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22.10.2015, 21:40
IFK Kristianstad tame toothless Rhein-Neckar Löwen
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GROUP B REVIEW: The valiant Vikings stunned German giants, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, with an inspired performance in front of a sellout home crowd.
 

IFK Kristianstad tame toothless Rhein-Neckar Löwen

If there was any doubt the biggest stage brings the best out of IFK Kristianstad, it was quickly dispelled by the Swedish champions emphatically with a memorable win over Rhein-Neckar Löwen on Thursday in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

This David and Goliath clash produced all the thrills and spills handball fans around Europe crave in the continent’s premier club competition.

IFK Kristianstad (SWE) vs Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) 32:29 (20:12)

IFK Kristianstad, in their first campaign, treated their passionate supporters to one of those evenings which will long be remembered by all fans who attended.

Roared on by the fervent home crowd, dressed in orange, the Swedish champions pulled off a stunning upset by beating the German league leaders and one of the favourites to win this season’s premier club competition.

After suffering four successive defeats, Kristianstad headed into the clash with only a forlorn hope of defying the odds.
However, it was clear from the start that something extraordinary was on the cards, as the rampant home side raced into a 10:3 lead and never looked back.

Driven on by Iranian sharpshooter, Iman Jamali, and Montenegrin goalkeeper, Nebojsa Simic, who galvanised the home fans after every superb save, Kristianstad pressed on relentlessly as the goals poured in from all angles.

Helped by Andreas Cederholm and Jerry Tollbring, the Swedes found gaps in Rhein-Neckar Löwen’s defence at will and carved out a deserved eight-goal advantage at halftime.

One might have expected the Lions from Mannheim to come out roaring in the second half but they were tamed by another fierce Kristianstad onslaught, who held on to their advantage with aplomb until the final 10 minutes.

Leading 27:18 heading into the home straight, the hosts started to run out of steam and only then did the visitors show some of their true credentials.

However, it was too little too late from the German side, although they can take credit for a spirited fightback in the closing stages, when the tireless Andre Schmid and Kim Ekhdal Du Rietz slashed the deficit to 31:29 heading into the final minute.

The unstoppable Jamali, who finished with eight goals from nine shots, then put the icing on the cake for Kristianstad with a thunderbolt from 10 metres on the buzzer, sending the home fans wild.

Cederholm and Tollbring added six each for the home side, while Kristian Björnsen and Christian O’Sullivan chipped in with four each.
Schmid scored eight for Rhein-Neckar Löwen and Du Rietz added six.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / gs
 
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