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03.10.2015, 23:30
Veszprem snatch nailbiting victory and PSG prevail
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GROUP A MATCH REVIEW: Veszprem grabbed a late 20:19 victory over Zagreb to remain unbeaten and top Group A whilst PSG scored freely in a 40:30 victory over Besiktas.

»EHF CL Channel »2015-16 Men's CL
»Group Phase
»
 

VESZPREM SNATCH NAILBITING VICTORY AND PSG PREVAIL

After defeating Besiktas, PSG find themselves in second place in Group A of the VELUX EHF Champions League, one point behind unbeaten early leaders Veszprem.

Elsewhere in the group, Kiel defeated Flensburg 27:23 and Wisla Plock beat Celje 28:25 meaning that Kiel were the only side in Group A on Saturday to win at home.

HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs MVM Veszprem (HUN) 20:21 (10:9)

Veszprem came out on top in this bruising encounter to go top of Group A with five points from three games.

The Hungarian side are now the only unbeaten team in the group after inflicting the first Champions League defeat of the season on Zagreb.

And it was a painful one too for the Croatian champions, who threw away a two-goal lead in the last few minutes when victory seemed to be in their grasp.

After his side's victory, the Veszprem coach, Xavi Sabate, said, "Zagreb have really developed big-time since coach Veselin Vujović arrived and in such an atmosphere I don't think they'll lose another home match this season.

"We've had severe problems with our backs, missed some of our most important players and maybe that's what makes this victory even bigger and better."

The match got off to a ferocious start, with Zagreb overturning an early 2:1 deficit with a 3:0 run which put them in the driving seat.

With backs Sandro Obranovic and Domagoj Pavlovic firing on all cylinders, the home side extended their advantage to 7:4 when a seemingly pivotal moment in the match happened.

Veszprem’s top scorer Momir Ilic was shown a straight red card for a clumsy challenge on the airborne Obranovic, who landed awkwardly on his back as he unleashed yet another scorcher past his compatriot Mirko Alilovic in the away side’s goal.

Ilic had to be escorted off the court while Alilovic, outshone by his Croatian national team understudy Filip Ivic at the other end, made way for Roland Mikler.

Alilovic said, "We've played without some of our most important players and it was visible. Zagreb were really close but in the end we've amazingly managed to take control of the match in the last two minutes if I can say so and win this. Very important victory.

A physical battle littered with suspension ensued as Veszprem clawed their way back into the match thanks to their outstanding Slovenian star Gasper Marguc, who kept the Hungarian title holders afloat throughout the second half.

Driven by a string of fantastic saves by Ivic, who kept galvanising the jam-packed Zagreb Arena, the home side consistently nosed ahead and appeared to be home and dry after Pavlovic scored his sixth goal to give them a 19:17 lead with only a few minutes left.

But out of nowhere Zagreb ran out of steam as they conceded two in a row, Luka Sebetic did give them a slender 20:19 advantage heading into the final minute but Ivan Sliskovic drew level only a few seconds later.

After Mikler pulled off a magnificent reflex save, Marguc unleashed a scorcher to score the game’s final and decisive goal.

Zagreb threw away their last possession in the final 40 seconds and Veszprem’s players danced jubilantly in the centre of the court after snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Marguc led Veszprem with a game-high eight goals whilst Pavlovic netted six for Zagreb.

Besiktas JK (TUR) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) 30:40 (17:21)

The match between Besiktas, playing in only their second season in the VELUX EHF Champions League, and PSG, the continent’s most expensively assembled team, was a vastly entertaining contest from beginning to end.

Besiktas gave almost as good as they got in a rip-roaring first half and contained the French giants to a four-goal lead as the Turkish side’s top scorer Ramazan Done fired on all cylinders.

But PSG, who were blown away by Flensburg 39:32 in the opening round before beating Orlen Wisla Plock 29:24 at home, were not about to suffer another embarrassing defeat and duly moved up a gear in the second half.

Led by the unstoppable Mikkel Hansen, the visitors soon carved out a 28:20 advantage and stayed firmly in the driving seat until the final whistle.

The goals poured in from left, right and centre for the French outfit while Done was stifled at the other end, meaning that Besiktas had to revert to other sources in an effort to stay in touch.

Beaten but not trampled by the more illustrious visitors, the Turkish side were able to bow out of the clash with their heads high and their pride intact after playing their hearts out in front of an appreciative home crowd.

