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25.04.2014, 11:40
Two ties still open, one all but decided
«Go back »Print Version


ROUND PREVIEW: This weekend we will discover which three teams will join Füchse at the EHF Cup Finals in Berlin

» »2013-14 Men's EHF Cup
»Quarter Finals
»
 

Two ties still open, one all but decided

When the second legs of the EHF Cup Quarter-finals begin this weekend, two ties are still more or less up for grabs, while the last one appears to be almost decided.

HCM Constanta are extremely close to the EHF Cup Finals as they visit Sweden and Lugi HF. Having won the first match 31:21, the Romanian champions will probably need to do a lot of things wrong in order not to book their ticket for Berlin.

Montpellier Agglomeration HB also have the upper hand against fellow French outfit HBC Nantes, although Montpellier´s advantage is not nearly as big as Constanta´s. Still, the 26:25 win in Nantes on Easter Monday puts Patrice Canayer´s men in a fine position ahead of the home game.

A two-goal lead is not much for Sporting CP to bring with them to Hungary, but a 29:27 win at home will have to suffice for the Portuguese team and at least they have something to defend  away against Pick Szeged.

Lugi HF (SWE) vs HCM Constanta (ROU)
Saturday 26. April 18.30 local time - First leg 21:31

“It´s a great win, but we have not qualified yet, we still have 60 minutes to play before going to Berlin,” Constanta coach Zvonko Sundovski said after the first match against Lugi.

He is right, of course, that there are still 60 minutes left of the tie between Constanta and Lugi, but being ten goals up before the trip to southern Sweden, Constanta appears very close to securing their place in Berlin.

Although Lugi have done extremely well so far in the EHF Cup and won their group, the quarter-final seem to be the end of the road for coach Tomas Axnér´s men. Catching up with this ten-goal deficit seems to be a bridge too far and Axnér realises that Berlin is far away at the moment.

“Ten goals is a lot, especially as we know that Constanta are good away from home. We will have to try to win the match, and then we will have to hope to get some momentum and some opportunities,” said the Lugi coach.

Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA) vs HBC Nantes (FRA)
Sunday 27. April 19.00 local time - First leg 26:25

Montpellier obviously have the upper hand ahead of the second meeting between these two French teams. Not only due to the fact that Montpellier carry a one-goal lead with them from the match in Nantes on Easer Monday, but also based on the statistics between the two teams. 

In 13 matches, Nantes have yet to defeat Montpellier to date and obviously the EHF Cup finalists from last season will have to change that if they want another ticket for the event this year.

As the result of the first match expresses, it was a close affair, and Nantes coach Thierry Anti expects a similar game in the Palais des Sports René Bougnol of Montpellier on Sunday evening.

“The first game was a struggle and the second leg will be the same. We can play in a better way. We will need saves from our goalkeepers and we will also need to have Entrerrios and Maqueda in their best shape.

“The pressure will be on Montpellier and we will gallantly take our chance. We will fight with all our energy to reach Berlin,” Thierry Anti assured eurohandball.com. 

Montpellier´s Argentinian centre back Diego Simonet finds that his team´s one goal lead from the first match mainly has significance on a psychological level.

“This one goal advantage is much more of a psychological thing, because Nantes has yet to beat Montpellier, and this win was just another defeat adding up for them, but to us players, one goal is nothing,” Simonet said.

Pick Szeged (HUN) vs Sporting CP (POR)
Sunday 27. April 19.15 local time - First leg 27:29

It came as a surprise to many people all around Europe that Sporting were able to win 29:27 at home against Pick Szeged on Easter Sunday, although it should probably be clear to just about everyone by now that this Portuguese team produces a danger to practically any opponent.

However, a two-goal lead is not a lot for Sporting to take with them to one of the most difficult away courts in the competition, the Varosi Sportcsarnok in Szeged.

Nevertheless, this is the lead Sporting will have to try and defend in order to clinch their EHF Cup Final berth, and maybe they should even be content with being two goals up at all, as they started the first match going 4:0 down.

Line player Bruno Moreira realised already after the first match that his team will not be able to afford such a start again.

“We will surely have to start much better. Still, we are very proud of our performance and we will take all our courage to Hungary in order to be in the finals,” said Moreira.

Szeged coach Juan Carlos Pastor also finds that his team will need improvement in order to qualify for Berlin.

“Our objective is the finals in Berlin. We know that we will have to play better than we did in Lisbon. We have to lose fewer balls and to cut down on their counter-attacks. We will work hard to reach our objective,” the Spaniard told eurohandball.com. 


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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