Big wins for Brescia, Eger and Oradea
Brescia sank Miskolc to make the return leg a formality and Eger’s 3-0 blow in the last period also slimmed Strasbourg’s hopes. Oradea managed to earn a three-goal win over Mataro while the clash of Ortigia and Vouliagmeni remained wide open.
Euro Cup, Quarter-finals, 1st leg
CC Ortigia (ITA) v NC Vouliagmeni GRE) 9-9, ZF-Eger (HUN) v Team Strasbourg (FRA) 12-8, DiGi Oradea (ROU) v Quadis CN Mataro (ESP) 12-9, AN Brescia (ITA) v MVLC Miskolc (HUN) 17-10
Return leg is scheduled for 9 November.
The quarter-final round was kicked off with a thrilling clash in Sicily between Ortigia and Vouligameni. It was an outstanding neck-to-neck battle with a series of twists in the match. The Greeks jumped to a 3-5 lead in the middle of the second but the hosts equalised before the break. A fast double in 52 seconds gave back the two-goal advantage for Vouliagmeni and this time they kept it till the end of the third quarter. However, Ortigia managed to kill a man-down and then scored an action goal and a bit later levelled once more for 8-8. Andrija Basic hit back from action immediately for 8-9, then Vouliagmeni had a golden chance with 76 seconds remaining, a 6 on 5 after a time-out, but missed it and Massimo Giacoppo saved the game to a 9-9 draw 36 seconds from time.
For two periods Mataro dominated in Oradea, the Spaniards led 4-5 at halftime but the home side netted four connecting goals in the third for 8-5 and the visitors could never really recovered from that. In the tense closing period they came back to two goals twice after 10-6 but a penalty 47 seconds before the end secured a three-goal advantage for the Romanians for the return leg, where the Spanish will have to stage something big without their coach as he was red carded late in the game.
While Eger’s job looked a bit easier but at the beginning of the third period the Hungarians, frequent Champions League F8 participants in recent years, must have seen that they needed their ‘A game’ if they wanted to achieve something bigger in this competition. At that phase Strasbourg took the lead at 5-6 – after being 5-3 down – but the home players lift their concentration level and scored three straight goals in 3:34 minutes. The French held on for 9-8, though, and the final period promised more thrills but the Hungarians, especially their Serbians stepped up and with a 3-0 rush they built a massive 4-goal margin for the second match.
In the last match of the day Brescia virtually secured its semi-final berth after a brilliant display of attacking water polo. One of the strongest team is recent season’s Champions League – though surprisingly missing the cut this autumn –, the Italians downed Miskolc with ease. The first blow came in the second period when they netted three in 1:54min to jump to a 7-2 lead. Early in the third Brescia had another surge, three in 82 seconds to go 11-3 up they led by eight before the last period. There they eased up a bit at the end letting three goals for the Hungarians in a row but scored one to win by 7, which promises them a smooth cruising in ten days time.