Champions League Final Six: Eger make it through to the semi-finals!

There will definitely be a Hungarian finalist this year after Eger defeated Brescia in a titanic battle to ensure a semi-final clash against domestic rivals Szolnok on Friday.

Photo: Dávid Madar

Eger and Brescia knew all they needed to know about each other despite not having met yet this season and last year's meeting already consigned to history. Predictably then the teams started cautiously but also unsurprising was Balázs Hárai's opening goal! The world-champion centre wasn't in his normal position but rather he came in from the wing and shot, del Lungo's desperate dive nowhere near enough to stop Eger taking the lead.

The Italian team soon equalised through Nora before Cuk was excluded and Brescia's coach Bovo requested a timeout, the 'away' team's good period continuing when Paskovic's precise finish gave them the lead and only Mitrovic's save kept the scoreline from chaging to 3-1.

Instead it became 2-2! Vapenski found Hárai who crashed the ball in off the woodwork, after which more good work from Mitrovic ensured parity was maintained despite another exclusion, Eger's fifth of the match thus far.

Into the second quarter and Cuk hit the woodwork before Nora slid the ball under Mitrovic's arm to restore their lead. Randelovic then hit the frame of the goal for Brescia before Cuk saw a shot saved above his head by del Lungo and Cukovic improved upon that by levelling the scores once again. It could even have been 4-3 to Eger had Angyal's shot just prior to the half-time whistle not been saved by the Italian keeper.

Neither side gave the other much space in which to operate early in the third quarter, the game becoming the low-scoring affair Eger coach Norbert Dabrowski had predicted. Norbert Hosnyánszky's screw shot unluckily landed on the roof of the net but Eger soon took the lead again through Gergő Kovács's first time shot coming in from a wide position.

However Eger, in general, were committing occasional errors which were undermining their efforts to forge ahead. Muslim's shot from distance levelled the match for Brescia to ensure that the last quarter would decide who would win if it was to be settled in normal time.

Settled it was, as Vapenski put Eger ahead with a shot that surprised del Lungo then Hárai made it 6-4 with 4:29 left on the clock. Mitrovic saved during a player-advantage situation for Brescia before Eger had a golden chance to seal the match, only for Erdélyi to miss a five-metre penalty. In the end it didn't matter, no further goals meaning that Eger would progress to a semi-final with Szolnoki Dózsa on Friday.

Men's Champions' League, Final Six
Play-off to reach the semi-final stage

ZF-Eger 6–4 AN Brescia (ITA) (2–2, 1–1, 1–1, 2–0)
Duna Aréna, officials: Putnikovic (SRB), Schwartz (ISR)

EGER: Mitrovic – Cuckovic 1, Hosnyánszky, Csuk, Erdélyi, Vapenski 1, Hárai 3. Replacements: Angyal, Decker Á., Lőrincz, Kovács G. 1, Bedő. Head coach: Dabrowski Norbert

BRESCIA: del Lungo – C. Presciutti, Randelovic, Paskovic 1, Muslim 1, Nora 2, Bertoli. Replacements: Guerrato, Manzi, N. Presciutti, Ubovic, Napolitano. Head coach: Alessandro Bovo

Rest of the schedule

Friday 26th May – Semi-finals
Olympiakos-Brescia (5th-place play-off), 17:30
Jug Dubrovnik - Pro Recco, 19:00
ZF-Eger - Szolnoki Dózsa-Közgép, 20:30

Saturday 27th May
Bronze-medal match, 15:15
Final, 16:45