After a tough game between Team Tvis Holstebro and HBC Nantes, Nantes won 26:20 and make it to the final
First finalist: HBC Nantes
Holstebro were the quickest to put themselves in the game since HBC Nantes waited five minutes to score their first goal, much to the delight of their home crowd.
Mads Chrisitansen punished the French defence from the distance and the two teams were even after ten minutes (5-5).
However Nantes quickly scored a 4-0 series thanks to the saves of Arnaud Siffert.
This good period did not last long though, as the Danish goalkeeper Anders Petersen was quick to raise his level as well.
A couple of his saves were enough to allow his team to get back in the game, Nantes only leading by two goals at half-time (11-9).
As soon as the second half started, it became clear that Nantes' defence had seriously improved.
Following Arnaud Siffert's numerous saves, HBC Nantes got many occasions to score and Jorge Maqueda and Valero Rivera did not waste them.
HBC Nantes' lead slowly but surely increased, reaching the five goals mark after 45 minutes (15-20).
Maybe a little bit too confident, Nantes gave their opponents munitions to come back into the game, but Arnaud Siffert was quick to estinguish the Danish flame.
Thanks to a 26-20 victory, HBC Nantes will be taking part in its first European final of its history.
Rivera, with eight goals, ended up being the best scorer, while on the Danish side, Magnus Grubb Bramming scored 5 goals.
Press conference statements
Klaus-Bruun Jorgensen (coach Team Tvis Holstebro): "I'm very disappointed by this result. The chance, to play in a semi-final of a European Cup does not come very often. I'm disappointed because I think some of my players didn't give everything they could. Nantes played the way I thought they would: a very strong defense, an incredibble goalkeeper and some very quick players, like Nyateu and Rivera. Tonight, the yellow devil (Arnaud Siffert) kept us from scoring."
Jakob Thoustrup (player Team Tvis Holstebro): "I'm very disappointed. We've had our chances, both in the first and second half, but we didn't score. Siffert was just incredible..."
Thierry Anti (coach HBC Nantes): "Even if the first minutes were hard, we gained confidence after a while. My players played exactly the way we planned, in a boiling atmosphere. I hope we can play at the same level tomorrow."
Arnaud Siffert: "I'm very very happy tonight. Our game hasn't been perfect, but when we managed to defend that way, it's often easier for me. Our fans have been there over the 60 minutes and I want to thank them. I don't even realise that we're in final but I'm sure this game will remain in our memories for a long time".
Photos: Stephane Pillaud
TEXT: Kevin Domas/jw
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