mercoledì 12 novembre 2014

Champions League 2014-2015 Qualification round 3: Szolnok secures prelims berth at home, Primorje overcomes sloppy start

Szolnok finished the job at home. Thanks to a better shooting performance last year's Hungarian runners-up edged rivals OSC 11-9 in leg 2 of the race for a spot in the Champions League preliminary round on Wednesday. Led by Serbian top scorer Stefan Mitrovic, who scored 4 goals, while Denes Varga added 3, Szolnok won three of the four quarters by a narrow margin and sealed the deal with just over a minute remaining as Mitrovic netted his 4th to give Szolnok an 11-8 advantage only to see Canadian international Kevin Graham responding on the other end to create the final score. OSC had trouble finding the net, especially through their well-known shooters with Bence Batori going 1 for 5 while Gabor Kovacs recorded a 1-for-6 performance and the trio of Adam Decker, Kevin Graham and Mikos Gor-Nagy scoring once out of 3 tries. Josep Kayes, top scorer for OSC in leg 1 in Budapest, was held scoreless in Wednesday's match as OSC combined for a 9-for-32 shooting percentage which proved vital in the loss. Meanwhile in Rijeka, Primorje secured their spot in the preliminary round. As expected one would say, although the 15-8 final score hides the struggle the home side was going through in the opening period and even first half. The young visitors quickly established 1-4 and 2-5 leads but could not maintain the pace and defensive levels against one of Europe's premier offences. A patient Primorje team, led by centre-forward Cosmin Radu who was a nightmare for the Serbian defence, and the shooting of Petar Muslim from outside, the Croatian champions took control in the second half and thanks to a 6-0 final period score eventually comfortably won by 7. Radnicki was the third side to join the Champions League preliminary round. But it didn't came easy despite having the biggest margin out of all leg 1's in round 3 facing CSM Oradea. In Romania the visitors from Serbia got off to a tough start as Oradea proved ready to attack their 5-goal deficit and looked well underway to an upset leading 7-3 at half-time. The dogfight got loose in the third period before the home side's resistance proved broken in a 3-3 3rd quarter with, as a result, Radnicki climbing back and thus securing their spot in the prelims in the final term scoring 4 unanswered goals to fall 10-9 but over 2 legs, comfortably beat the Romanian champions. As expected Pro Recco completed the prelims by comfortable eliminating Mladost. The Italian powerhouse, 2012 European champions, won both legs on Wednesday topping the Croats 5-9 in Zagreb. Serbian reinforcements Andrija Prlainovic and centre-forward Dusko Pijetlovic led the charge scoring 3 each while Luka Lozin and Ante Vukicevic netted 2 each for the home side. Now the biggest challenge is ahead as the Italians joins a highly competitive group A in the prelims with just 2 spots available for Final Six qualification. 

Leg 2

Wednesday 12-11:

Szolnok (HUN)* vs. OSC (HUN) 11-9 (4-3, 2-1, 3-2, 2-3) - A
Szolnok scorers: Stefan Mitrovic 4, Denes Varga 3, Marton Vamos 2, Milan Aleksic, Daniel Varga.

OSC scorers: Ferenc Salamon 3, Adam Decker, Bence Batori, Gabor Kovacs, Kevin Graham, Miklos Gor-Nagy, Erik Bundschuh.

Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO)* vs. Red Star Belgrade (SRB) 15-8 (1-4, 4-2, 4-2, 6-0) - C
Primorje scorers: Cosmin Radu 4, Petar Muslim 3, Ivan Buljubasic 2, Damir Buric, Sandro Sukno, Antonio Petrovic, Marko Elez, Andelo Setka, Xavi Garcia.

Red Star scorers: Radomir Drasovic 3, Nikola Tomasevic 3, Nikola Eskert, Viktor Rasovic.

HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) vs. Pro Recco (ITA)* 5-9 (3-4, 0-3, 1-1, 1-1) - B

Mladost scorers: Luka Lozina 2, Ante Vukicevic 2, Luka Bukic.

Pro Recco scorers: Andrija Prlainovic 3, Dusko Pijetlovic 3, Federico Lapenna, Maro Jokovic, Niccolo Figari.

CSM Digi Oradea (ROU) vs. VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)* 10-9 (4-2, 3-1, 3-3, 0-4) - D
Oradea scorers: Tiberiu Negrean 3, Vojislav Cupic 3, Marko Avramovic, Alex Popoviciu, Roland Szabo, Gheorghe Dunca.

Radnicki scorers: Marko Cuk 3, Josip Vrlic 2, Ivan Basara 2, Nikola Dedovic 2.

*qualifies for Champions League preliminary phase.

Leg 1 results

Wednesday, 29-10:

VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) vs. CSM Digi Oradea (ROU) 13-8 (3-2, 2-2, 3-1, 5-3)
OSC Budapest (HUN) vs. Szolnok (HUN) 11-11 (3-4, 0-1, 5-2, 3-4)
Red Star Belgrade (SRB) vs. Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) 11-14 (2-2, 2-3, 5-4, 2-5)
Pro Recco (ITA) vs. HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) 13-9 (5-1, 4-2, 1-3, 3-3)

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)
VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) - Winner qualification play-off D
Pro Recco (ITA) - Winner qualification play-off B

Group B

VK Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB)
VK Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)
Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin (GER)
Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR)
Szolnok (HUN) - Winner qualification play-off A
Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) - 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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