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23.02.2019, 19:55
Nantes edge Szeged to move into third
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MATCH OF THE WEEK REVIEW: After getting back to winning ways last weekend, Nantes enjoyed a second straight VELUX EHF Champions League success, against MOL-Pick Szeged in the Match of the Week.
 

Nantes edge Szeged, move into third

A strong performance by Arnaud Siffert in the first half gave the hosts a two-goal advantage at the break which they were able to retain all through the second act.

  • With the defeat, Szeged cannot beat PSG to top spot in group
  • Valero Rivera was best scorer with eight goals, while Szeged’s Stefan Sigurmannsson netted six times
  • Nantes’ Nicolas Claire received the Player of the Match award, presented by MCS, partner of VELUX

GROUP A

MOTW: HBC Nantes (FRA) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) 29:26 (13:11)

The visitors made the best start to the game, quickly enjoying a two-goal advantage after five minutes (3:1), but that was the only time Szeged would control the pace in this Match of the Week. Otherwise, they struggled to get past Arnaud Siffert with Nantes’ goalkeeper crucial in his team’s excellent first half. After getting the scores back level, the hosts put the pedal to the metal and went ahead for the first time through David Balaguer in the 20th minute.

It was clearly the right time for the Spaniards, as Valero Rivera and Eduardo Gurbindo helped their team get a three-goal advantage seconds before the break, before Matej Gaber reduced it to two on the buzzer.

Nantes win!!!
The French men get the win 29:26 over the Hungarian @pickhandball & add 2 more points.
What an amazing #MOTW today! Still to come we’re going back to Kristiansand w/ Anja! pic.twitter.com/wnyhP0vTwK

Nantes retained their advantage all through the second half and despite Stefan Sigurmannsson’s excellent performance, scoring six goals, the French side displayed enough collective strength not to be caught. “It’s a great satisfaction to win against such a good team like Szeged,” said Nantes coach Thierry Anti. “It was important for our team’s mind to play better than we did during the first phase, so we used both tactics and some madness to win the game, with really fast actions. The way to the Champions League is still long though.”



Siffert made important saves while Nicolas Tournat gave Szeged’s defence trouble, netting six times and getting a couple of seven-metre throws along the way. And even with Kiril Lazarov having a bad day, only scoring two, “Le H” were never threatened. “Our fans really helped us again,” said Lazarov. “We are very satisfied with this victory over Szeged who are one of the top or six or seven teams to get to get to the FINAL4 this year. We have kept improving since the world championship break and are growing in confidence.”

With this three-goal win, 29:26, Nantes can still end with a third or fourth-place in the group while Szeged are now unable to catch up with Paris and will finish second.

“Nantes deserved the victory,” said Juan Carlos Pastor, the Pick Szeged coach. “The match was close, and we needed more consistency, intensity and tactics, but we are now second in the group, which is good, but we always want to play better every game.”


TEXT: Kevin Domas/amc
 
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