Savona and Vasas shall play for the Euro Cup this season. The Italians bettered their fellows Trieste in dramatic fashion – their goalie Gianmarco Nicosia netted the winner with 0:02 on the clock, from a 7 on 6. Vasas left no chance for Panionios in the second semi and advanced to a European final after 21 years.
Semi-finals, 2nd leg
RN Savona (ITA) v Trieste Pallanuoto (ITA) 13-12 – aggregate: 22-21
A-Hid-VasasPlaket (HUN) v Panionios GSS (GRE) 12-6 – aggregate: 20-15
After a huge battle in the first leg, ending in a 9-9 draw, Savona and Trieste were entangled in another drama. Both Italian sides applied a take-no-prisoners approach, the refs had to call 39 major fouls in the extremely physical battle where nothing separated the two for three periods as the fourth started at 8-8. Trieste could score twice in 63 seconds to go 9-11 up with 4:13 remaining, but the hosts could equalise in two minutes. Ivan Buljubasic netted an extra to make it 11-12 with 1:48 on the clock, then Eduardo Campopiano scored from action just 14 seconds later for 12-12.
The hosts had an extra but missed it, then Trieste could only hit the post from their last possession. Savona had 20 seconds and after some hesitation their goalie Gianmarco Nicosia joined the attack to set up a 7 on 6. As he approached the goal with the ball, no defender tried to mark him as they rather took care of the ‘qualified’ offensive players. Nicosia took a look at the clock and after a couple of faking he let the ball fly from 6m, and it ended up in the net with 2 seconds remaining – a dramatic and amazing end to this outstanding fight.
Savona will play a European final for the first time since 2012 – against Vasas which return to the trophy hunt after twenty long years. The Hungarians had some ups and downs in Greece as they conceded two goals in the last 43 seconds to lose the first leg by one. However, they learnt their lesson and never let Panionios into the game this evening as their fans filled the stands of the legendary Komjadi pool and brought back something from the old electrifying atmosphere.
The Vasas players kicked off the party by storming to a 6-2 lead in the first half and never looked back. Towards the end, at 10-6, the Greeks went for all-or-nothing, however, their 7 on 6s ended in two more local goals to the empty net.