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18.10.2015, 21:28
Noka successful on return to Celje
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GROUP A REVIEW: Paris keep on rolling at Celje, but have to break a strong resistance
 

Noka successful on return to Celje

Paris Saint-Germain are ready for the top clash next weekend against Veszprem. By taking the fortress of Celje, the team of Noka Serdarusic celebrated their fourth straight win and now rank second in VELUX EHF Champions League Group A.

GROUP A:
Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs Paris Saint German Handball (FRA) 30:32 (15:16)

In the first half, he was shouting at his players, but after the final whistle, Noka Serdarusic had a smile on his face. The former Celje coach had a successful return to the fully-packed Zlatorog Arena, with his star-studded PSG team.

As expected, the French champions overcame the hurdle in Celje – but had to break a hard resistance of the young hosts. Thanks to their fourth straight win, PSG are the top hunters of still undefeated number one, MVM Veszprem – hence, the match in Paris next Sunday will be a true clash of titans. On the other hand, fighting bravely, but unlucky in the end, Celje left the arena empty-handed, although they were close to achieving a major sensation for over 50 minutes.

Celje coach Branko Tamse was pleased with his team's performance against the PSG top-stars. “I want to fully congratulate the entire Zlatorog Arena and especially my team for this great fight they demonstrated. But unfortunately, today we were not able to win.”

While PSG could once again count on their outstanding back court line-up with Mikkel Hansen (eight goals), Nikola Karabatic (nine goals) and Daniel Narcisse, Celje profitted from their one-against-one actions, with their extremely fast wings and a strong performance of Sime Ivic, who netted eight times.

The Slovenian record champions caught up from a 2:5 deficit to tie at 6:6 – but they never were in the lead, even though the match was on edge until the final buzzer. At the break, Paris were ahead only by one, mainly thanks to the hammer shots of Mikkel Hansen.

Though the French side forged ahead quickly to 19:16, they could not cast off Celje, as their defence appeared to be full of gaps. As a solution, PSG focused on scoring and current World Handball Player, Nikola Karabatic, became the “master spirit” after the break, unstoppable in attack.

Karabatic was able to break through the opponent's defence, even with the strong-fought battle from Celje. "It was hard a hard game, but coming in, we expected that from Celje. They played really well through whole match and they fought like lions. We needed to work hard to secure two points.”

But nothing was decided until minute 44, when the score was 23:22. Later, a double-strike of Daniel Narcisse and another goal by Igor Vori paved the way to victory for PSG with a score of 30:25. Despite accepting their defeat, Celje continued to show fighting spirit. Finally, and after another Karabatic strike, the game was decided.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / tm
 
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