Only last season bronze medallist Barceloneta came up with a flawless performance – though Marseille’s win in this group against Vouliagmeni was also a well-deserved one. Ferencvaros and Jadran bagged three points each, at home too, but they had to come from behind to achieve the expected result.
Champions League, Group Stage – Round 1
Group C: FTC-Telekom (HUN) v Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) 9-7, VK Jadran Split (CRO) v BVK Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 16-13
Group D: Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 16-6, CN Marseille (FRA) v Vouliagmeni NC (GRE) 15-13
All four matches ended in a home win but only Barceloneta was flying high in the evening. The Spaniards knocked out Spandau, they led 12-2 before the last break and 15-3 in the fourth before conceding three more goals.
Also in this group, Marseille clashed with the last Final Eight’s sensation Vouliagmeni, and managed to kick off its campaign with a fine victory. The French built a four-goal lead by the third period and managed to push back the Greeks´ renewing challenges. Thomas Vernoux was the hero of the evening with 6 goals, he netted the first four for the home side, in the opening period.
In Group C, the hosts also succeeded but only after some suffering. Ferencvaros, medalled in three editions in a row between 2019 and 2022, was stunned by Jadran Herceg Novi in the first half. The young Montenegrins defended really well, while the home side, fielding seven world champions and five classy foreigners, was 2 for 17 in shooting and trailed 2-4 at halftime. The second part was much more worthy of their star-studded line-up, a 3-0 run put the game on its expected track and at the end they won convincingly, shutting out Jadran for the last seven and a half minutes and their shooting jumped to 7 for 16 in these two quarters.
Jadran Split and Crvena Zvezda produced another memorable Croatian v Serbian clash, a 29-goal epic with thrilling twists. Coming from the qualifications, Zvezda was the underdog, still, the Serbs always were in the lead till the finish of the third period, but they could never keep it for long, Jadran managed to equalise every time until 9-9. Then Zvezda had a better spell, jumped to a 9-11 lead, and soon claimed a penalty for +3, but Mate Anic made a big save and that turned the tide. Jadran equalised in a span of 26 seconds in the third and went on scoring in the fourth. Indeed, after the penalty save, they produced a 7-1 run to win the game.
The Champions League will return on 6-7 October!