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15.11.2015, 19:29
Lions win emotional duel against Montpellier
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GROUP B REVIEW: Rhein-Neckar Lowen come out on top in a thrilling clash against Montpellier to stay in contention for automatic berth in the VELUX EHF Champions League quarter-finals.
 

Lions win emotional duel against Montpellier

Played against the backdrop of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, the match between the French side Montpellier and Germany’s Rhein-Neckar Löwen produced a spectacular contest, in which the visitors claimed a well-deserved win.

GROUP B
Montpellier HB (FRA) vs Rhein-Neckar Lowen (GER) 28:30 (15:16)

With French flags at half-mast and the fans observing a minute’s silence before the throw-off, Montpellier and RNL came up with a breathtaking contest played in an emotional atmosphere after Friday’s events in the French capital.

At one point, Montpellier considered postponing the game but defiantly decided to go ahead with it. “Postponing the VELUX EHF Champions League match against our friends at Rhein-Neckar Löwen was considered at first, given the magnitude of the drama and the wave of feelings it has provoked, but it would also have been a victory for the authors of these indescribable acts, creating the very climate of fear and anxiety they were seeking,” Montpellier said in a statement released to the media before the game.

“The decision was taken, in agreement with local and national government authorities, to play the match and to take the opportunity to pay an appropriate homage to the victims.”

Once the match got underway, it produced a fascinating battle with neither team able to pull away at any point in time.

RNL pulled ahead by the odd goal or two but Montpellier, cheered on by their home crowd, stayed afloat and held their own all the way.

As the game headed into the home straight, the visitors carved out a 28:25 lead in the closing stages but Montpellier rallied once again and RNL were only 29:28 ahead in the final minute.

Andy Schmid then sealed the contest with the final goal of the game, keeping Löwen just two points behind group leaders, FC Barcelona, and one point behind second-place, HC Vardar, in the battle for a top-two finish.

Swedish back Kim Ekdahl du Rietz scored seven goals with seven shots for RNL, followed by Schmid and Uwe Gensheimer who netted five each.

Montpellier’s Slovenian trio Jure Dolenec, Borut Mackovsek and Vid Kavticnik scored four goals apiece for the home side, as did Diego Simonet and local boy, Michael Gigou.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / tm
 
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