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05.10.2017, 08:00
The year 2000 makes it onto the scoresheet
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FEATURE: Domen Makuc became the first player born in the year 2000 in the VELUX EHF Champions League history to score a goal
 

The year 2000 makes it onto the scoresheet

When Slawomir Szmal was already a member of the senior Poland national team for two years, Domen Makuc had been born. Fast forward 17 years and these two players faced each other on 30 September 2017 when history was made in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Celje’s head coach Branko Tamse sent Makuc to the court with less than two minutes left only to see his teenage centre back to score his premiere goal in the European top flight and seal a stunning 31:27 win over the 2016 trophy holders from Kielce. Makuc wasted no time to find a gap in the outstretched guest team’s defence, which was already gambling desperately trying to avoid the second defeat this season.

The youngster first sneaked through a gap between Michal Jurecki and his childhood idol Uros Zorman and then paid no respect to the almost 22-year-older goalkeeping legend and the 2009 World Player of the Year to become the first Champions League scorer born in the year 2000.

Makuc spoke to ehfCL.com about the goal and what it means to him: "Well I didn't know that I am the youngest player this season to score a goal and the first millennial that achieved this (laughs).

"But of course I am happy, like I am happy and proud that I am part of this great team. It's easier when you have such support from your teammates and coach, and that you get the opportunity at my age to play at this top level of handball.

"Thanks to them I can learn and perform at the same time and this is something that players at my age in other clubs cannot do. Of course, I hope that this will not be the only goal I scored this season and that there will be more opportunities in the next matches."

Head coach of Celje, Branko Tamse, spoke of the young talent: "Domen Makuc is a player that has great talent and knowledge for his age.

"He is like a sponge, who absorbs everything he sees, what we tell him and what his teammates do. I am very happy that he is part of our club; he is rapidly gaining the knowledge he needs to have great career.

"On the other hand, we know that this is only the beginning of his career, that we have to go step by step; we have to monitor his development, since injuries and other complications can happen very fast with the players this age.

"Three years ago we established contact with his parents and very quickly realised that he became too good for the surroundings where he played.

"That's why we brought him to Celje."

It comes as no surprise that Celje can boast this feat as the perennial Slovenian champions have built a reputation of a talent hatchery in the last decade. They were also the first team to register a player born in the third millenium two years ago when they placed Luka Savanovic (2001) on the list for the 2015/16 season.

And this season the also have the youngest registered player in the CL, Nik Cirovic, who is only 15 years old.


TEXT: EHF / br
 
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