Last year’s finals to be replayed in the quarters
It’s quarterfinals day in the women’s Euro League, traditionally the most heated phase of the process before the Final Four tournaments. Winners can dream on clinching the most prestigious trophy of women’s club water polo while the losers can play for the LEN Trophy.
Each of the four duels has some curiosity this year. First of all, last year’s final will be replayed in the quarters as title-holder Kirishi (RUS) clashes with Olympiacos (GRE) again. The Russians captured the trophy after an extremely long wait, they played in 10 F4s before finishing atop on their 11th try – they could beat the Greeks 7-6 in the final at home last April. Olympiacos is also a strong contender, they made the finals in the last three years and claimed the title in 2015.
The most successful side of recent years, Sabadell – winner of four titles in the last seven years – faces fellow Spanish club Mataro. Mataro won the LEN Trophy two years ago and reached the Euro League F4 surprisingly last season before losing to Sabadell in the bronze medal game (5-7). Sabadell is the favourite in this in-house encounter as it hasn’t missed the last phase since 2010.
By historical measures Orizzonte (ITA) is the record-holder team with eight titles though their last came exactly ten years ago. Since then they had some decline but now they are ready to qualify for the first time after 2014. It won’t be easy, though, as Hungary’s No. 2 side Dunaujvaros is a tough opponent. The Magyar side can look back to four F4 appearances though their three straight bronze medals dates back 2004-2006 – since then they couldn’t return to the big stage.
The other final of 2017 will also be replayed as Hungary’s current No 1. UVSE was drawn against Padova (ITA) – these two battled for the LEN Trophy last spring where UVSE prevailed 8-7 amidst sheer excitements. Their following matches promise something similar: UVSE, Euro League runner-up in 2016, suffered a stunning defeat against Mataro in the last year’s quarters while Padova is seeking its first-ever EL F4 appearance.
Women’s Euro League, Quarterfinals, 1st leg
13.15 GMT+1 – Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP) v La Sirena Mataro (ESP)
14.00 GMT + 3 – Kinef Kirishi (RUS) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
17.00 GMT + 1 – Dunaujvaros-Maarsk Graphics (HUN) v Ekipe Orizzonte (ITA)
19.00 GMT +1 – UVSE Budapest (HUN) v Plebiscito Padova (ITA)
Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP) v La Sirena Mataro (ESP)
Dunaujvaros-Maarsk Graphics (HUN) v Ekipe Orizzonte (ITA)
Kinef Kirishi (RUS) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
UVSE Budapest (HUN) v Plebiscito Padova (ITA)