Medvedi, Barcelona and Sävehof first winners of the 2012/13 VELUX EHF Champions League season.
One thrilling draw, three clear victories
While Flensburg tied with Montpellier in the Thursday top match of round 1 of the VELUX EHF Champions League, Medvedi, Sävehof and Barcelona more or less did not have problems to take their opening victories.
Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs. RK Partizan (SRB) 38:31 (21:16)
Eight goals of Kovalev and Chipurin each and seven strikes of Gorbok paved the way to the easy going looking, but hard-earned opening victory for the favoured Russian champions. Partizan - expectedly – conceded a defeat despite eleven goals of Nenad Maksić.
Belgrade was on track until the score of 11:10, before the host forged ahead to the halftime result of 21:16. One thought the resistance of the Serbian champions was broken, was wrong, as Partizan reduced the gap again to only one goal by 24:23 and kept this distance until 13 minutes before the end, when the match was still open at 28:27. Medvedi decided the game with a brilliant five minutes, scoring a 5-1 series to 33:28 and becoming the first table-topper of this group.
SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) – vs. Montpellier Agglomération HB (FRA) 37:37 (19:18)
A thrilling endgame and a deserved draw for two VELUX EHF FINAL4 contenders: The match was imprinted by brilliant wing players on both side – Grebille and Gajic for Montpellier and Eggert and Svan Hansen for Flensburg.
The host started highly efficient, outdistanced the French champion by 8:3 in the early stage thanks to four goals of Holger Glandorf. But by strengthening the defence and reducing their nervous mistakes in attack, Montpellier caught-up, reduced the margin minute by minute and equalised right before the break at 18:18.
From the 25:24 on the French champions – led by Nikola Karabatić and Tej and backed by the saves of goalkeeper Robin – kept in lead and even were away by intermediate three goals, as then Flensburg had enormous problems in attack. But their fighting spirit never died. In the dying minute the Germans equalised twice and even had the chances to win, but their final attack was blocked by the Montpellier defence.
“We gave a victory from our hands, as we were not able to keep the distance after our brilliant start. In the end we had to be lucky with the draw,” Flensburg top scorer Anders Eggert said.
IK Sävehof (SWE) vs HCM Constanta (ROU) 35:31 (19:17)
The internationally reinforced team from Romania failed in their opener, as the Swedes celebrate a young Norwegian: “Kent Robin Tønnesen was the key to our success”, Sävehof coach Magnius Johansson said in Swedish TV after winning the highly important opener of two teams fighting for a Last 16 spot.
Tönnesen scored eight times from eight attempts and became second best scorer of his team below Fredrik Larsson (9 goals). Top scorer for Constanta was Serbian newcomer Dalibor Čutura with six goals.
The match was on equal level for a long time though Sövehof was in lead constantly after the 5:6. 16 minutes before the end, the final result was still absolutely open at the score of 26:24, before the Swedish champions opened the throttle and decided the duel at 30:25 ten minutes before the end.
Kadetten Schaffhausen (SIU) vs FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) 23:33 (12:17)
The Catalans easily took both points like they did one year ago at the opening of the BBC Arena in Schaffhausen.
The Swiss champions were only on an equal level until the 7:7, before they failed eight times in attack and Barca extended the margin to five goals at the break led by brilliant line player Cedric Sorhaindo and keeper Danijel Šarić.
In the second half Schaffhausen did not allow the record champions to increase the gap clearer until the final stage, mostly being below with six goals. But the Swiss champions did not have the means to endanger the favourites, who double-figured the result only right before the final whistle.
The only good news for Schaffhausen was the international comeback of German Christian Dissinger, who scored three times in his first VELUX EHF Champions League after his rupture of the crucial ligament against Barcelona in the last season’s match.
TEXT: Björn Pazen
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