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27.09.2017, 20:30
Dumoulin the hero as Nantes take unlikely point in thriller
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GROUP A REVIEW: French side HBC Nantes held more-fancied Rhein-Neckar Löwen to a share of the spoils, after the German side's top scorer Andy Schmid missed a last-gasp seven-metre penalty.
 

Nantes take unlikely point in thriller

Nantes continued to enjoy life in Europe’s top flight, as they fought back from a four-goal deficit in the second half to earn a point against German champions Rhein-Neckar Löwen in a thrilling encounter.

"The atmosphere was wonderful. We needed a Champions League public to support us and we had it. This kind of match really helps us to grow up and move forward. We have earned the respect from the other teams," said Nante's goalkeeper Arnaud Siffert.

"We led by two to three goals during the first half but Nantes came back in the second half. It was tight. We could have deserved two points but it was difficult in this place, with such atmosphere. At the end, one point is fine," said Nikolaj Jacobsen, coach of Rhein-Neckar Löwen.

  • Nantes play catch-up from start to finish, with a spirited performance to deny Rhein-Neckar Löwen
  • Andy Schmid misses a penalty with 10 seconds left on the clock to spark wild celebrations among home fans

GROUP A
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) 26:26 (15:16)

Fans in Nantes were treated to a spectacular clash, as the home side played above their limits to earn a draw against strong favourites Rhein-Neckar Löwen. The German side will go home feeling they have dropped a point after their top performer Andy Schmid spurned a golden chance to give his team a last-gasp win.

Schmid, who scored a game-high eight goals, spoiled his brilliant individual performance with a feeble seven-metre penalty shot after earning the penalty himself with a dazzling solo run 10 seconds before the end.

Having fallen behind to the game’s opening goal, Rhein-Neckar Löwen scored four without reply to take a 4:1 lead and held the upper hand throughout the first half, although the home side drew level at 13:13, after their Macedonian veteran Kiro Lazarov entered the fray.

Driven by a string of superb saves from goalkeeper Mikael Appelgren, the visitors relied on the prolific Schmid in attack and took a deserved 16:15 lead into the dressing room at half-time.

The second half followed very much the same pattern, as Nantes - roared on by a frenetic home crowd - kept playing catch-up but looked out for the count after falling four goals behind.

Trailing 26:24 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, the home team took a time out and it paid dividends as Lazarov and Nicolas Tournat netted in quick succession to equalise.

It was Rhein-Neckar Löwen's turn to take a time out, and it paid off with a well-crafted move as Schmid drove through the middle and forced a seven-metre penalty shot after he was fouled.

But his tame shot was easily kept out by stand-in goalkeeper Cyril Dumoulin, and Nantes players mobbed each other on the buzzer as the visitors left the court with their heads down.

Lazarov and Romain Lagarde top-scored for the home side, who have three points from as many games, while Rhein-Neckar Löwen have four after their second draw of the campaign.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / ap
 
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