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26.03.2016, 18:50
Second win for Kielce secures quarter-final berth
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LAST 16 REVIEW: Kielce record a second-leg win against Meshkov Brest to qualify for their third VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-final.
 

Second win for Kielce secures quarter-final berth

According to the streak of the past four years, which has seen KS Vive Tauron Kielce alternate between third place and failing to progress past the Last 16 stage, the Polish champions should have been eliminated in their double header against HC Meshkov Brest.

But Kielce proved that you are never a prisoner of your fate when they defeated Meshkov in their second-leg VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 match to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

"The most important thing is that we won both matches and advanced. It’s not easy to play against a team that has nothing to lose. We knew that Meshkov is a very good team and they proved that,” said Kielce line player Mateusz Kus.

Kielce’s opponent will be decided in Sunday’s duel between SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Montpellier HB.

VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16, Second Leg
KS Vive Tauron Kielce (POL) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) 33:30 (14:14)
KS Vive Tauron Kielce win 65:58 on aggregate

After a moment of silence to honour the victims of the Brussels attacks, both sides started as though they had to play for only five minutes rather than an entire game, with dynamic play at both ends of the court through the opening minutes. After a few eye-catching actions the teams slowed down, though fans were treated to several attractive counter attacks and fast breaks.

Kielce_Lijewski_465.jpg

For the first fourteen minutes the duel was equal at 8:8 and no team was able to create an advantage. The first turning point came when Kielce goalkeeper Marin Sego saved a penalty executed by Rastko Stojkovic, then a powerful jump shot off Dainis Kristopans to keep Meshkov out of the goal for a few minutes as his team took the lead.

After three goals in a row Kielce were in front 11:8 and it seemed the hosts were starting to drift away from Brest. But two minutes before half-time the visitors answered with the same three-goal set to finish the half with a level score of 14:14, thereby keeping their hopes of closing the four-goal deficit from their first-leg match alive.

After the break Kielce were quick to deprive their visitors of hope. A series of goals combined with Sego’s strong performance meant Talant Dujeshebaev’s team again created a gap of three at 19:16 less than 10 minutes into the half.

From that point the Belarusian side fell behind as the hosts played with increasing authority. Ten minutes before the last whistle Alexander Tioumentsev prompted another strong period of attack from Brest and his team came close at 24:25 before Kielce pulled in front again.

In the last seconds Manuel Strlek dotted the ‘i’ with an attractive counter attack that secured the win and earned Kielce their third ever quarter-final berth in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

"We showed big quality. We didn’t came here as losers. We wanted to do our best and we were fighting till the end. Kielce are one of the favourites to win the Champions League. We showed what we could," said Meshkov Brest's Stojkovic.

Kielce-Meshkov_465.jpg


TEXT: Magda Pluszewska / cg
 
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