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21.11.2015, 18:20
Last 16 spots seem out of reach for Celje and Besiktas
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GROUP A REVIEW, PART 1: Veszprem and Plock win their second duels to continue on their path to the knock-out stages

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

Last 16 spots seem out of reach for Celje and Besiktas

RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko and Besiktas Jimnastik Kulubu have their backs to the wall in the group phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

After losing their Round 8 matches they not only stay on two points each, but are already five points behind Orlen Wisla Plock.

The Poles are clearly on course for the Last 16 after winning in Istanbul, while Veszprém struggled hard against Celje to take their sixth win and to stay one point behind PSG in Group A.

MVM Veszprém (HUN) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) 34:28 (17:15)

In contrast to their disastrous start on home court last weekend, losing 27:30, Celje were fully focussed and concentrated from the throw-off in Veszprém.

The Slovenian side managed to stop the hosts’ attack efficiently and could count on a strong performance from their goalkeeper Urban Lesjak in the first 20 minutes.

Thanks to inspiring performances from their youngsters Blaz Janc and Miha Zarabec, Celje surprised their opponents in attack too.

The result was an unexpected 13:10 lead after 20 minutes, but from that moment onwards Veszprém turned the game around with a 7:2 run up until the break.

Their defence and goalkeeper Mirko Alilovic improved, and Celje started to lack the ideas in attack, which had made them so strong before.

Veszprém put more pressure on Celje and profited from several turnovers.

The winners were the fans in the sold-out arena - witnessing 32 goals in 30 minutes.

But they also saw Celje arrive back on court with a huge fighting spirit.

Like in the very first few minutes, the Slovenian record champions took control by strengthening their defence.

But always when they had the chance to level the result, they came up short in attack.

Veszprém were lucky to stand strong for this crucial period.

Going ahead 23:20 they forced Celje’s coach Branko Tamse to take his time-out.

But nothing changed, in contrast, it became worse for Celje: boosted by their fans, Veszprém sealed the deal, hitting the net to make it 30:24, and with only eight minutes left on the clock.

The two-time VELUX EHF Champions League top scorer Momir Ilic (7 goals in total) took the responsibility in the final stages, but was only second top Veszprém scorer, as line player Renato Sulic netted eight times.

Both coaches commented on the match in the post-match press conference:

Xavi Sabate (Veszprém): "It is always very difficult to play against them. We expected this kind of match; they played fast and a lot with their wing players, who ran and ran.

"As the game went on we improved, and in the second half we were able to increase the gap."

Branko Tamse (Celje): "We played well at the beginning. But during the second half we had several problems, and we made several mistakes - this all led to Veszprém taking control of the game."

Besiktas Jimnastik Kulubu (TUR) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 29:38 (15:19)

Despite nine goals from their top scorer Ramazan Döne, Besiktas left the court empty-handed.

The Turkish international had something like a private duel with Plock’s Russian striker Dmitry Zhitnikov, who netted seven times.

Despite losing their Serbian right back Nemanja Zelenovic, who transferred to German EHF Cup participant SC Magdeburg this week, Plock controlled the match like they did last weekend, when they won 32:26 on home court.

Thanks to an unstoppable Döne, Besiktas were on equal terms until the score read 9:11 in the 20th minute, but then Plock broke the hosts’ resistance going up by four goals.

In contrast to the first leg of this encounter, the Polish runners-up managed to contain Istanbul’s back court strikers Dragan Djukic and Nemanja Pribak for most of the tie.

And in the middle of the second half, it was all said and done, when Plock forged ahead to their first double-figured lead at 28:18, and from here on out it was more of a formality as the Polish outfit saw out the rest of the half (ending 38:29).


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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