Hungarians dominate the opening round
Both Hungarian entrants finished atop in the respective groups in the opening round of the qualifications in the Euro Cup. Title-holder Ferencvaros and European newcomer Miskolc won 11 matches in as many appearances combined.
Though the team of Miskolc is a rookie at the European stage, this wasn’t felt in their matches: playing at home they rolled over all their five rivals. Their closest match was a 5-goal win over Mataro (ESP), otherwise they bettered their opponents by 8 or more goals. Kotor (MNE) and Shturm (RUS) advanced with fine wins but Mataro’s qualification was on the edge against Hornets (SVK). The Slovaks managed to go ahead in the fourth period, they missed a crucial man-up in the finish at 10-10, then a brutal foul with 0:01 to go led to a 4min suspension and a penalty which was buried by the Spaniards who clinched the last qualifying spot with this 11-10 win.
Title-holder Ferencvaros was the team to beat in the other group, still, no one could catch them. They played a close match against Jadran (CRO), but with a 3-0 last quarter they secured their 8-5 win while they beat host Verona (ITA) 11-9 after scoring the last two goals. Ferencvaros netted 107 in six games, their new player, Denes Varga (member of Szolnok’s Champions League winning side last May) set the bar high for the singe-game scoring record of the season when he hit 9 against Montpellier (FRA).
Verona and Jadran also went through, the fourth place was decided between the French sides and Paix D’Aix blew away Montpellier with a 14-9 triumph.
Euro Cup, Qualification Round 1
Group A (Miskolc)
- Miskolc (HUN) 15, 2. Primorac Kotor (MNE) 10, 3. Shturm Chechov (RUS) 10, 4. CN Mataro (ESP) 6, 5. Hornets Kosice (SVK) 3, 6. WS Hannover (GER) 0
Group B (Verona)
- Ferencvaros (HUN) 18, 2. SM Verona (ITA) 13, 3. Jadran Split (CRO) 13, 4. Pays D’Aix Natation (FRA) 9, 5. Montpellier (FRA) 6, 6. ZPC Amersfoort (NED) 3, 7. OSC Potsdam (POL) 0
Both draws will be held in the LEN Office in Nyon on Monday, 2 October.