© Vojislav Petrovic

Partizan secures Final Six spot - Champions League day 8 results

Only 3 games remained for ZF Eger to collect 6 points and meet the Champions League target set by the club management after Norbert Dabrowski was appointed head coach. Opponent JUG Dubrovnik has known better times as well. The dominance of rivals Primorje Rijeka in the Adriatic league and a couple of losses in big European games led to the demotion of former Jug head coach Veselin Đuho while Miho Bobić was promoted from the youth squad to now be responsible for the first team.
The Croatians are still very much in the race for Champions League Final 6 qualification though.

ZF-Eger started the game without Barcelona World Champions Miklos Gor-Nagy and Balazs Harai who are both sitting out a shoulder injury.

In the first period Jug defended well while at the same time their offence proved to be much more efficient than Eger’s. Goals from Boskovic, who grew to be Eger’s nemesis today with a total of 4 goals, and Nikola Janovic put the hosts on a 2-goal lead ahead of the first break.
During the following 3 periods Eger fought hard to overcome this 2-goal trail, however whenever the hosts came closer Croatian champions Jug responded by taking the lead again.
With just over 2 minutes remaining in the final period Eger still had everything in own hands.
From a quick break captain Péter Biros found youngster Krisztián Bedő who stayed calm and put the score on 8-8.
Jug reacted as they had been doing the entire game though.
Strong centre-forward play by Croatian international Niksa Dobud put the guests up ahead again, and when wasteful passing of Biros led to loss of possession for Eger the attending fans knew that, yet again, today was not going to be their day to celebrate. To put some extra salt in the wounds veteran Pavo Markovic cashed in on a late Jug man-up to set the final score on 8-10.

Text: Kevin Vernooij, Hungary correspondent.

Radnicki not to be surprised by Spandau

Meanwhile in group B Radnicki continued their dominance and unbeaten run by holding off German opponent Spandau 16-10. The start by the Serbian side was far from impressive as a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot by Marko Stamm skipped in past goalie Zdravko Radic to display a 4-3 score on the boards at quarter-time. But Radnicki started rolling from there on quickly walking away in the second period thanks to a balanced attack and finished the game off by againe extending their margin to the clear six goals at the end.

Partizan joins group B powerhouses in Final Six

The participants in the Champions League Final Six tournament out of group B are now known after Partizan secured their spot with the Elite in Barcelona late May thanks to a 7-9 win at Oradea, Romania. The visitors enjoyed a storming start grabbing a 1-5 lead in the opening period, a quick 4-goal margin that eventually proved decisive. Oradea hung on and got back in the game in the third period thanks to a 4-1 run. But that was still not enough although the pressure on Partizan was visibly rising. However in a tense final term the young Vladimir Vujasinovic coached side was there on defence when it counted the most including a late man-down possession with under a minute remaining which led to a forced and heavily guarded shot from Kalman Kadar that was saved by Partizan goalkeeper Stefan Živojinović and secured the win for Partizan. The team, suffering from severe financial difficulties the Partizan water polo club, a 7-time European club champion, is going through, remained focus throught their Champions League campaign so far and got rewarded by qualifying to play for the Champions League title once more after hosting the Final Four tournament last year in Belgrade.

Brescia consolidates second place

Brescia posted a solid win over Galatasaray on Wednesday in Istanbul edging the home side 5-10. A furious star by the Italian visitors set the tone straight away as the scoreboard showed a clear 0-3 at the first break. The Turkish side got involved from there a bit more keeping the race tied in the second period before Brescia showed off their strength, a balanced and varied attack led once again by French centre forward Michael Bodegas, one of the multiple additions for the Italian runners-up last summer and an absolute revelation so far. Galatasaray saw the opponents walking even further away in the third period in which the game was basically decided as the visitors enjoyed a comfortable 4-9 lead going into the final term. A goal apiece in the final eight minutes just changed the score as Brescia consolidated their second spot en route to Barcelona.

Primorje edges Olympiacos, now close to winning group A

Meanwhile in group A Primorje still leads the pack. In another challenging encounter hosting Olympiacos, who are on a strong stint recently, the Greek side showed once again to be perfectly capable of rolling with Europe's best as they kept Primorje busy for at least three quarters in a tight game that saw tied scores in three of the four periods. However Champions League title favorites Primorje made the difference in the third session keeping Olympiacos scoreless while hitting two temselves and that run proved decisive in a game of details as the Rijeka based side went on to win 10-8. The hosts added another important three points to their total now looking well underway to win group A and qualify for the Final Six semi-finals directly.

