martedì 11 novembre 2014

All eyes on Szolnok, Radnicki aware of danger in Oradea

The Champions League preliminary phase group compositions will be completed Wednesday when the second legs of the third and final qualification round will be played. The one close match-up after the teams first meeting is to be contested in Szolnok where the big all-Hungarian clash between Szolnok and OSC is to decide which one of the powerhouses will secure a spot in the prelims. And after an 11-11 final score in an exciting battle in Budapest two weeks ago, both sides will have their chance although Szolnok is expected to be in favour a little more since playing at home. As the previous match-up was highlighted by the performance of Joseph Kayes who returned from injury scoring 4 goals to lead the charge of OSC at home, it's evident that the Budapest-based side's top players will have to deliver in Szolnok in order to keep a sensational trip to the preliminary phase in sight. Meanwhile Primorje and Pro Recco enjoy comfortable margins despite a surprisingly tough match in Belgrade for Primorje which they managed to win 11-14. But with the 2nd leg at home on Wednesday, the two-time Adriatic league champions are expected to have the better of the young Red Star squad. Pro Recco travel to Zagreb with a 13-9 victory from leg 1 under their belt and seem more or less secured of a spot in the prelims.

Radnicki also is on the verge of reaching the Champions League group stage after beating Romanian champions CSM Digi Oradea by 5 goals in the qualification 3rd round leg 1 at home. One of the pillars of the rejuvenated, new-look Radnicki side is Nikola Dedovic who left his longtime club Partizan to play for Radnicki last summer. Waterpoloworld asked the Serbian prodigy about his feelings in Kragujevac so far and expectations for what’s to come.

A strong beginning of season for the new-look Radnicki team, what is your impression after a couple of months at your new club?

After 14 years I changed clubs for the first time. We had a good opening of the season, and key to that is hard work on training, and good relations with coach Uros Stevanovic. We also manage to create a real team unity and atmosphere which is very important. I think that this team can achieve quite a lot and we will try to live up to that expectation.   

Radnicki is one match away from joining the group stage of the Champions league, what kind of game against Oradea do you expect after the 5-goal advantage from the first duel?

I expect a tough game in Oradea, they have an experienced team and are always very good when playing in their home pool. We are going in to the match with a 5-goal margin, but we will play to win because it is only right way to secure going through to the preliminary round.

Photograph: Vojislav Petrovic.

Oradea is building a stronger team every year, you had lot of experience playing against them last couple of seasons. What is their main strength and what can be the key advantage for Radnicki?

I had multiple opportunities to play against them the last couple of seasons and I think their key advantage is experience and team play. On an already good team they added two quality players from Serbia and assembled a very good line-up. From our side we have great motivation to go through to the group stage, and that will be our main strength along with good physical preparation.

If everything goes well on Wednesday, you can expect even harder competition in the group stage along with Brescia, Barceloneta, Olympiacos, Eger and very likely Pro Recco. What can Radnicki do in that company?

We should take it step by step and firstly ensure group stage participation. If we qualify it will really be a tough group, but anything is possible. We have big goals and will try win every game, and what happened will prove are we ready for it. Anyway we have great desire and motivation to show what we can do, and that is starting point for Wednesday and everything that will come afterwards.

Interview: Srdjan Tomic.

Champions League 2014-2015
Qualification round 3

Leg 2

Wednesday 12-11:

19.00: Szolnok (HUN) vs. OSC (HUN) - A
19.00: Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) vs. Red Star Belgrade (SRB) - C
20.45: HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) vs. Pro Recco (ITA) - B
20.45: CSM Digi Oradea (ROU) vs. VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) - D

Leg 1 results

Wednesday, 29 October

VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) vs. CSM Digi Oradea (ROU) 13-8 (3-2, 2-2, 3-1, 5-3)
Radnicki scorers: Srdjan Vuksanovic 3, Josip Vrlic 2, Nikola Dedovic 2, Filip Trajkovic, Boris Popovic, Milos Milicic, Ivan Basara, Marko Cuk, Marko Petkovic.

Oradea scorers: Tiberiu Negrean 4, Marko Avramovic 2, Alex Popoviciu, Gheorghe Dunca.

OSC Budapest (HUN) vs. Szolnok (HUN) 11-11 (3-4, 0-1, 5-2, 3-4)

OSC scorers: Joseph Kayes 4, Ferenc Salamon 2, Bence Batori, Erik Bundschuh, Zsolt Juhasz, Kevin Graham, Miklos Gor-Nagy.

Szolnok scorers: Norbert Madaras 3, Gabor Kis 2, Marton Vamos, Daniel Varga, Denes Varga, Tamas Mezei, Zivko Gocic, Milan Aleksic.

Red Star Belgrade (SRB) vs. Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) 11-14 (2-2, 2-3, 5-4, 2-5)
Red Star scorers: Dimitrije Obradovic 4, Strahinja Rasovic 2, Radomir Drasovic, Djordje Bijelic, Viktor Rasovic, Sava Randjelovic, Aleksandar Njegovan.

Primorje scorers: Cosmin Radu 5, Sandro Sukno 3, Petar Muslim 2, Andelo Setka 2, Antonio Petrovic, Xavi Garcia.

Pro Recco (ITA) vs. HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) 13-9 (5-1, 4-2, 1-3, 3-3)

Pro Recco scorers: Andrija Prlainovic 3, Aleksandar Ivovic 3, Maro Jokovic 2, Alex Giorgetti 2, Dusko Pijetlovic 2, Pietro Figlioli.

Mladost scorers: Ante Vukicevic 3, Luka Loncar 2, Luka Bukic 2, Ivan Milakovic, Antonio Buha.

N.b.: times mentioned are local time.

Preliminary round

Group A

C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta (ESP)*
AN Brescia (ITA)
Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
ZF-Eger (HUN)
Winner qualification play-off D
Winner qualification play-off B

Group B

VK Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB)
VK Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)
Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin (GER)
Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR)
Winner qualification play-off A
Winner qualification play-off C

Top 3 of each group advances to Champions League Final Six (28-30 May, 2015) in Barcelona.

* C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta as host is qualified for the Final Six

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