Olympiakos water polo team celebrates European glory

Olympiakos became the first Greek club to win water polo’s European Championship League – the world’s premier club-level competition – on Saturday night, defeating Hungary’s Honved 9-7 in Budapest before a fervent home crowd. The victory capped off a perfect season for the Piraeus side which also reigned supreme in domestic competition, winning both the league title and Greek Cup. To qualify for the final, Olympiakos defeated Croatia’s Jug Dubrovnik – the team that narrowly defeated the Greek side in last year’s final, 8-7 – in the Final Four tournament’s semifinal game. «Considering the achievement, we’ll be considered failures no matter what we do next season,» quipped veteran Olympiakos player Themis Hadzis, who scored twice in the final. For long-serving goalie Makis Voltyrakis, who retired following the final, the title came as an ultimate career culmination. «It’s a top moment, both for me and the team,» Voltyrakis said. «We’ve reached the world’s top spot,» he added. Olympiakos dominated play throughout the match against its formidable Hungarian opponent, this year’s league champion at home, whose ranks included Olympic and World Champion players. The Greek team built a convincing 7-3 lead well into the game, which it maintained at 9-5 before Honved narrowed slightly for the final 9-7 score. Italy’s Posillipo took third place after defeating the tournament’s defending champion, Croatia’s Jug Dubrovnik, in the consolation final.