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17.10.2015, 22:56
Ivic and Stepancic make the difference in Zagreb win
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MATCH REVIEW: Zagreb beat Plock on Saturday night and edge closer to the top of VELUX EHF Champions League Group A
 

Ivic and Stepancic make the difference in Zagreb win

More than 10,000 fans in the Zagreb Arena went crazy in the dying minutes of Saturday's Group A match between home side HC PPD and Orlen Wisla Plock from Poland.

After the match had been even for 55 minutes, eventually the Croatian team stepped into gear to take two important points which see them edging closer to the top of the group.

Group A:

HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb (CRO) vs. Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 29:25 (13:13)

Ahead of the game the question hovered in the air which of the two team's would be able to bounce back better, after both had conceded heavy defeats in Round 4. Zagreb had been demolished 23:34 at Paris, while Plock had gone down 23:37 at home against Kiel.

Zagreb gave the answer on the court where their top scorer Luka Stepancic netted seven times to help his team to victory and to their points 5 and 6 in this VELUX EHF Champions League campaign which now clearly sees them on their way to the Last 16.

Plock remain on three points, and it will be only very little consolation to them that they had the game's overall top scorer, Nemanja Zelenovic who scored eight times, in their ranks.

"It was a real, tough handball match. We did not start the match well, one of reasons was surely the big loss in Paris after which it was not easy to recover," said Stepancic.

"We've made too many mistakes in the first half allowing them to enlarge the gap but in the end we've played like we're lot more experienced than them. This is not the situation really and that's what can make us happy, this finish which has in the end decided the match."

The first half was an equal affair in its starting minutes, but Plock soon started to exploit the mistakes Zagreb committed in attack – and there were several of them.

At 7:10, Zagreb coach Veselin Vujovic literally smashed the green card on the official’s table - and his players understood him well. They fought themselves back in the game, levelled it at 12:12 and went into the dressing rooms with the score at 13:13.

When both teams returned, the match continued with goals being scored on either side of the court. Zagreb seemed to gain the upper hand at times, but Plock kept scoring as well and the game open.

Eventually the saves of Zagreb goalkeeper Filip Ivic and the crucial goals of Stepancic made all the difference, as the hosts forged ahead to their first three-goal advantage at 26:23 which finally broke Plock's resistance.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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