Ortigia stuns Vouliagmeni once again, Eger survives shootout
While top favourite Brescia sailed to the semis with a double win, the other three duels were decided by a single goal. Ortigia stunned Vouliagmeni just like last year: despite a promising result in the first leg, the Greeks lost once more to the Italians at home. Mataro almost came back from a three-goal deficit against Oradea but couldn’t hold on till the end. Strasbourg was close to a miracle as it managed to bounce back after its four-goal loss in Eger but bowed out in the penalty shootout.
Euro Cup, Quarter-finals, 2nd leg
NC Vouliagmeni GRE) v CC Ortigia (ITA) 6-7
Quadis CN Mataro (ESP) v DiGi Oradea (ROU) 10-8
MVLC Miskolc (HUN) v AN Brescia (ITA) 10-11
Team Strasbourg (FRA) v ZF-Eger (HUN) 10-6, pen: 3-4
Ortigia and Vouliagmeni met last season in the quarter-finals too. Back then, the Greeks won by one goal in Sicily but the Italians hit back with a three-goal victory in the second leg. This time the set-up was the same, first game in Sicily, now ending in a 9-9 draw. And again, it was Ortigia which managed to go through thanks to a hard-fought single-goal win. After an action-pack first half which saw 5 goals apiece, the second one was a tense battle. Goals ceased completely in the third period, then after a quick exchange for 6-6 Ortigia missed a penalty but the Greeks couldn’t make any of their 6 on 5s either. With 2:13 to go Simone Rossi put one away for Ortigia and that sent the Italians to the semis as they managed to deny the hosts in their last man-up.
Mataro was close to force a shootout against Oradea. The Spaniards were able to clear their three-goal deficit by half-time but the visitors netted two in 42 seconds early in the third and that brought even more heat to the pool. Mataro led 8-6 before the last quarter and could equal the aggregate score twice, with 4:57 to go they were 10-7 up and soon had a man-up but missed it and that was crucial. Ferenc Czenk netted an action goal with 2:37 remaining and even though Terrassa had two more man-ups, wasted both, thus Oradea can play in the semis again after 2017.
Mataro was close, while Strasbourg managed to force a shootout against Eger – quite a feat after having lost by four goals in the first leg. The first period was balanced but then the French drew up a winning scheme: killed a man-down and netted an action goal – they did it three times in succession to gain a 5-2 lead by halftime and were still 8-5 up before the last period. There they were able to go even for the first time in aggregate at 9-5 and once more at 10-6 with 3:36 minutes remaining. They killed one more man-down and had a 6 on 5 later to complete their miracle but missed that so the semi-final berth was decided in a penalty shootout.
It opened with two saves, followed seven buried penalties then Istvan Kardos denied the hosts’ last attempt to send Eger through and prevent a double French triumph over the Hungarians in the two evening matches of this Saturday (at the same time Marseille pulled off a surprising win against OSC in Budapest in the Champions League).
Unlike fellow regular Champions League F8 player Eger, Brescia didn’t go through any similar excitements. The Italians added a fine win in Miskolc to their 7-goal blast from the first leg and stayed on track to claim this trophy for a record 5th time.