The eight-finals brought great thrills around Europe. Trieste’s eight-goal trouncing in Noisy-le-Sec seems to be the only really decisive victory, Vasas and Savona may also eye already the quarters after winning by five, all other matches promise great excitements in the return legs in two weeks.
Men’s Euro Cup, Eight-finals, 1st leg: CN Noisy-Le-Sec (FRA) v Trieste Pallanuoto (ITA) 12-20, Partizan Beograd (SRB) v Panionios GSS (GRE) 12-11, Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v CSM Oradea (ROU) 8-8, A Hid Vasas Plaket (HUN) v BVK Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 15-10, Budapesti Honved (HUN) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) 13-11, RN Savona (ITA) v CC Ortigia (ITA) 7-2, Primorac Kotor (MNE) v CN Tourcoing (FRA) 7-7, VK Sabac (SRB) v CN Barcelona (ESP) 13-10
Return legs will take place on 14 December.
Eight brilliant battles, only a handful ending in an almost decisive win. One was recorded at the Italian derby, Savona staged some extraordinary defending while downing Ortigia 7-2. The Sicilians came back from 3-0 down to 3-2, but were unable to score any more in the last 21:09 minutes.
The other ‘in-house’ battles were much more balanced. The Romanian clash ended in a tie between Steaua and Oradea. The hosts came back from 2-5 in the first half, the third period saw seven killed man-ups (four and three respectively), then Steaua led twice in the fourth but a penalty goal made it 8-8.
In Budapest, the two Hungarians, Honved and Szolnok produced a really entertaining game with 24 goals. Veteran Olympic champ from Beijing 2008 Norbert Hosnyanszky secured the hosts a two-goal advantage (13-11) for the return leg with a brilliant action goal with 0:20 before the end.
There were more thrillers around Europe. Partizan led 8-3 deep into the second period against Panionios, but the Greeks came back in the second half and with a man-up goal 17 seconds from time they left Belgrade with only a single-goal (12-11) deficit.
The other Serbian side playing at home, Sabac, kept the game against Barcelona under control from the beginning. For quite a while they held a four-goal lead, which the Spaniards cut to two in the last period, but Ognjen Stojanovic’s fourth goal in the game secured 13-10 victory for the hosts.
Montenegro’s last hope Primorac staged a 4-0 run to take a 7-5 lead after being 3-5 down, but after shutting out Tourcoing for 13:09 minutes, they conceded two in 49 seconds. It was 7-7 and still 6:14 minutes to play, however, neither side could score the winner, so the decision was left to the game in France.
There were two more bigger wins besides Savona’s blast. Hungary’s Vasas honoured their recently passed legend Gabor Csapo with a great performance while downing Serbia’s Crvena Zvezda 15-10 (before the game, candles were lit by the fans in front of the famous Komjadi Pool).
The most one-sided match was played in Noisy-le-Sec – the newly shaped and strengthened French side suffered a stunning eight-goal defeat (12-20) at home. Italy’s Trieste was flying high while scoring five goals in each period and securing their spot in the quarters by this huge victory.