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06.10.2018, 20:20
Paris and Szeged maintain 100% records after hard-fought victories
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GROUP B REVIEW: Nantes pushed undefeated Paris close before losing narrowly, while MOL-Pick Szeged claimed their fourth straight victory against Celje
 

Paris and Szeged maintain 100% records after hard-fought victories

During the week Nantes teased the media that Paris wasn’t their most important game of the season, but threatened their 100% record anyway. MOL-Pick Szeged also remained undefeated after a comfortable victory over RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko.

  • Nédim Rémili was PSG’s best scorer with eight, while for Nantes Kiril Lazarov, Nicolas Claire and Valero Rivera scored six
  • Paris are on a run 31 games undefeated at home in the Champions League
  • Paris top Group B with eight points while Nantes remain on two points
  • Szeged claimed fourth straight victory
  • Celje suffered their first defeat after Tomaz Ocvirk took over as head coach

Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 35:34 (19:16)

After losing to their opponent in the semi-final of last season’s Champions League, revenge was on the mind of Paris who started with a lot of intensity.

They quickly took advantage, finding Luka Karabatic in the lineplayer position with ease as he scored four goals on the way to an 11-7 lead after 15 minutes.

His older brother, Nikola Karabatic, helped Paris continue their momentum by opening up a six point lead shortly after. 

Thierry Anti, Nantes’ head coach, reacted with a timeout and throwing Kiril Lazarov into the action. The experienced Macedonian netted three times in seven minutes, helping his team cut the deficit to two.

However, Nikola Karabatic scored his fifth goal to give Paris a clear advantage at the break, 19-16.

The second half was a physical. Even though Paris never lost their advantage, they remained under threat right until the end. Nantes came back within one at the 40th, only to concede three before coming back again. 

Luka Karabatic was Paris’ most powerful offensive weapon, while for Nantes Romain Lagarde did some good work on the backcourt to help Lazarov. Despite Nantes pushing, Paris remained calm until the last minute, when Mikkel Hansen scored to secure their the victory and their fourth win in the Champions League this season (35-34).

MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) 33:24 (18:8)

After beating Flensburg in the previous round, Celje harboured hopes of upsetting one of the group leaders. However, a good attacking game and excellent goalkeeping in the first half helped Szeged lay the foundation for victory. 

It was a good day for the goalkeepers of Hungarian teams. While Roland Mikler’s late save secured Veszprem a win in Brest, Marin Sego did his job well for Szeged.

Before the break, he saved 56% of Celje’s shots – and after one of those spectacular saves he went close to scoring himself, but his shot on an empty goal from his own half went slightly wide.

Szeged boasted a 72% attack efficiency, helping them extend their lead minute after minute, making it 18-8 at half-time.

Szeged may have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas after racking up such a big lead, but Celje improved after the break and quickly reduce the gap.

Midway through the second half, Szeged’s victory began to look shaky as the deficit was cut to four, 22-18. Yet the home side did not let the victory slip from their hands. The Hungarian champions did not panic and stabilized the game. And when the score was 30-24 in the 57th minute, Szeged’s win was not in danger any longer. 


TEXT: Kevin Domas and Sergey Nikolaev/mc
 
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