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13.02.2016, 19:30
Celje on fire; goals galore in Istanbul
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GROUP A REVIEW: The Slovenian side are back in the race for the Last 16, while Veszprém are back in second

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

Celje on fire; goals galore in Istanbul

On Saturday afternoon, RK Celje clutched at their last straw in hope of making it to the Last 16 against Plock, while MVM Veszprém took and easy and expected win in Istanbul to bring themselves back into second position of Group A in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

This 38:34 win was the highest scoring match of this season so far, together with the Group D encounter Skjern vs Zaporozhye (36:36).

By winning their second away match of this season, Celje shocked Plock and reduced the gap to the Polish side - still on the sixth position - to only three points. Janc and Mlakar were the match winners for the Slovenians, who seem to have the easier programme ahead of them in the group phase.

GROUP A:

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs. RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) 26:31 (12:17)

In previous years, the Orlen Arena in Plock was a fortress, this season the Polish side are still on only one win after their sixth home match. Without being in the lead against Celje for any second of the match, Plock now need to struggle for their spot in the Last 16, while the Slovenians rose like Phoenix in an unexpected one-sided match.

With Blaz Janc (eight goals), Ziga Mlakar (seven goals likewise Miha Zarabec) and goalkeeper Ivan Gajic in brilliant form, the Slovenian side grabbed their last chance for the knock-out stage in style.

Celje were ahead by five already at the break. Plock were weak in attack, much weaker in terms of goalkeeping and could not find their rhythm for the whole duration of the game.

Up until the score read 4:4 in minute 12, the match was equal, then goalkeeper Gajic started to come up with the goods for Celje and he was one reason why their defence improved so much.

His side forged ahead to 8:5 thanks to the throws of Janc and Mlakar, who already scored nine of 17 Celje goals before the break, and were seemingly not shocked by the early red card for Luka Dobelsek. After only 21 minutes, the defence specialist received his third two-minute suspension and was sent to the stands.

Plock benefitted for only two minutes, and equalised making it 8:8, but then again lacked precision and ideas in attack.

Five minutes before the half-time buzzer the gap was four goals for the first time at 14:10. At the break, Plock were down by 12:17, and even were lucky that Marco Oneto did not receive a red card after he hit Vid Poteko in the face shortly before the break.

Not even the yellow-dressed “Floriani”, Celje’s most loyal fans, sitting under the roof of the Orlen Arena, couldn’t have imagined, what happen in the first minutes of the second half.

Their side was on fire, while Plock were completely down and out, the shorthanded Celje netted again and again.

When Mlakar scored and the away team sensationally were ahead by double figures with 24:14 in the 39th minute after an incredible 7:2 run.

Celje kept this gap up until the scoreboard read 28:18, before Plock started their late catch-up, netting five in a row.

Led by Tiago Rocha and Valentin Ghionea, the hosts clearly increased their scoring percentage. And Plock might even had had a chance to turn the match around, if Gajic in crunch time would not have saved some crucial shots to secure their second away win of his team.

Celje even won this encounter after the 28:25 defeat in the first leg at home, which might be decisive if both sides are equal at the end of the group phase.

Branko Tamse, head coach of Celje commented after the match: "I am very proud of my team. We knew that the ORLEN Arena is a very hard place to play. But we had very good game today. I would also like to thank to our supporters, who traveled 15 hours to get here and support us."

Manolo Cadenas, head coach of Wisla Plock: "It was a very bad game for us today, hard to explain. We had a lot of expectations coming into it. A Celje victory was clear, they played much better than us.

"Only in the last few minutes did we managed to decrease the gap between both teams. All I can do is to say sorry to our fans, who supported us during the whole game."

Besiktas Jimnastik Kulubu (TUR) vs. MVM Veszprém (HUN) 34:38 (15:21)

Without having any problems, Veszprém took their eighth victory and returned - for at least 24 hours - to the second spot in this group. On the other hand, Besiktas even mathematically cannot make it to the Last 16 anymore with still only two points on their account.

The few spectators in Istanbul saw two offence-orientated sides with the clear will to score as many goals as possible. After only 15 minutes, both teams had already netted 19 times, with Veszprém going ahead 11:8.

Besiktas tried hard to keep the distance close, but thanks to their individual class, the Hungarian side had the clear advantage, leading by a six goals at the break, with the ball touching both nets 36 times in that half.

With all formerly injured players like Momir Ilic back on the court, Veszprém were in full control, though Besiktas had the overall better shooters in Darko Djukic (8 in total) and Nemanja Pribak (6).

The Turkish champions fought brave, but like in the 33:25 loss in the first leg, they could not really endanger Veszprém at any time.

Thanks to the saves from their new Russian arrival Nikolay Sorokin, Besiktas managed to reduce the gap intermediately to 23:26 by the 41st minute, but then Veszprém started to take the match more seriously again.

From that moment on, the gap remained between five or six goals.

Besiktas’ Turkish international Ramazan Döne gave a great performance after the break, netting six of his, in total, seven goals after the break.
Sliskovic, Nilsson and Ilic (all on six goals) were the top Veszprém scorers on the night.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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