Water Polo Euro Cup Men: Holders Vasas looking to secure qualification for knockout stage

Credit to: Vasilis Motsis

Reigning champions Vasas are aiming to book their ticket to the Euro Cup Eight Finals as the competition enters its fourth day. A win at home for the Hungarians against local rivals Honved will guarantee them a top-two finish in Group B and a place in the knockout stage. Last season’s winners are the only side able to secure qualification this week, but three teams – Solaris, Apollon and Trieste – all must win to keep their slim hopes of progressing alive.

Day four’s action begins on Wednesday in France, as Tourcoing host Solaris in Group A. The Croatians narrowly lost the reverse fixture 8-9 in the opening round of fixtures, and another defeat here will rule them out of making the top two. Victory for the home side, who sit second in the table, is far from certain though, as Solaris – who’ve lost two games by a single goal – can consider themselves unfortunate to be bottom with no points.

Group A’s other match sees third-placed Telimar travel to Spain to face leaders Barcelona on Thursday. Both sides are locked on six points, but the Catalonians are first due to the results between the top three teams. The hosts will be looking to avenge the day one defeat (12-11) they suffered in Sicily and put one foot in the next round.

In Group B, Savona can end fourth-placed Apollon’s dreams of making the Eight Finals. The Greek side have zero points, but their performances have deserved more, having twice lost by a solitary goal. The Italians, meanwhile, sit second in the table and will want to keep the pressure on leaders Vasas by taking all the points.

Last season’s champions Vasas, who lost the Super Cup final to Pro Recco 18-10 last week, host third-placed Honved. The holders brushed aside their neighbours 3-11 in the corresponding fixture and Honved face another huge task stopping Vasas in their own pool. Wins for Savona and Vasas would set up a titanic clash between the two sides on day five in Italy that could determine who finishes first.

Group C is currently a tight affair, with just three points separating the four teams. Leaders Sabac travel to Primorje, who are third, while BVSC in second head to Hannover to take on fourth-placed Waspo 98.

When the same teams met in early October, Sabac triumphed 10-8 at home against Primorje, while BVSC sneaked past Waspo 98 10-9 in Budapest, so we can expect two more close battles this week.

In Group D, bottom side Trieste are hoping to secure their first win of the competition against leaders Primorac in front of their own fans. The Italians narrowly lost 9-8 away to the visitors on day one and will do all they can to reverse that result. If they can finally get a victory, it’ll prolong their hopes of making the top two.

Elsewhere, Panionios host Ortigia in Athens. Three rounds ago, the Italians edged the Greeks 13-12 when they met in Siracusa, so another fierce contest awaits in Athens, as Panionios look to leapfrog their opponents and move into a qualification spot.

Euro Cup, Group Stage, Round 4
Thursday 16 November (unless stated)
Local times shown

Group A
9.15pm Tourcoing (FRA) v Solaris (CRO)
(Wednesday 15 November)
8pm Barcelona (ESP) v Telimar (ITA)
Standings: 1. Barcelona (6pts) 2. Tourcoing (6pts) 3. Telimar (6pts) 4. Solaris (0pts)

Group B
8pm Vasas (HUN) v Honved (HUN)
3.30pm Savona (ITA) v Apollon (GRE)
Standings: 1. Vasas (9pts) 2. Savona (6pts) 3. Honved (3pts) 4. Apollon (0pts)

Group C
8pm Primorje (CRO) v Sabac (SRB)
7pm Waspo 98 (GER) v BVSC (HUN)
Standings: 1. Sabac (6pts) 2. BVSC (6pts) 3. Primorje (3pts) 4. Waspo 98 (3pts)

Group D
8pm Trieste (ITA) v Primorac (MNE)
8.30pm Panionios (GRE) v Ortigia (ITA)
Standings: 1. Primorac (6pts) 2. Ortigia (6pts) 3. Panionios (5pts) 4. Trieste (1pt)