Valladolid win openerArticle
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HCM Constanta and Pevafersa Valladolid opened the new CL season with a thrilling encounter.

Valladolid win opener

The Romanians and the Spaniards were far from unknown to each other: this was the third time in the last three years they met in the Europeans cups. Until now, Constanta and Valladolid played against each other in the Cup Winners' Cup. In 2006, Valladolid eliminated Constanta in the semifinals by 73-60 on aggregate. Last season, Pastor’s team eliminated the Romanians in the quarterfinals, also after two wins.

Valladolid were now back on the "crime scene” – the Buzau hall, they have sweet memories about. On their road to the Cup Winners' Cup trophy, Entrerrios and his teammates defeated Steaua Bucharest last season – they comfortably won against the Romanians in the same hall.

The 1,800 spectators who watched yesterday’s game had to wait 4 minutes to see the first goal – Miloslavjevic put Valladolid in front after some fine blocks from the two goalkeepers. Entrerrios made it 2-0, making coach Juan Carlos Pastor dream of an easy victory. But it was not at all easy. Constanta fought back and ended the first 15 minutes level, 5-5.

The Romanian champions did’t stop there: they took a 2 goals lead, 8-6 after 20 minutes. It was the moment the genius of Juan Carlos Pastor came out to light. The Spanish coach asked for a time-out; a decision which proved providential. Valladolid scored 7 goals in a row without conceding any and finally ended the first half with a 4 goals lead: 14-10.

With a brilliant Entrerrios, Valladolid continued their march to victory in the first 10 minutes of the second half. They put 6 goals between them and Constanta, 23-17. It was the moment the Romanians started to fight back: they managed to reduce the gap to 3 goals, 21-24 with 13 minutes to go.

The final minutes were the most intense: Constanta lost 3 chances in a row to come as close as 1 goal difference from Valladolid. But it was the Spanish team which scored the last goal of the game. Constanta – Valladolid 23-26 to the great satisfaction of Juan Carlos Pastor: ”We managed to do what we wanted to do: to start our campaign with a win. It was not easy, especially because we missed three of our key players today - Oscar Perales, Victor Hugo and Luka Scurek. Now we’ll just have to keep the pace.”

"Obviously, Valladolid are better team, but we cannot be happy with the result, because I felt that we could have won today,” said Silviu Baiceanu, Constanta’s line player and former Goppingen player.

"This is it. As I said before, I think we will fight against Pick Szeged for the 4th qualifying place in this group,” said Constanta’s coach, Zoran Kurtes.

Raul Entrerrios, with 8 goals, was the top goalscorer for Valadolid, while Constanta had in Toma and Pavlovic the best men – 5 goals each.

TEXT: Emilian Voicu