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30.08.2015, 14:18
Records, stars and surprises in Krakow
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FEATURE: Dujshebajev announces he will extend his stay at the Polish champions prior to the friendly clash with PSG and one of the MEN’S EHF EURO 2016's stadia gets a successful test run
 

Records, stars and surprises in Krakow

It was a fine spectacle! Big handball stars on the court, over 15,000 spectators came to in the most modern sports hall in the country and the great luminaire creating an enormous live flag in the stands – this was how Saturday’s friendly game between KS Vive Tauron Kielce and Paris Saint-Germain Handball looked like. 

Those who were in attendance for the big game in Krakow, could have been mistaken that they were not at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. The fans were watching a tight game featuring such names as Hansen, the Karabatic brothers, Narcisse, Jurecki, Lijewski, Aguinagalde, Cupic and many more. 

An additional treat for the people from Kielce was the surprise announcement by Talant Dujshebajev that he will prolong his contract with the club until 2019.

The only thing that comes to your mind is that it’s a pity that it was only a friendly match!

Weeks of hard work

Organising such events is not an easy task. It took the club several weeks to take care of each detail as it was not only the sport on show but also a business meeting for the most important brands in Poland. Over 1,000 VIPs from 250 companies were in attendance for the game. 

The club also provided transportation for the fans from Kielce with over 7,000 fans travelling from the town of the Polish Champions in 100 coaches and 4 specially arranged trains. 

“The atmosphere was great, like on a school trip,” could be heard among the jaunty laughter of the attendees.

Record numbers

All the tickets were sold a few weeks ahead of the match, which ensured that the old indoor sports record attendance in the country was to be beaten. The previous record was set in November 2014 at a volleyball match, with the attendance amounting to 12,500 spectators (read more here). 

And this is not the only record Krakow has broken recently. On June 20, during the friendly game as Poland went head-to-head with Denmark over 11,000 spectators set a record attendance for a handball match in general (read more here). 

Yesterday’s result means that within only two months the arena beat this record again! And probably this one will remain untouched for much longer time as the organisers had to put additional seating in where possible.

Friendly game? Only on paper!

Even though it was a friendly game, the players were playing like it was an all-important cup match. PSG and Kielce are in different groups (A & B respectively) in the group phase in the VELUX EHF Champions League but this didn't affect the level of intensity in the game which led to various clashes. Piotr Chrapkowski was unlucky and finished the day in a hospital after a cheekbone injury.

“I hope Chrapek will recover very soon as we need him so much,” commented Krzysztof Lijewski. “This was a friendly game only on paper. On the field we felt like we were playing in a (VELUX EHF) Champions League match. The atmosphere in the hall pushed us on - we didn’t want to disappoint the spectators.”

Definitely no team disappointed. For the whole sixty minutes the result was on a knifes edge – the biggest advantage PSG had over Kielce was 25:21 but it didn’t last for a long time. In the last minute of the match the hosts were even in the lead by one goal (32:31), but then about 15 seconds from the whistle, the incredible Mikkel Hansen took a penalty to equal the score. The Dane was definitely the best player of yesterday’s game with 15 goals to his name.

In the end Michal Jurecki had an opportunity to tip the scale in his team’s favour in a direct free throw, but the ball flashed right over the crossbar. And actually, a draw was seen by all to be a fair result. 

“Of course I would like to win but I think that draw is fair,” admitted the coach of PSG, Zvonimir Serdarusic. 

“This was a really tough game, but it’s good, because it prepares us for the season. We will have this kind of game every weekend,” added Luka Karabatic. 

Dujshebajev stays in Kielce

An amazing game was not the only surprise for the fans, the biggest one was given to them by the coach of Vive Tauron Kielce, Talant Dujshebajev. Dujshebajev informed them before the first whistle that he is prolonging his contract until 2019. The yellow crowd was delighted and received the information with huge enthusiasm.

After the game the coach admitted that he is also glad to stay in the town: “I’m very happy about our cooperation so far. We respect each other and that’s why I decided to prolong my contract,” he said.

Indeed, Dujshebajev was in a great mood for the whole event. He was smiling, laughing and joking with the club’s staff members right throughout the proceedings. 

Exam passed for big test in January 

The Tauron Arena in Krakow once again passed the handball-friendly exam, and in less than five months time the arena will be the engulfed with emotions as the host of the MEN’S EHF EURO 2016. In the group phase France, Poland, FYR Macedonia and Serbia will all take to court in this fine arena. 

The younger of Karabatic brothers was enchanted by Saturday’s atmosphere and is looking forward to coming back: 

“I think it’s the first time that I have played a friendly game in front of 15.000 fans,” he laughed. “If only we could play every game in such atmosphere. I hope I that in January there will be a similar one. We will play against Poland then and it will be even more difficult I guess!”

PHOTO: Grzegorz Trzpil


TEXT: Magda Pluszewska / bc
 
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