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03.12.2014, 21:40
Ruthless Kiel roll on for seventh straight win
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GROUP A MATCH REVIEW: Triple VELUX EHF Champions League winners THW Kiel enjoyed a worthy win at Naturhouse La Rioja after a gritty performance in which Icelandic centre back Aron Palmarsson made a spectacular return from a lengthy injury.
 

Ruthless Kiel roll on for seventh straight win

THW Kiel sent an ominous message to all their rivals that they mean business in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League after a blistering display of speed, steel and skill earned them an impressive win at La Rioja.

Centre back Aron Palmarsson, who scored 12 goals in the reverse fixture in Germany when Kiel edged the Spanish side 34:32, shone again as he made a memorable return from injury which forced him to miss several matches in Europe’s elite club competition.
 
GROUP A
Naturhouse La Rioja (ESP) vs THW Kiel (GER) 30:34 (11:14)

The clash between La Rioja and Kiel showed in no uncertain terms why the most fortunate handball fans flock to Europe’s finest venues to watch the continent’s best teams in action, while others across the globe remain glued to their television sets.

It produced the very best the game can offer, with Kiel celebrating their seventh straight win largely thanks to an inspired performance by Spaniard Joan Canellas, who carried the German champions with an immaculate 11-goal display.

Croatian Domagoj Duvnjak and Icelander Aron Palmarsson, who returned seamlessly after being sidelined with a painful injury for several weeks, scored five each for Kiel as the visitors led from start to finish in front of a vociferous Spanish crowd in Logrono.

Lethal on fast-breaks and ironclad in defence, the visitors stifled out La Rioja’s Brazilian sharpshooter Thiagus Goncalves Dos Santos, who scored the first of his two goals midway through the second half when the home side already had a mountain to climb.

Having led by up to three goals in the first half, Kiel started the second period with a rampant 6:1 run which gave them an eight-goal advantage and effectively sealed the match as a contest.

Roared on by their fans in a jam-packed arena, La Rioja launched a spirited fightback which fell short after Palmarsson unleashed an astonishing thunderbolt from 11 metres and Canellas rifled in a late flurry of goals to become his club’s top scorer in the competition.

Right wing Pedro Rodriguez stood out with six goals for La Rioja, who now face an anxious last two games in their bid to reach the knockout stage of the competition, having suffered their first Champions League defeat on home court this season.

In contrast, already qualified Kiel can look forward to the winter break with a lot of confidence, knowing they will be even stronger when Czech left back Filip Jicha makes a long-awaited return.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / br
 
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