Brescia, OSC, Jadran and Terrassa advance in first place
No real hiccup in the second qualification round, the three favourite sides – Brescia (ITA), OSC (HUN) and Jadran (CRO) – all passed this test with flawless performances and Terrassa (ESP) also clinched the top spot in its group. Oradea (ROU), Kazan (RUS), Strasbourg (FRA) and Vouliagmeni (GRE) joined them by finishing second respectively.
Group C (Oradea): 1. AN Brescia (ITA) 9, 2. DiGi Oradea (ROU) 6, 3. CN Barcelona (ESP) 3, 4. Lokomotiv Tbilisi (GEO) 0
Group D (Budapest): 1. OSC Budapest (HUN), 9, 2. Sintez Kazan (RUS) 6, 3. Dynamo Moscow (RUS) 3, 4. OSC Potsdam (GER) 0
Group E (Terrassa): 1. CN Terrassa (ESP) 9, 2. Team Strasbourg (FRA) 6, 3. Steaua Bucharest (ROU) 3, 4. VK Sabac (SRB) 0
Group F (Belgrade): 1. Jadran Split (CRO) 9, 2. NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) 6, 3. Pays D’Aix Natation (FRA) 3, 4. Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 0
Brescia and OSC flew high in the weekend, both teams won all their games with big margins, the closest match of the Italians ended in a 6-goal victory, while OSC’s ‘minimum margin’ was 7 goals. In Group C, behind Brescia, Oradea clinched the second qualifying place after beating CN Barcelona 9-8 in a thrilling battle at home. The Romanians netted the winning goal 44 seconds from time in an action-packed closing period which saw four goals apiece. This sent them through, though Oradea was only 4th in the opening round while Barcelona ‘arrived’ to this phase as a group winner.
In Group D the Russians’ in-house contest decided the second place, Sintez beat Dynamo 14-11, not surprisingly, as the Moscow based side had financial struggles in the summer and many of its players moved to Kazan.
In the most balanced quartet Terrassa, playing at home, finished atop and Strasbourg managed to oust Steaua – the Romanians also lost some quality players in the summer so they will miss the main round after playing some fine matches among the best ones in the last season.
Jadran had to prevail in an outstanding encounter against Vouliagmeni to claim the first place. The Croats won 10-9 at the end – got a 10-7 lead late in the fourth – and secured the top spot and a third round duel against a second ranked team.
The draw will be held on Tuesday in Nyon, at the LEN Office – matches shall be played on a home-and-away basis, first and second ranked teams will be paired (teams having played in the same group cannot be drawn against each other).