First Round of EHF Cup Group Phase ends with away wins for Plock and Nantes and a draw in Holstebro
Three matches, no victory for home teams
Sunday was no day for the home teams in the first round of the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase: Holstebro was the only home team to take a point, while Elverum and Bacău lost their matches.
Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN) vs. RK Maribor Branik (SLO) 26:26 (15:12)
Tvis Holstebro gave a victory from their hands in the dying minute of a high-tensioned match against Branik Maribor. The Danes were the dominant team most of the time, but Maribor showed a great catch-up chase. 50 seconds before the end Branik’s top scorer Nikola Špelić hit the net for the seventh time to finally equalize the match. In the last minute Holstebro was unlucky, as they hit the post twice.
The Danes were away by 6:1 after only 12 minutes and managed to secure a three goal margin until the break. Thanks to a double strike the host again extended the gap to 17:12, before Maribor found the right means in defence to equalize at 21:21 for the first time. Tvis showed their last sign of life by a triple strike to 24:21, but Maribor returned to 25:26 four minutes before the end. Finally even eight goals of Patrick Larsen were not enough for Holstebro to win both points.
Elverum Handball Herrer (NOR) vs. Orlen Wisła Płock Wisła Płock (POL) 25:27 (14:10)
The roller coaster ride ended with a bitter defeat for Elverum and a lucky victory for the favoured Polish team. After an equal start, the Norwegians scored five straight goals to be ahead by 14:10 at the break, but then Płock started their engines. It took the Poles until minute 51 to take the lead for the first time, but then they shattered all Elverum hopes in only five more minutes to be away by five goals. The catch-up chase of the host came to late to turn the roller coaster around again.
“We played a great first half, so I am proud of my players, but I am also disappointed that we could not prevent the setback after the break,” Elverum coach Christian Berge said after the defeat. Top scorers were Iso Slijters (Elverum/7 goals) and Valentin Ghionnea (6 for Orlen).
Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacău (ROU) vs. HBC Nantes (FRA) 18:21 (9:7)
Despite a weak and nervous first half including two missed penalty shots, HBC Nantes had a successful start in their mission “final tournament at home”. Bacău showed a brilliant defence including a superb goalkeeper Shota Tevzadze in the first 30 minutes, but when this wall was torn down by the French team, the Romanians had lost their track. It took the guest team eleven minutes after the break to equalize at 11:11, but then the spell was broken, Nantes scored three more straight goals to 14:11 and even extended the lead to 21:14 in minute 44.
Though Bacău scored the last four goals, they could not endanger Nantes anymore. Top scorers were Radu Ghita (Bacau) and Michele Skata (Nantes) with four goals each.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
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