Water Polo Champions League Women: Great opening day for Spanish and Greek clubs

Credit to: Eurokinissi Photo Agency

All four Greek teams landed great wins at home, and four out of the five Spanish sides also performed really well in the opening round of the Champions League Women. These fine victories came at the expense of the Hungarian and Italian rivals.

Group A

Ekipe Orizzonte (ITA) v CN Sant Andreu (ESP) 10-11, SIS Roma (ITA) v CN Terrassa (ESP) 8-12

In a brilliant clash filled with twists and turns, Sant Andreu stunned record-winner, 8-time champion Orizzonte on the opening day. The Spaniards stormed to a 1-4 lead, but the Italians hit back and with a 4-0 rush they went ahead for 7-5. They maintained their advantage, leading 8-7 at halftime and 9-8 before the final period. A double score in just 94 seconds gave back the lead to St. Andreu. Although the host equalised, Alba Munoz hit the winning goal 3:26 from time. Despite having four 6 on 5s in the remaining time, Orizzonte missed them all.

The Spaniards bagged three points in the Italian capital too. Terrassa dominated the match in Rome, gradually extending their lead quarter by quarter. They were ahead 3-8 deep into the third period, and from that point, their win was never in danger.

Group B (Sunday)
Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP) v Mulhouse WP (FRA) 18-10, Alimos NAC Betsson (GRE) v Dunaujvaros VC (HUN) 14-10

Title-holder Sabadell opened their new campaign in style by setting a single-game scoring record for the group stage right away. The job was done by halftime, and the pattern was similar in both quarters, the French scored the first goal, the hosts hit back with four in a row, resulting in an 8-2 lead for them. The script changed a bit for the second half as Sabadell added five more goals in both quarters, but their concentration level in defence dropped a bit, allowing Sabadell to score eight in this phase, five in the last period.

In the other game, Alimos completed the Greeks’ outstanding run at home as their teams won all four matches in the opening round. Building a 4-1 lead, they set the tone early on. From that point, it became a chasing game where Dunaujvaros tried to cut the gap from time to time but once they conceded two goals after 6-5, they were unable to come within two goals again. In the fourth, they came back to 9-7 only to receive two in 37 seconds for 11-7. Still, they fought back to 11-9, but this time Alimos hit back with three in a row to secure a fine win. This also meant that the Greek teams went 3-0 against the Hungarians in this weekend.

Group C

ZF-Tigra Eger (HUN) v Assolim CN Mataro (ESP) 5-18, Ethnikos Piraeus (GRE) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 15-13

Mataro initially took a 0-2 lead, only to see the hosts score three goals in the last 90 seconds of the first period for a 3-2 lead. Before anyone would have smelled an upset, the Spaniards quickly regained control – thanks to the outstanding performances of Dutch Sabrine van de Kraats and Hungarian Rita Keszthelyi, who netted 5 apiece. Indeed, Mataro dominated the rest of the match, winning 2-16.

The other Magyar side also fell in Piraeus. Ferencvaros got off to a strong start, leading 2-5. However, Ethnikos managed to equalise by halftime. The Hungarians regained the lead for 7-9, still, but the host’s offence worked well, scoring four in a row. In the fourth quarter, they added a 3-0 run after 11-11. Trailing by three goals, FTC went for 7 on 6s, and it was their goalie, Alexandra Kiss, who scored first. They added another one for 14-13 but couldn’t find the equaliser. Effrosyni Katsimpiri secured the Greek win 17 seconds from time.

Group D

Vouliagmeni NC (GRE) v CN Mediterrani (ESP) 14-9, Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v UVSE Budapest (HUN) 15-8

To complete the grand run of the Greeks, Vouliagmeni and Olympiacos both claimed big wins in their respective home openers. While Vouliagmeni trailed 3-4 after the first period against Mediterrani, they staged a rout in the following two quarters with a 8-0 run that was more than enough to bag all three points.

Olympiacos set the tone right from the beginning against Euro Cup winner UVSE. The Greeks hit back with a 5-0 run to respond to the Hungarians’ first goal. They carried on in the second period to build an 8-2 lead and never looked back.