The usual final, Marseille-Montpellier

Marseille, who crushed (17-4) the team of Strasbourg so far away from hopes they had raised and Montpellier, again victorious (6-4) over the  team of Nice that were once again (once too often?) cracked, will meet in the final of the French Pro a league for the sixth consecutive year!

If Marseille came back from the Alsace shaken by its first defeat of the season (7-8), Strasbourg savored this (short) moment of glory and began to dream of a tremendous feat in the Provence. In fact, this is the real thrashing suffered by Strasbourg in the second leg which was tremendous. Drowned, overwhelmed, helpless, crushed... there are not enough adjectives to describe the total defeat suffered by the Alsatians. 5-1, 10-1, 14-2 and 17-4: the evolution of the score says all the superiority of the 2014 runner-up against the 2015 outsider. How to summarise a match when in fact, there was no? Simply by saying that Marseille put things very clear by fully expressing the potential of its roster. As for Strasbourg, one must suppose that last Wednesday's victory has completely demobilised the Alsatians. Nevertheless they quickly have to react in order to get on the podium.

Uros Kalinic (Montpellier) in action –

Despite the defeat in its pool last Wednesday (9-11) when coming to Montpellier, Nice kept on hope to get the berth for the final. The opening goal by David Babic after fifteen seconds of play reinforced this hope. Uros Kalinic (pictured) and Mathieu Peisson (Montpellier) then met a goal of Marino Divkovic (Nice) for a balanced first period (2-2). The second period was both intense in physical confrontation, and very "unproductive": after taking the lead by Kalinic (3-2), Montpellier missed three man-up possessions, which was only increasing uncertainty. In the third period, thanks to David Babic Nice equalised (3-3) then took the lead for the first time of the match. For the first… and the last time. Following the exclusion of Toma Rodin (Nice’s captain) for aggressiveness, Montpellier levelled just before the final period (4-4). The audience did not know it yet, but Nice had just let its chance go. Ilya Mustur and, again, Uros Kalinic definitively put Montpellier ahead, to the despair and also nervousness of some player’s of the French Riviera, like Jure Nastran who shot on one referee, claiming to have passed him the ball!

For the sixth consecutive year, the enemy brothers of French water polo will battle in the final. It is clear that, apart from its only loss in Strasbourg, based on the results of the regular season and its top-level roster, Marseille seems to be the heavy favourite. Yet Montpellier, that one said aging and declining, surprised everyone in this semi-final proving that the (still) reigning champion is far from having given up the possibility of a third title. Answer next week.

French Pro A League

Results: semifinals 2nd leg.

Marseille – Strasbourg 17 – 4 (5-1, 5-0, 4-1, 3-2) – First leg : 7 – 8
Montpellier – Nice  6 – 4 (2-2, 1-0, 1-2, 2-0) – First leg : 11 – 9


1st leg
Wednesday 13th of May

Montpellier – Marseille (gold medal)
Strasbourg – Nice (bronze medal)

2nd leg
Saturday 16th of May

Marseille – Montpellier (gold medal)
Nice – Strasbourg (bronze medal)

Thanks to Eric Dupont.

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