giovedì 5 marzo 2015

Champions League 2014-2015 Preliminary round

Kicking off the action on day 6 of the Champions League prelims Wednesday were Partizan and Spandau in the first of rematches of the day 5 match-ups. The young Partizan side responded well to the 8-6 loss to Spandau on day 5 in Berlin by topping the German squad with the final score at home in Belgrade on Wednesday, marking their second win of the campaign so far. Key in the victory was the 3-0 run in the third quarter which proved to a decisive push for positive outcome and even created enough space to overcome a 1-3 loss in the final period. Dusan Mandic, Gavril Subotic (pictured) and Ognjen Stojanovic led the Partizan offence scoring 2 goals each. Erik Miers was the only player to do so for Spandau. Big consequences for the group B table however are not expected. The top 3 sides in the group still enjoy a more than comfortable advantage over the bottom 3, now led by Partizan.

A big win was posted by ZF-Eger who held off Radnicki in the top match-up of day 6 in group A thanks to a strong second half showing. The fourh quarter proved decisive in this close contest. Here the home team started off by scoring two straight goals (Balazs Erdelyi, Boris Vapenski) to give them a 5-3 advantage. And that was the prelude to a final phase in which Radnicki desperately tried to get back but saw Eger having the answers at the right times. Marton Szivos scored the 6-4 goals and when centre-back Uros Cuckovic did the same, but now for the 7-5 advantage, with just 2.27 remaining, the victory was as close as ever. Radnicki centre-forward Josip Vrlic responded with just over a minute remaining but Eger held on for the close but important victory as they now find themselves in the driver's seat behind Pro Recco on the 2nd spot in group A, well underway to qualification for the Final Six in Barcelona late May.

Another big win was reached by Jug Dubrovnik who celebrated the first game under new head coach Vjekoslav Kobescak by beating Croatian rivals Primorje 9-6 at home to finish off a recent dissapointing series. In the first period however it didn't look that way, yet. Primorje went into the second term leading 2-3 before Jug grabbed control and even established an advantage around the main break that proved decisive. Miho Boskovic and Nikola Janovic carried the load by netting 3 shots apiece as Jug, in front of the home crowd, lived up to the expectation and potential of their talented roster to overcome Primorje for the first time this season to get back the confidence they were looking for. The top 3 teams in group B have virtually secured their spots in the Final Six but after the 10-5 loss to Primorje in Rijeka on day 5, al welcome and perhaps igniting win for Jug at home on Wednesday.

Vjekoslav Kobescak celebrated a big win for Jug in his first game head coaching the team.

The same went for reigning champions Barceloneta who noted a second straight win over Olympiacos, this time at home, to now have taken the third place in group A, although Pro Recco and Brescia still have to play their match-up. The four-goal win came in the second half after a close first two period between the two sides. Olympiacos, desperate for points in the group in order not to lose Final Six ambitions out of site, played along nicely, but finally lost control in the last quarter where the home team walked away, led by Felipe Perrone and top scorer Albert Español who netted 3 each. And so after a shaky start of the campaign for the defending champions, the two victories over Olympiacos, put them in a nice position and certainly looks to legitimise the fact that Barceloneta, as hosts, are already sure of playing the Final Six.

Pro Recco remained the only unbeaten team in the prelims but had to overcome a heavy challenge in Brescia where the home team put up quite a fight but could not stop Aleksandar Ivovic from scoring 4 goals, Recco from responding big in the final quarter as the visitors walked away with a 5-6 victory. The match went back and forth. Recco came out solid and, despite both defences working well in preventing the opponents from scoring, managed to establish a narrow 1-3 lead at half-time. Things changed however in the third session where Brescia simply took over scoring 3 straight and unaswered goals to climb back in the game and even led 4-3. The response by Recco that followed in the final period though was perhaps even more impressive. Three straight goals turned the game around with centre-forward Dusko Pijetlovic scoring the exclamation point with just 0.48 to play giving Recco a 4-6 lead. The consolation goal by leftie Alessandro Nora for Brescia came too late with 0.13 on the clock as Recco played out their subsequent possession and secured the tough win.

Day 6

Wednesday, 4 March:

Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) vs. Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin (GER) 8-6 (2-2, 2-1, 3-0, 1-3)
Partizan scorers: Dusan Mandic 2, Gavril Subotic 2, Ognjen Stojanovic 2, Djordje Lazic, Drasko Gogov.

Spandau scorers: Erik Miers 2, Mateo Cuk, Maurice Jüngling, Marko Stamm, Marin Restovic.

ZF-Eger (HUN) vs. VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) 7-6 (1-1, 1-2, 1-0, 4-3)
Eger scorers: Balazs Erdelyi 2, Uros Cuckovic, Balint Lorincz, Milos Cuk, Marton Szivos, Boris Vapenski.

Radnicki scorers: Josip Vrlic, Aleksandar Ciric, Ivan Basara, Nikola Dedovic, Marko Cuk, Marko Petkovic.

Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) vs. Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) 9-6 (2-3, 2-0, 3-1, 2-2)
Jug scorers: Miho Boskovic 3, Nikola Janovic 3, Aaron Younger, Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, Paulo Obradovic.

Primorje scorers: Cosmin Radu 2, Sandro Sukno 2, Petar Muslim, Xavi Garcia.

C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta (ESP) vs. Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 12-8 (2-2, 3-3, 3-2, 4-1)
Barceloneta scorers: Felipe Perrone 3, Albert Español 3, Francisco Fernandez 2, Marc Roca, Gonzalo Echenique, Nemanja Ubovic, Roger Tahull.

Olympiacos scorers: Angelos Vlachopoulos 2, Ioannis Fountoulis 2, Georgios Ntoskas 2, Christodoulos Kolomvos, Blai Mallarach.

Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR) vs. Szolnoki VSK (HUN) 12-17 (2-5, 4-5, 3-2, 3-5)
Galatasaray scorers: Mladjan Janovic 3, Slobodan Nikic 3, Nikola Vukcevic 2, Srdjan Aksentijevic 2, Berk Biyik, Mihajlo Korolija.

Szolnok scorers: Stefan Mitrovic 5, Denes Varga 5, Daniel Varga 3, Marton Toth 2, Norbert Madaras, Milan Aleksic.

AN Brescia (ITA) vs. Pro Recco (ITA) 5-6 (1-2, 0-1, 3-0, 1-3)
Brescia scorers: Christian Presciutti, Valerio Rizzo, Alessandro Nora, Nicholas Presciutti, Michaël Bodegas.

Pro Recco scorers: Aleksandar Ivovic 4, Dusko Pijetlovic, Filip Filipovic.

The current standings are:

Group A
1. Pro Recco 6 - 18 pts
2. ZF-Eger 6 - 10
3. C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta 6 - 8
4. VK Radnicki Kragujevac 6 - 6
5. AN Brescia 6 - 5
6. Olympiacos Piraeus 6 - 4

Group B
1. Jug CO Dubrovnik 6 - 15 pts
2. Szolnoki VSK 6 - 15
3. Primorje EB Rijeka 6 - 12
4. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade 6 - 6
5. Galatasaray Istanbul 6 - 3
6. Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin 6 - 3

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