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18.02.2010, 10:00
Focused Montpellier victorious
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No problems for Karabatic’s team in Greece.
 

Focused Montpellier victorious

Montpellier HB find themselves at the top their Champions League Group 1, having a comfortable four point difference from runners-up Chekhovskie Medvedi after the French champions won 34-23 over PAOK in Saloniki in their eighth Group game.

From the very beginning the French imposed their pace and made clear that there would be no mercy for the Greek champions.

Within 20 minutes they led with 7 goals, at halftime the score was 19-10 in favour of Montpellier HB.

After 10 strong first minutes of the second half Montpellier led 22-12 and started changing and letting the reserves finish the game.

PAOK played without their injured line player Nikos Kokkonis while Montpellier HB missed three regulars in the squad as Hmam and Tej were with the Tunisian national team and Honrubia is still injured.

Best scorers of the teams were Sevastidis (PAOK) and Kavticnik (Montpellier HB) with 7 goals each.

"We played against a great team with a different game culture. But my players did well, and maybe if we would have acted more attentively the score could have been smaller," PAOK coach Stelios Seirekidis summarized the game.

Montpellier HB’s coach Patrice Canayer commented: "It was an interesting game. We arrived well prepared as we had seen PAOK against Pick Szeged. We have a strong emphasis on preparation and were quite careful."

He then went on: "We want to thank PAOK for hosting. To play against them in this big hall was a great pleasure for my team. I am aware that PAOK basketball currently draws more people to the halls, but I hope soon the handball team will also have a similar treatment from the club’s fans."

About the change of Karabatic after 45 minutes he said: "I did not bring Karabatic to watch the other players from the bench. We wanted to be on the pace of this game because we have other games soon, in the French league and in Europe. Compared with the first game, PAOK have improved a lot."

Nikola Karabatic said: "We were very strong by doing our job properly. So we easily achieved a victory. Even if PAOK is on a level that we should be able to beat, we were in a very good condition this time."

PAOK’s manager Antonis Saoulidis said: "As a team we have now overcome the initial fear we used to feel for such opponents. The team has improved and is not afraid anymore to give all our opponents a good battle."

The other group matches Chekhovskie Medvedi versus Pick Szeged and Pevafersa Valladolid versus HCM Constanta will be held on Saturday.


TEXT: Konstantinos Chatzidimitriou
 
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