Pro Recco beats Barceloneta to set up exciting Final Six race climax

In the final game on Wednesday it was 2012 European champion Pro Recco who hosted Barceloneta in another important match-up in group A. The Italians came up big obviously aware of the stakes taking the lead right from the start to not giving that away. A strong defensive display, reminding of the strong defensive team that coach Porzio had set up in the 2012 campaign, made life hard for the visitors while getting a variety of goals thanks to the well-known balanced attack on the other end. It simply proved too much for the Final Six hosts who had to settle for an 11-6 loss in a currently up-and-down series that saw Barcelona beating Jug 8-9 on day 7 after a double loss to Olympiacos in the previous rounds. The situation in group A is now getting more and more tense as the two major contenders to join group leaders Primorje and the qualified side of Barceloneta into the Final Six are tied again at 13 points with just two more matches to go. Based on the schedule Pro Recco looks to have the better papers facing the group's bottom two ranked sides in the final games while Jug hosts Primorje on day 9 followed by a visit to Greece to battle Olympiacos in the final game.

Champions League 2013-2014
Preliminary phase

Matchday 8 fixtures and results

Wednesday 26 March

Group A

ZF-Eger (HUN) vs. Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) 8-10 (0-2, 3-3, 2-2, 3-3)
Eger scorers: Zsolt Varga 2, Kevin Graham 2, Kristian Bedö 2, Erik Bundshuh, Peter Biros.

Jug scorers: Miho Boskovic (pictured) 4, Nikola Janovic, Hrvoje Benic, Andro Buslje, Josip Sutalo, Niksa Dobud, Pavo Markovic.

Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) vs. Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 10-8 (4-4, 2-2, 2-0, 2-2)
Primorje scorers: Denes Varga 2, Petar Muslim 2, Paulo Obradovic 2, Antonio Petrovic, Daniel Varga.

Olympiacos scorers: Ioannis Fountoulis 2, Angelos Vlachopoulos 2, Blai Mallarach 2, Anastasios Schizas 2.

Pro Recco (ITA) vs. C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta (ESP)  11-6 (3-1, 3-2, 2-1, 3-2)
Pro Recco scorers: Aleksandar Ivovic 3, Pietro Figlioli 2, Alex Giorgetti 2, Mladan Janovic 2, Matteo Aicardi, Massimo Giaccoppo.

Barceloneta scorers: Albert Español 3, Felipe Perrone 2, Nemanja Ubovic.

Current standings are as follows:

1. Primorje EB Rijeka 8 - 19 pts
2. Pro Recco 8 - 13
3. C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta 8 - 13
4. Jug CO Dubrovnik 8 - 13
5. Olympiacos Piraeus 8 - 9
6. ZF-Eger 8 - 3

Group B

VK Radnicki Kon Tiki Kragujevav (SRB) vs. Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin (GER) 16-10 (4-3, 4-1, 3-4, 5-2)

Radnicki scorers: Ivan Basara 3, Boris Zlokovic 3, Filip Filipovic 3, Damir Buric 2, Djordje Filipovic 2, Michael Rosenthal, Vedran Cirkovic, Milos Milicic.

Spandau scorers: Moritz Oeler 3, Petar Markovic 2, Marice Jüngling 2, Marc Politze, Erik Miers, Marko Stamm.

CSM Digi Oradea (ROU) vs. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) 7-9 (1-5, 2-2, 4-1, 1-1)
Oradea scorers: Gheorghe Dunca 3, Tiberiu Negrean 2, Vojislav Cupic, Nicolai Diaconu.

Partizan scorers: Milos Cuk (pictured) 2, Nikola Jaksic 2, Dusan Mandic, Gavril Subotic, Ivan Rackov, Luuk Gielen, Nikola Dedovic.

Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR) vs. AN Brescia (ITA) 5-10 (0-3, 3-3, 1-3, 1-1)
Galatasaray scorers: Jesse Smith, Engin Colak, Ihsan Gulsoy, Alican Cagatay, Srdjan Aksentijevic.

Brescia scorers: Michael Bodegas 4, Ugo Crousillat 2, Valerio Rizo 2, Giuseppe Valentino, Francesco di Fulvio.

Current standings are as follows:

1. VK Radnicki Kon Tiki Kragujevac 8 - 24 pts
2. AN Brescia 8 - 18
3. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade 8 - 15
4. Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin 8 - 7
5. Galatasaray Istanbul 8 - 5
6. CSM Digi Oradea 8 - 1

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