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12.10.2017, 22:40
Roaring Lions beat battling Zagreb
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GROUP A REVIEW: German champions Rhein-Neckar Löwen turned the tide after a slow start to defeat Croatian title holders HC PPD Zagreb on home court in Mannheim.
 

Roaring Lions beat battling Zagreb

Rhein-Neckar Löwen kept their unbeaten record intact after fighting back from an early deficit to record a sound home win over HC PPD Zagreb.

  • Larsen stands out for Rhein-Neckar Löwen. Markovic shines for Zagreb
  • Both goalkeepers make a string of excellent saves
  • Rhein-Neckar Löwen still undefeated. Zagreb are still winless

GROUP A

Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) 31:24 (15:11)

Rhein-Neckar Löwen cruised to an expectably emphatic home win over HC PPD Zagreb. Danish back Mads Mensah Larsen inspired the German champions to an early comeback, after a lethargic start to the game against their Croatian rivals.

Zagreb romped into a 3:1 lead but the home side quickly regained their composure and never looked back after they carved out an 11:7 lead, with Larsen scoring four goals in the process.

Zarko Markovic was unstoppable at the other end, but Rhein-Neckar Löwen had more firepower up front and took a deserved four-goal lead into the dressing room at halftime.

Larsen, who scored five goals in the opening half, received welcome support from his teammates in the second period, as Henrik Pekeler and Andy Schmid moved up a gear and propelled the home side into a 29:22 lead with five minutes left.

Goalkeeper Andreas Palicka made a string of superb saves at the other end, with Markovic’s prolific finishing drying up in the second half against a rugged Rhein-Neckar Löwen defence.

Zagreb’s goalkeeper Matevz Skok also made a flurry of fine stops but a deeper roster ultimately gave the home side the edge, as they improved their record to eight points from five games, while Zagreb only have two points after their third defeat of the campaign.

Pekeler (8 goals) and Larsen (7) led Rhein-Neckar Löwen, while Schmid added five. Markovic finished on five goals from 10 shots for Zagreb after he endured a quiet second half.

"I am very happy with this result and the two points. Zagreb is not an easy team to play against. Andreas Palicka had a fantastic day and helped us a lot with his saves," said Rhein-Neckar Löwen coach Nikolaj Jacobsen.

"Congratulations to Rhein-Neckar Löwen for their win today. They have an excellent team and were the better team today. We made too many mistakes in the second half," said HC PPD Zagreb coach Kasmin Kamenica.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / ap
 
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