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04.03.2017, 23:00
First defeats for Kolding and Melsungen
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EHF CUP REVIEW: KIF Kolding Kobenhavn and MT Melsungen suffer first defeats, while Porto claim first win of the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase on Saturday.

» »2016-17 Men's EHF Cup
»Group Phase
»
 

First defeats for Kolding and Melsungen

Saturday’s Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase encounters saw a number of firsts as Round 3 continued with surprising results.

•    KIF Kolding Kobenhavn and MT Melsungen suffer their first defeats in the group phase
•    Melsungen become the first German team to lose a match in the group phase
•    Futebol Clube do Porto earn their first victory, by just one goal
•    Defending EHF Cup champions Frisch Auf Göppingen are close to qualifying for the quarter-finals after their third straight win


GROUP B
Futebol Clube do Porto (POR) vs Fraikin BM. Granollers (ESP) 23:22 (9:11)

Two great comebacks made way for Porto’s first win in the group phase this season. In the first half, the home team caught up from a five-goal deficit, and after the break, came back from being four goals down.

Porto had extreme scoring problems at the beginning and managed to tally only two in the first quarter of the game. Granollers also had certain trouble finding the net, but they were effective enough to pull ahead 7:2 after 15 minutes.

The visitors stayed in front at 9:4 before, with five goals in a row, Porto equalised at 9:9 on the 25-minute mark.

Granollers reclaimed the advantage to lead 14:10 early in the second half, but yet again Porto came back – and with just over 15 minutes left, claimed control for the first time at 15:14.

Granollers created some excitement by reducing the distance to one goal as the final whistle drew closer, but Porto did not give away the win.

HC Midtjylland (DEN) vs Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER) 22:25 (14:17)

Defending EHF Cup winners Frisch Auf Göppingen are very close to earning a place in the finals, which they are organising. With six points in their account and the other three teams in the group behind on two, Göppingen have a very good chance to not only proceed from the group, but also to skip the quarter-finals.

Midtjylland were missing defender Kristian Gjessing and playmaker Morten Slundt to injury and illness, but Göppingen coach Magnus Andersson also had his worries, especially in the back court.

These worries became even worse after 19 minutes, as right back Adrian Pfahl had to leave the game with a groin injury.

Still, Göppingen seemed to be in complete control, as they changed a 14:12 deficit late in the first half to a 21:15 lead nine minutes into the second.

However, Midtjylland came back and reduced the distance to just one goal in the low-scoring rest of the match.

At the end however, Göppingen proved to be the more experienced team, as they scored the last two goals.

GROUP C
Maccabi CASTRO Tel Aviv (ISR) vs SC Magdeburg (GER) 22:38 (12:16)

SC Magdeburg remain undefeated, while Maccabi CASTRO Tel Aviv are still searching for their first points in the tournament after the German team’s huge win in the Israeli capital on Saturday afternoon.

Maccabi were missing playmaker Chen Pomeranz due to injury, and his absence left a serious hole in the home team´s attack. His younger brother, left wing Gil Pomeranz, became top scoring player of the match with eight goals.

However, this was far from enough against the Bundesliga team, who were completely superior to the Israeli champions.

Tel Aviv were leading 2:1 and 3:2, but Magdeburg soon turned the tables to claim the advantage and pull ahead to 15:7.

The home side managed to reduce the deficit to four goals at half-time, but only to see their opponents run off again in the second period, throughout which Magdeburg continuously increased their lead.

It only took left wing Yves Grafenhorst 20 minutes to become Magdeburg’s top scorer with seven goals.
 
"It was difficult for us to come here because we played on Wednesday and now here, and it is hard to bring the focus. But I think that we did well and had a big win with a lot of goals, so it is important for us. It is nice that our crowd followed us to Israel," said Magdeburg’s Swedish right wing Daniel Pettersson.

"Magdeburg is coming from a better league, and for us it is a privilege to play against a team like that in Tel Aviv.  It was one more lesson about real handball," said Maccabi captain Omer Davda.

Grundfos Tatabanya KC (HUN) vs KIF Kolding Kobenhavn (DEN) 28:26 (13:12)

A strong back court line and a stellar Marton Szekely in goal were the main factors as Tatabanya took second place in the group from Kolding.

Kolding were missing left wing Magnus Landin due to injury, and as their Spanish playmaker Niko Mendegia Elizaga had to leave the court with a foot injury with 10 minutes left, the visitors were no longer able to resist the physical pressure from the home team.

The match was equal most of the way, but constantly with the upper hand for the home team. Kolding were only leading once in the match, at 5:4 in the first half.

After a close first period, Tatabanya started the last 30 minutes by pulling three goals ahead, but Kolding managed to close the gap. It was not until the last 10 minutes that the home team decided the game, as they created a four-goal advantage with too little time for the visitors to catch up.

Two right backs were the top-scoring players in the match: Demis Grigoras from Tatabanya and Konstantin Igropulo from Kolding tallied eight goals each.

“I’m very happy that we could win in this tough game. We made quite a lot mistakes in our offence, we missed many opportunities, but hopefully next time we can finish our goal situations with a higher rate,” said Tatabanya coach Vladan Matic.

“We are not totally satisfied with the result of course, but today Tatabnya was a little bit better therefore they deserved to win,” was the comment from Kolding goalkeeper Kasper Hvidt.

GROUP D
Cocks (FIN) vs S. L. Benfica (POR) 21:23 (11:11)

S. L. Benfica earned their second win in succession with a strong finish after a close match in Finland. The first 45 minutes were particularly equal, as there were never more than two goals separating the teams.

However, on the quarter of an hour in the second half, Benfica created their first three-goal lead at 20:17, and were in charge from then on.

When Benfica pulled ahead 23:18 with four and a half minutes left the verdict seemed decided, but three fast goals from Cocks brought renewed tension to the game.

The home team were not able to catch up completely however, and the Finnish champions are still without a point in the group while Benfica are on four.

“The first half was very tight, and there was not much between the teams, but in the second we starting fighting and had a very good 10 minute period where we able to make the difference we needed,” said Benfica coach Mariano Ortega.

“In the second [half] we had a sequence where we missed too many shots, mostly because of good defending and goalkeeping by our opponents,” found Cocks coach Gintaras Savukynas.

Helvetia Anaitasuna (ESP) vs MT Melsungen (GER) 23:22 (13:9)

Melsungen suffered their first defeat in the group phase, while Helvetia Anaitasuna doubled their points on Saturday night in Pamplona.

Anaitasuna were dominant in the first half, which they started by taking the lead at 4:1 then 8:3. The hosts managed to stay four or five goals ahead for the rest of the first 30 minutes, but after the break the visitors started to move closer.

With eight minutes left, Melsungen claimed their first lead since they opened scoring in the match, as Momir Rnic made it 22:21 for the Bundesliga team.

However, Anaitasuna not only managed to equalise but also took the advantage again at 22:21 and 23:22. In the last minute of the match neither team were able to score, and the one-goal win for Anaitasuna was secured.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cg
 
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