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2020 2021 Champions League LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Day 4 – Summary

Barceloneta is to have the happiest Christmas

Barceloneta can put three wins under the Christmas tree as the Spanish team offered a brilliant performance against Brescia. Shutting out the Italians for more then 13 minutes, the 2014 champions won their third game with their great defending in the first place – so they will restart their Champions League campaign from the top spot in Group B. In the other games, title-holder Ferencvaros equalled Recco’s season scoring record of 19 goals from yesterday, while Dinamo surprised Jadran in the clash of the underdogs.

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Group B – Budapest (HUN) Round 3: Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) 11-8, Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 6-19, AN Brescia (ITA) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) 6-8

Standings: 1. Barceloneta 9, 2. Brescia 6, 3. Ferencvaros 6, 4. Dinamo 3, 5. Jadran 3, 6. Hannover 0

Barceloneta spends the winter as the leader of Group B after bringing down Brescia in the battle of the last two unbeaten sides in Budapest. It was an even game in the first half, with some luck Brescia took the lead twice but Barceloneta hit back with a double in 89 seconds for 2-3. The Italians equalised for 3-3 but Alberto Munarriz gave back the lead for the Spaniards shortly before halftime.

The landscape changed dramatically in the third as the Spanish defence got even tighter and they killed one man-down after the other. And it was a real defensive masterpiece as Brescia stood 1 for 8 in man-ups after three periods and Dani Lopez didn’t even have to save a single shot in man-down since his mates blocked the shots or forced errors from the Italian offence. At the other end, Munarriz was simply unstoppable, he netted two in a span of 52 seconds in the third for 3-6 and added his fourth in the last quarter for 3-7, a magnificent blast from action.

To join the show, Lopez came up with two saves in back-to-back man-downs in the fourth – he finished with an amazing percentage of 68.8% (13 saves on 19 shots) – before Angelos Vlachopoulos broke Brescia’s long silence of 13:09 minutes with a smart action shot from the distance. But they couldn’t come closer as they missed their 10th 6 of 5 after a time-out and Alvaro Granados’ brilliant goal from the wing decided the outcome (4-8). Though the Italians pulled two back in the dying minutes, this time Barceloneta could overcome its nemesis – in the Champions League prelims they played 6 games since 2014, Brescia won 4 and two were tied. Now it was Barceloneta’s turn so they are the only team leaving Budapest with three wins after the first tournament.

Ferencvaros bounced back from its second round defeat to Brescia and enjoyed a comfortable cruise over F8 host Hannover. Though the Germans had some fine players in their line-up, it was visible that, due to the home lockdown since September, they couldn’t get into shape to play three matches in as many days. Also, their young reserve goalie Kevin Gotze was unable to handle the Magyars’ skilled shooters who tricked him a couple of times. Hannover could score its first goal late in the second, after 13:05 minutes at 0-6, so the match was just as calm as the empty Duna Arena. While the title-holders equalled Recco’s scoring record from yesterday – also set against a German side Spandau –, one might also note Champions League rookie Vendel Vigvari’s 4 goals in the match: the 19 year-old was among the last youngsters raised and educated by the late Magyar legend Tibor Benedek.

A bit surprisingly, Dinamo upended Jadran in the game of the underdogs. Jadran was perhaps mentally fresh from beating Hannover in the previous evening but the young players looked a bit tired since they had approximately 16 hours to recover. Still, they were in the game, led 3-4 and looked settled when a silly mistake pushed them into a downward spiral. After a turnover foul, they got the ball but the old instincts kicked in and a defender passed back towards the goalkeeper though the new rules allow taking the free throw wherever the ball is – Sandro Adeishvili, the centre whom the fault was called against, thanked the gift and finished the one-on-one.

From that point Jadran fell apart, lost the third 3-0 and could hit next after a drought of 10:35 minutes. Though in the fourth they managed to narrow the gap to 7-6 but a huge blast from Marco Jelaca right from the next possession put Dinamo back on track. A minute later it was 9-6 and there was no way back for the Montenegrins. This was the second win for Dinamo in the league, last season they beat Marseille while losing nine, now they look more composed and being ready for even more in springtime.

Champions League is to return on 1-5 March 2021 with four rounds in both groups.