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26.11.2015, 23:00
Lions tame plucky Kristianstad to go top
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GROUP B REVIEW: Rhein-Neckar Löwen edge closer to the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 after a resounding home win over IFK Kristianstad
 

Lions tame plucky Kristianstad to go top

Rhein-Neckar Löwen edge closer to the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 after a resounding home win over IFK Kristianstad.

The Bundesliga pace-setters surged into the mix for a top-two finish in a fiercely competitive section, courtesy of an emphatic victory against IFK Kristianstad, the VELUX EHF Champions League debutants.

GROUP B:
Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE) 29:20 (15:10)

German giants Rhein-Neckar Löwen powered through to an expected victory against battling IFK Kristianstad to go top of  Group B with 13 points from nine matches, level with holders FC Barcelona Lassa whose game in hand is a visit to KIF Kolding Kobenhavn.

The visitors from Sweden, who have so far entertained fans throughout their campaign with free-flowing handball, made a bright start and edged ahead 4:3 before Mannheim’s lions replied ferociously with a 9:2 run which gave them an ultimately decisive 12:6 lead.

Andy Schmid unleashed a hungry pack with three of his team’s opening six goals, his teammates providing perfect support as five of them joined the scoring party in the opening half.

Mads Mensah Larsen and Rafael Baena Gonzales also had three each while three of their teammates players added two goals apiece, having also worked selflessly in defence as a unit.

Andreas Cederholm stood out for IFK in the opening half with three goals, but the visitors just could not keep up with Rhein-Neckar Löwen squad depth.

IFK, who have produced their best performances against the group’s elite, fought back bravely after the interval and slashed the deficit to 15:12, before the German side restored their five-goal advantage (19:14) and then romped away to 24:16.

Kristianstad still refused to roll over, reducing the arrears to 25:20 with five minutes left, but were ruthlessly forced into submission to the delight of a passionate home crowd.

The irrepressible Schmid turned on the heat in the second half to finish on 11 goals from 13 shots, as Larsen and Baena chipped in with five each for RNL.

The coach of the German side, Nikolaj Jacobsen was in no doubt who his team owed the points to. “I am happy with the victory,” he said after the match. “I used some of my players who did not play much in the past matches, but Mikael Appelgren did a very good job in goal and secured our victory.”

Jerry Tollbring scored five and Cederholm added four for Kristianstad, who now face an uphill battle to reach the knockout stage of Europe’s premier club competition.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / amc
 
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