4:0 lead. Kiril Rustamov added one goal early in the second for 5:0. Dynamo’s defense was superb in the first half. Crvena Zvezda couldn’t find the net in the first 15 minutes! Finally, Petar Kasum converted a man-up 54 seconds before the middle break for 1:5. Gavril Subotic scored from a penalty line for 2:5 five seconds from the end of the 2nd quarter. So, the third period started from equal terms. At halftime, the aggregate score was 13:13.
Crvena Zvezda took control early in the third quarter. The hosts scored three goals within 79 seconds and equalized – 5:5 (19th minute). But, the Russians didn’t give in. They earned a 7:6 lead before the end of the third period and doubled an advantage in the fourth quarter (8:6). Four and a half minutes before the end, Kiril Rustamov scored his 3rd goal to give Dynamo a 9:7 lead. But, the hosts didn’t let the Russians go further. Crvena Zvezda scored two goals in the last 83 seconds and booked the ticket for the semifinals.
Sabadell – OSC Budapest 12:10 (3:5, 3:2, 3:1, 3:2) – 1st leg 11:17
Astralpool Sabadell: F. Valera 4, Ubovic 3, Cabanas 2, Sanahuja 1, Bertran 1 R. Valera 1.
OSC Budapest: Manhercz 2, Burian 2, Salamon 1, Csacsovszky 1, Toth 1, Erdelyi 1, Bundschuh 1, Harai 1.
OSC Budapest did a great job in the first match, with a 17:11 win, and Sabadell needed a miracle to overcome that big deficit.
The Hungarians controlled the match in the first half. Already in the 7th minute, OSC had a 5:2 advantage (a 9-goal lead in the aggregate score). OSC maintained a 3-goal difference until the middle of the second period (7:4). After that, Sabadell started coming back. The Spaniards scored four goals in a row and went in front early in the third period (8:7). Krisztian Manhercz ended OSC’s scoreless phase, which lasted more than ten minutes, with a goal from a penalty shot to equalize (8:8). Sabadell responded with a 4:1 series, but the hosts weren’t close to the semifinals. In the 29th minute, Sabadell earned a 12:9 lead. Still, a miracle didn’t happen. Gergely Burian scored an action goal with three seconds left for the final score.
Schedule until the end of the season
SEMIFINALS: April 3 and 10, 2021
FINALS: April 24 and May 8, 2021