Water Polo Challenger Cup Men: Dominant EVK Zaibas and Galatasaray SK plant one foot in semi-finals

Credit to: Eline Vandewiele

Two teams bossed their respective quarter-final, first-leg games on Saturday to put them in pole position to reach March’s semi-finals. Lithuania’s EVK Zaibas and Turkey’s Galatasaray SK were both successful on their travels and returned home with significant winning margins, while the clash between Slovakia’s KVP Novaky and Switzerland’s SC Kreuzlingen remains firmly in the balance.

Quarter-Final, First Leg Results

Royal Dauphins Mouscronnois (BEL) v EVK Zaibas (LTU) 7-17, Valletta (MLT) v Galatasaray SK (TUR) 6-10, KVP Novaky (SVK) v SC Kreuzlingen (SUI) 15-14, AVK Triglav Kranj (SLO) v Carouge Natation (SUI) to be played 2nd December 

The game of the day was in Slovakia, where hosts KVP Novaky and Switzerland’s SC Kreuzlingen thrashed out an entertaining 29-goal thriller that the hosts edged 15-14.

There was little to separate the two sides in the opening exchanges, with the scores level at 2-2 after the first quarter, then 5-6 at the turnaround.

KVP Novaky managed to pull away in the third, opening up a three-goal lead (11-8) and that soon stretched to four (13-9) early in the fourth.

The Swiss were in danger of leaving themselves a small mountain to climb in the return leg, but a remarkable late four-goal rush saw them tie the scores at 14-14 with just 51 seconds remaining.

There was still time for a dramatic winner for KVP Novaky with 16 seconds left, but the hosts will be annoyed they couldn’t hold on to their four-goal cushion.

With just a slender one-goal advantage to take to Switzerland, the second leg in Kreuzlingen on 9th December promises to be another exciting affair.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Lithuania champions EVK Zaibas enjoyed a triumphant visit to Belgium where they took on Royal Dauphins Mouscronnois in Mouscron.

The dominant visitors blew the home team away from the start, as they stormed into a 0-6 lead in the first quarter.

A calmer second period followed, with the wounded Belgians finding the net once and restricting EVK Zaibas to just the one goal.

However, another onslaught of 10 second-half goals from the Lithuanians completed a 7-17 rout and saw them return to Elektrenai with what should be an unassailable 10-goal lead.

In this weekend’s other quarter-final, first-leg, Turkish side Galatasaray were celebrating after beating Valletta 6-10 in Malta.

After a tight first quarter (2-2), the visitors started to take control of the game, building up a 3-5 lead by the turnaround, then 5-9 after the third.

The hosts battled hard in the fourth, but weren’t able to reduce the deficit, and now face the daunting task of needing to win by four or more goals in Istanbul.

For all the results/fixtures, click here: https://len-ws.microplustimingservices.com/lenchallengercup

Live streams and replays available here: www.youtube.com/@LENEuropeanAquatics