One duel decided, three are wide open
Eight clubs are 32 minutes away from making the Champions League main round but only four can join the elite circles.
OSC Budapest has almost completed its mission, the Hungarians are to advance to the prelims for the third time in a row as they won by a huge margin in Volgograd (RUS). Playing on a home-and-away basis, a 7-goal advantage (7-14) gained in the away leg has never been overturned in the past and no sign shows that OSC’s qualification is in danger against Spartak.
The other three battles should be much more exciting. Brescia (ITA), Final Six participant last May, faces a tough challenge in Kazan as its Russian rival staged a fine comeback in Italy on Saturday (11-9). By scoring three goals in the last minutes, Sintez reserved some hope for the second leg.
Though Marseille (FRA) finally went down at home against Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE), still, the single goal advantage (6-7) doesn’t promise a safe journey for the Montenegrins who wish to return to the big stage after missing the cut last season.
Nothing separated Sabadell (ESP) and Crvena Zvezda (SRB) in Belgrade, the Spainards had a better spell in the first half but the young Serbs hit back in the second – the encounter ended in a 6-6 tie. Another balanced and highly tense match is expected in Sabadell, predicting the winner is a hard call.
Winners will join the 12 wild card-holder clubs in the Champions League prelims (first round is due next Wednesday), the four losing sides can continue in the Euro Cup quarter-finals.
Champions League, Qualification Round III, 2nd leg
Match A – 19.00: Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v CN Marseille
First leg: 7-6
Match B – 19.15: A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Spartak Volgograd (RUS)
First leg: 14-7
Match C – 18.00: Sintez Kazan (RUS) v AN Brescia (ITA)
First leg: 9-11
Match D – 19.30: CN Sabadell (ESP) v Crvena Zvezda Belgrade (SRB)
First leg: 6-6