Three teams from Italy and Serbia made the eight-finals respectively, while two Hungarian sides finished as group-winners in the second qualification round in the men’s Euro Cup. On contrary, only one of the participating four French clubs made the cut, though Tourcoing at least won one of the toughest groups.
Gruelling battles, nailbiters decided by last-grasp goals highlighted the second qualification round which left only 12 of the 27 teams standing. Serbia, Italy and France had four participants at this stage, three Serbian and Italian clubs made the cut (two Italians finished atop respectively), while the French had to settle for a less impressive 1 out of 4 outcome. Two of Hungary’s three teams also went through, and both grabbed the first place in its group.
In Group A host Sabac did a clean job, the Serbs won all their matches, while Trieste (ITA) beat Montenegro’s top club Jadran Herceg Novi 11-9 in the decisive match for the second qualifying spot.
Host Strasbourg (FRA) managed to steal a point from Savona, which won Group B at the end, however, Partizan (SRB) offered a dominating performance against the French on the last day to clinch the second place.
The only Italian club eliminated in this round was Palermo, which lost a thrilling game to CN Barcelona (ESP) in Group C – conceding three goals after leading 10-9 early in the fourth cost them the game and the eight-final spot. Here France’s Tourcoing earned three spectacular wins, netted 49 goals in three matches.
2004 Champions League winner Honved (HUN) clinched the first place in Zagreb in Group D, which was perhaps the most balanced one among all. Montenegrin Primorac landed in the second place, despite losing to Mediterrani (ESP) earlier. However, the Spaniards were unable to win any of their other three matches, lost to Honved badly, then drew both with Mladost and Thessaloniki. In the latter clash the Greeks were 9-7 down but scored the last two, the equaliser came with 0:01 on the clock – ultimately that goal prevented Mediterrani from going through.
Another former CHL winner from Hungary, Szolnok (triumphed in 2017) delivered three convincing wins at home, the last one against Crvena Zvezda (which were European champion in 2013) – these two sides cruised with ease in the first two days in Group E.
Last but not least, Ortigia (ITA) ruled the field in Group F, won all four matches, while host Steaua (ROU) managed to upend BVSC (HUN) in the decisive game – scheduling might have taken its toll on the Hungarians who lost to both advancing sides by a single goal while playing these matches within 10 hours on the same day.
The draw for the eight-finals is to be held on 7 November, after the conclusion of the Champions League qualification playoffs, as the four losing sides will join the Euro Cup field.
For more details, results, stats, visit https://lenws.microplustimingservices.com/leneurocup/indexCL_mobile.php?cal=1
Euro Cup, Qualifying Round II
Group A (Sabac, SRB)
1. VK Sabac (SRB) 12, 2. Trieste Pallanuoto (ITA) 9, 3. Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) 6, 4. VK Solaris (CRO) 3, 5. Pays D’Aix Natation (FRA) 0
Group B (Strasbourg, FRA)
RN Savona (ITA) 7, 2. VK Partizan Beograd (SRB) 6, 3. Team Strasbourg (FRA) 4, 4. ZV De Zaan (NED) 0
Group C (Duisburg, GER)
CN Tourcoing (FRA) 9, 2. CN Barcelona (ESP) 6, 3. Telimar Palermo (ITA) 3, 4. ASC Duisburg (GER) 0
Group D (Zagreb, CRO)
Budapesti Honved (HUN) 9, 2. VK Primorac Kotor (MNE) 6, 3. CN Mediterrani (ESP) 5, PAOK Thessaloniki (GRE) 4, 5. HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) 4
Group E (Szolnok, HUN)
Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) 9, 2. BVK Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 6, 3. Montpellier WP (FRA) 3, 4. EVK Zaibas (LTU) 0
Group F (Bucharest, ROU)
CC Ortigia (ITA) 12, 2. Steaua Bucharest (ROU) 9, 3. BVSC Zuglo (HUN) 6, 4. VK Valis (SRB) 3, 5. Vitoria Guimaraes (POR) 0