Notably, it was an experience of a lifetime for their legendary 40-year old goalkeeper Ibrahim Demir, who shared the court with his younger PSG counterpart, Thierry Omeyer.

The mercurial Hansen led Paris Saint-Germain with 10 goals from 11 shots, while playmaker Nikola Karabatic and his younger brother Luka each netted six goals from as many shots.

Samuel Honrubia added five to underline a fast-flowing team performance by PSG, while Done led Besiktas with seven goals at the other end. Darko Djukic and Tolga Ozbahar also rifled in five each for the battling home side.

THW Kiel (GER) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 27:23 (14:13)

THW Kiel secured a prestigious victory that saw great goalkeeping on both sides but no birthday present for Flensburg coach Ljubomir Vranjes – the All-German duel was a “real classic”, as Kiel’s coach Alfred Gislason put it.

“This match was a true promotion for handball”, Gislason added after a hard-earned win in a tough, close and extraordinary encounter.

The only bad news for Kiel and Gislaon was the severe knee injury Patrick Wiencek suffered after just 15 minutes.

The two goalkeepers each made their mark in separate halves. First it was Flensburg’s Kevin Möller, who was almost unbeatable in the opening period saving 12 shots.

In the second Kiel’s keeper, Nikolas Katsigiannis, who replaced Niklas Landin after 25 minutes, stole the show. Katsigiannis made 14 saves in 35 minutes.



Flensburg despite being the better side in the first half could not cast off Kiel. Backed by a brilliant defence and goalkeeping, SG were ahead by 12:10 four minutes before the break – but Kiel turned the match around in the final moments thanks to Domagoj Duvnjak’s hammer goals and excellent goalkeeping from Katsigiannis.

After the break Kiel led for the rest of the game – but Flensburg still were a tough nut to crack. With 11 minutes to go, the score was level at 21:21.

Kiel then struck with a four consecutive goals – sending the 10,000 fans into raptures – and all but finalising the result at 25:21.

Kiel have four points after in Group A of the VELUX EHF Champions League, whilst Flensburg remain on two points after beating PSG in their opener after two away defeats in a row.

“I am proud of my team, we fought well, our defence stood strong,” Vranjes said after the defeat.

“We have lost at Veszprem and Kiel – places, where not many or maybe not a single team of this group will win. So we have to focus on our home matches to gain the points we need to proceed.”

The top scorers were Kiel's Joan Canellas with seve and Flensburg's Holger Glandorf with five.

RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 25:28 (10:17)

An excellent first half performance gave Orlen Wisla Plock their first win in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League, whilst it also denied Celje their 100th victory in Europe’s premier club competition.

Wisla pierced through Celje's defence at will in the opening 30 minutes and carved out a huge seven-goal lead with 100 percent shooting efficiency.

Celje’s goalkeepers failed to stop a single shot in the first half as Wisla poured in the goals from all angles, most of all from fast breaks.

Dmitry Zhitnikov was simply unstoppable for the visitors while Slovenian title holders Celje, clearly rattled by last week’s 21:20 home defeat by regional rivals HC PPD Zagreb from Croatia, struggled at both ends.

The home side launched a spirited fightback in the second half, slashing the deficit to two goals several times before they eventually ran out of steam in the last five minutes.

The Wisla goalkeeper, Rodrigo Corrales, who pulled off a string of superb saves in the first half, suddenly started to look vulnerable and made way for Marcin Wichary, who produced a flurry of key stops in the closing stages.

Celje’s last chance to salvage something from this thrilling contest came when they reduced the gap to 22:24, but the ice-cool visitors kept their composure and netted two unanswered goals to seal the tie as a contest with less than two minutes left on the clock.

The Wisla Plock right back, Nemanja Zelenovic, said, “For me it was a very hard match, since I’ve played here for three years.

"Celje came back in great way in second half and we had to make our best to save the seven goals difference. At the end we are very satisfied with the victory and important two points which are hard to get here.”

Zhitnikov led Wisla with six goals while Ivan Nikcevic, his Serb compatriot Nemanja Zelenovic and Romanian Dan Racotea chipped in with four each.

Ziga Mlakar was Celje’s top scorer with six goals, with Blaz Blagotinsek and Luka Zvizej adding four apiece.
 


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic, Bjorn Pazen / gs
 
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