Champions League Final Six: Szolnok in final, Eger bow out
Champions of Hungary for three years running, Szolnok have now become the first Hungarian side to reach the Champions League final in twelve. Two years ago their interest ended in the quarter-finals at the hands of Barceloneta, last year they fell in the semis to Olympiakos, and now, standing in their way as they seek to become the first Hungarian side to win the trophy since Honvéd way back in 2004 against Jadran herceg Novi, are last season’s winners Jug Dubrovnik.
The match was the first time two Hungarian teams had met in the semi-finals, Szolnok the favourites courtesy of their three game victory over Eger in the Hungarian championship final. They would prevail once more despite falling behind, a solid mid-period of the game proving decisive.
The first quarter saw Balázs Hárai open the scoring for Eger before Ugo Crousillat levelled for Szolnok, Andrija Prlainović miss a penalty and then Krisztián Bedő put Eger 2-1 ahead. Szolnok would turn the screw in the second and third periods, Prlainović scoring twice in a somewhat scrappy second which gave Szolnok a 3-2 lead at half time, whilst the third period saw then extend their lead, Aaron Younger scoring twice as Szolnok raced into a 5-2 lead before Gergő Kovács reduced the deficit to 5-3 going into the final period.
Bálint Lőrincz gave Eger hope as they came back to 5-4, but, try as they could they just couldn’t find an equaliser. Younger scored his third of the evening to restore Szolnok’s two goal advantage and although Norbert Hosnyánszky replied, Prlainović, with his third of the match, settled matters with 1:38 remaining.
LEN Champions League Final Six
ZF-Eger 5–7 Szolnoki Dózsa-Közgép (2–1, 0–2, 1–2, 2–2)
Duna Aréna, referees: Margeta (Slovenia), Putniković (Serbia)
EGER: Mitrović – Decker Á., Hosnyánszky 1, Ćuk, Erdélyi, Vapenski, Hárai 1. Replacements: Angyal, Čučković, Lőrincz 1, Kovács G. 1, Bedő 1. Head coach: Norbert Dabrowski
SZOLNOK: Nagy V. – Gocić, Vámos, Jansik D., Mezei, Prlainović 3, Varga Dénes. Replacements: Crousillat 1, Aleksić, Younger 3, Kis G., Fülöp. Head coach: Sándor Cseh
Saturday 27 May
3rd place play-off: Pro Recco - ZF-Eger, 15:15
Final: Jug Dubrovnik - Szolnoki Dózsa-Közgép, 16:45