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22.09.2018, 20:50
Defence powers Brest to Match of the Week win
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GROUP A REVIEW: The defending champions Montpellier lose their second match of two so far in the season, as they are defeated in Belarus in the Match of the Week
 

Defence powers Brest to Match of the Week win

For their first appearance in the VELUX EHF Champions League Match of the Week, Meshkov Brest proved just why they had been chosen. Facing the title holders Montpellier, the Belarusian side took the lead in the first half, never to be caught again.

"I think we came more fresh to the game. This was our advantage. Unlike the French league, the Belarusian championship is weaker. This is why our physical conditions were better," said Meshkov coach Manolo Cadenas. "I guess we kept being active all the match long. We tried to display our force, constantly rotating players plus high tempo all the match long. I think this concept was a key to our success. We pay tribute to our goalkeeper Ivan Pesic, who was extraordinary tonight."

Brest are now on top of the Group A table with four points, while Montpellier have zero.

• Meshkov Brest win their second match in a row, after beating Kristianstad in the first round
• Montpellier’s Valentin Porte is the top scorer of the game with six goals, while Brest keeper Ivan Pesic is awarded Player of the Match
• The title holders now have a negative record, with two defeats and no points making Montpellier the first defending champions to start their following campaign with such results


GROUP A
HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs Montpellier HB (FRA) 26:23 (13:10)

The game really started after 12 minutes played – before that, both teams had neutralised each other. But the hosts started pushing forward, with strong defence that gave the visitors a hard time.

While Montpellier were struggling, Sime Ivic was taking things into his own hands. After 18 minutes, his second goal in a row gave Brest the first real advantage (8:5). The Champions League title holders failed to react, as they struggled in offence.

As they faced difficulties finding clear scoring opportunities, Montpellier were continuously stopped by Ivan Pesic. The Croatian goalkeeper was having a great day and, with his help, Brest stayed ahead by three at half-time.

The second part of the game was more of the same, with the French side still having trouble throwing the ball into the net and narrowing the gap. Valentin Porte was the only one achieving something, as the Montpellier right back tallied six goals, finishing as the top scorer for his team. But that wasn’t enough as, with the end in sight, Brest were still ahead by five (24:19).

Did the local side think they had the two points already? After the comfortable advantage, Brest conceded a 0:3 series in the last minutes of the game, forcing coach Manolo Cadenas to take a timeout as the lead was reduced to two. This was enough to wake his team and snatch the win.

"The win of HC Meshkov Brest is well-deserved. We are deeply disappointed about the result," said Montpellier's Vid Kavticnik. "We will put all our efforts into bringing up good physical conditions and performing properly on our level."

The MVP of the match, awarded by VELUX, was Pesic.


TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg
 
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