26 Feb Final Four: repeating 2015 By: Tim Hartog Women, Euro League No double: four nations had two teams respectively in the quarters and all four will be represented by one side apiece in the Euro League Final Four (consequently in the LEN Trophy F4, too) as return legs didn’t bring any surprise. In fact, the same four teams will play for the most prestigious women’s club trophy as in the last year. Title-holder Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) enjoyed the easiest cruise to the final phase winning both home and away pretty convincingly. The Greeks arrived to Russia with a 3-goal advantage and by halftime they managed to widen the gap in aggregate as they led 3-5. Uralochka couldn’t break the visitors’ defence and at the end suffered a worse beat (5-10) than in Piraeus. It was a different story in Kirishi where Kinef (RUS), thanks to a 0-3 rush in the last period in Athens, was already in the driving seat at the beginning and they managed to control the match against Vouliagmeni (GRE) in all four quarters this time. They went 3-1 ahead after eight minutes, were 6-3 up at halftime and from then their win was never in danger. Interestingly, only four players scored for the hosts (13-9), Evgeniia Soboleva led the charge with 5 hits. Spain’s top side, CN Sabadell went through a minor scare in Szentes (HUN), where the Hungarians, trailing by five goals after the first leg, built a 7-4 lead in the second period. However, the Spaniards – finalists 4 times in the last 5 editions – managed to kill the hosts’ momentum and by the middle of the third they were ahead at 7-8. It finished 11-11 with the two powerful centre-forwards producing some memorable moments, Barbara Bujka netted 5 for the hosts while Maica Garcia scored 4 for Sabadell. UVSE Budapest saved the Hungarians’ pride by downing Mataro (ESP) with ease (9-4). Though the visitors took the lead right from the first attack but the Magyars hit back with 8 unanswered goals – in fact, Mataro was shut out for 19:54 minutes and was out of contest once falling 8-1 behind. This also means that – for the second time in the history of the competition – the same four sides reached the Euro League Final Four tournament as in the previous year (this happened in 2002 and 2003, but none of the current participants were part of that special repetition). The losing teams also have a chance to earn some consolation as they can compete for the LEN Trophy – hosts of both tournaments will be announced later. Women Euro League, Quarter-finals, 2nd leg Hungerit-Szentes (HUN) v CN Sabadell (ESP) 11-11 Aggregate: 21-26 Kinef Surgutneftegas Kirishi (RUS) v Vouliagmeni (GRE) 13-9 Aggregate: 23-18 Uralochka Zlatoust (RUS) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 5-10 Aggregate: 15-23 UVSE (HUN) v CN Mataro La Sirena (ESP) 9-4 Aggregate: 16-11 Winners qualified to the Euro League Final Four, while the losing sides will play in the LEN Trophy Final Four. Source: LEN.