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28.11.2017, 17:20
The games that caught the eye in Round 9
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TALKING POINTS: There were some thrilling encounters in the ninth round of the VELUX EHF Champions League, and we take a closer look at a few games that stood out.
 

The games that caught the eye

With nine rounds behind us in the VELUX EHF Champions League, we shine a light on four games that stood out in the last round.

Not taking anything away from PSG's one-goal win against PGE Vive Kielce in Group B or Skjern Handbold‘s victory that secured them the play-off spot in Group C, to mention two games that failed to make the cut, but we take an even closer look at the games that especially caught the eye in this round.

The draw between Rhein-Neckar Löwen and Vardar

What a nerve-racking Group A game it was between the Mannheim Lions and the defending champions. Löwen could not have been closer to becoming the first team to beat HC Vardar in this season's VELUX EHF Champions League.

The last-second save by Vardar's goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik which denied Gedeon Guardiola a match-winning goal was incredible, and helped the Macedonian side to a three-point lead at the top of the group.

This was Löwen‘s fourth draw in the group and, although they have only lost one game, the German side are fourth and will have to take their remaining chances if they want to be a serious contenders for the top spot.

Kristianstad's victory against Pick Szeged

The Swedish champions IFK Kristianstad boosted their chances of reaching the knock-out stage by picking up a second victory in Group A, this time against MOL-Pick Szeged 33:32. Even better, it was Kristianstad's historic first win against the Hungarian side.

Pick Szeged won against FC Barcelona Lassa in the last round and if that win was still in their heads, they were quickly brought back down to earth in Sweden. Twelve goals from right back Albin Lagergren went a long way for Kristianstad, and playmaker Gunnar Steinn Jonsson turned out to be the hero with the winning goal at the very end.

Kristianstad now has six points and they sit in the final qualification place for the knock-out stage, but they are far from safe as Wisla Plock and HC Prvo Zagreb have not given up yet. Meanwhile, Pick Szeged lost their chance to join the battle at the top of the group.

Aalborg's victory over Veszprém

Not to take anything from the Danish side, but what has happened to Telekom Veszprém HC? Unbeaten in the first six games, they have now lost three games in a row and their hunt for the top spot in Group B is getting more and more difficult.

A victory for Aalborg, 29:26, represented their first win since round 2, which keeps their hope alive to reach the first knockout round.

Veszprém lost back-to-back games against PSG before the game on Sunday and are now five points behind the French giants with 10 points left to play for.

 

Montpellier's first loss in the competition

After eight straight wins in Group D and 20 games without a defeat in all competitions, Montpellier HB were stopped by Besiktas Mogaz HT.

Montpellier had already secured their spot in the play-offs, but that doesn‘t make Besiktas' 33:28 win any less special.

 


TEXT: Andri Yrkill Valsson / ap
 
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