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28.04.2013, 19:10
Brilliant Kielce make their dream come true
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First ever Polish team at VELUX EHF FINAL4 after beating Metalurg Skopje for the second time in the quarter-final
 

Brilliant Kielce make their dream come true

New faces in Cologne as for the first time ever a Polish team have made it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4. Even in the 20-year-long history of the EHF Champions League, Vive Targi Kielce are the first Polish team, which has qualified for the semi-finals.

After building the base in the first leg of the quarter-final by a 27:25 away victory at Metalurg Skopje, Kielce made their dream come true on Sunday by winning the second leg even clearer by 26:15 (12:8), showing their dominance and hunger.

On Saturday, the powerhouses of THW Kiel and FC Barcelona Intersport had already qualified for the season’s highlighter – and now are, like Kielce, eagerly awaiting the draw on Thursday in Cologne (11:30 hrs. local time, streamed live on ehfTV.com).

As all previous games of those two teams in the current season, defence was the key for success of the Polish champions – especially the goalkeeping of superb Venio Losert.

Metalurg managed to stand strong in the opening period, but when Ivan Čupić scored his third of in total five goals for the 8:7, the spell was broken for the host. An overall 5:1 series after the 7:7 made the fans in the sold-out arena go wild for the first time – and the 12:8 halftime score was more than a base for clinching the berth for the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

Especially Kielce’s top scorer Michal Jurecki set the signs before the break by hammering five times into the goal of Darko Stanić, who in minute 36 even was lobbed by Denis Buntić from 30 metres, when the Serbian international left his goal. In the end, Jurecki had in total eight goals on his tally.

Additionally, Kielce’s defence stood solid as a rock, to it took Metalurg 35 minutes to score their first ten goals.

At 15:10 in minute 38 the distance were five goals for the first time, which meant that Metalurg had to catch-up at least seven goals in 22 minutes – impossible! From that moment on, the Macedonians resigned, knowing their fate was sealed. As Losert shut up his shop, they stopped scoring and even a time-out of coach Lino Červar at 11:17 did not stop the downswing.

Kielce overran their opponent by counter-attacks after Losert’s saves. In minute 50 the difference was double figured for the first time, when Manuel Štrlek scored the 22:12. And Kielce’s hunger still was not stilled, while Červar was looking helpless from the bench to the court, just trying to run down the clock to end this nightmare.

But despite the fourth defeat in the fourth duel with Kielce in this season, Metalurg can return home heads held high, as they were the first ever Macedonian team to be part of a VELUX EHF Champions League quarter-final.

And with the final whistle the big party started at Kielce, opened by club president Bertus Servaas, raising the sign “Final 4 - yes we did”, while the players were jumping for joy on the court.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
 
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