ROUND REVIEW: After Sporta Hlohovec advanced to the EHF Cup Qualification Round 3 last weekend, 19 more teams including the finalists of the previous season followed the Slovakian side over this weekend.
Twenty qualifiers for Qualification Round 3 ready
The list of 32 teams for the Qualification Round 3 of the Men's EHF Cup has been completed over this weekend as twenty teams from the Qualification Round 2 have joined twelve seeded teams. The draw of the last qualification round before the Group Phase will be carried out on Tuesday, 22 October, at 11:00 hrs at the EHF Office in Vienna.
Read more about seedings for the draw here
After Sporta Hlohovec clinched the third round berth already last weekend, 19 more teams followed the Slovakian outfit. The last season's runners-up HBC Nantes left no doubt about their ambitions for the new campaign as the French hosts of the premiere EHF Cup Finals beat Serbia's Partizan for the second time within one week (22:15, 28:24) in front of the biggest Round 2 crowd – 4,250 spectators.
Last season RK Branik Maribor's Cinderella story in the EHF Cup left the Slovenian club just one goal shy of the EHF Cup Finals participation. Maribor set out in the same direction in the new campaign as they jumped over their first hurdle – Bregenz Handball (25:26, 37:23). Miha Zarabec scored 10 goals in the second leg feast in the Dvorana Tabor.
Both Challenge Cup finalists of the previous season were eliminated at this stage of the EHF Cup. The reigning Challenge Cup holders SKA Minsk from Belarus put up a good fight in a double match on the court of Norway's OIF Arendal, but eventually lost by two goals on aggregate (27:30, 26:25), while the runners-up Handball Esch from Luxembourg did not break their Swedish curse in this season.
After having been eliminated by HK Halmstad DROTT in the VELUX EHF Champions League Qualification they were ousted by another team from Southern Sweden as IFK Kristianstad made their way to the third round (32:19, 30:28).
Barys Pukhouski, who was instrumental in SKA's success last season, led his new club Csurgo KC with 9 goals in Zaragoza as the Hungarian side sailed past BM Aragon (30:27, 28:25) leaving Reale Ademar Leon as the sole Spanish participant in this competition. Alberto Aguirrezabalaga netted in 11 goals in both matches against his compatriots.
Ramazan Döne's excellent shooting form pushed Besiktas through to next stage. The Turkish champions only tied Pfadi Winterthur in the first leg on their home court (29:29), but refused to give in in Switzerland as Döne add 14 goals to his 8 from the first match and visitors prevailed 30:27.
Pfadi's domestic rivals Kadetten Schaffhausen were more succesful in two home matches against Ukraine's HC Portovik (33:28, 33:26).
Vitaly Komogorov paved the way for HC Kaustik Volgograd with 17 goals in two home matches (31:26, 26:28) against Romania's HC Caras Severin as his team is the last hope of Russia in the competition.
Both Permskie Medvedi and SKIF Krasnodar were stopped by their respective opponents. Perm failed in the ex-Soviet derby against the ambitious Belarusian team HC Brest Meshkov (26:30, 25:29), while Krasnodar lost both legs to Croatian RK Porec (25:29, 22:29).
RK Nexe made it two out of two for Croatia as they succeeded against 2012 Challenge Cup winners AC Diomidos Argous from Greece in what was the tightest outcome of the QR2 on aggregate score (28:24, 28:31).
After a 27:27 draw on the home court last week Lugi HF proved all doubters wrong as they overcome Grundfos Tatabanya 24:20 in Hungary and followed their Swedish countrymen of Kristianstad to the third round.
The Scandinavian derby between Bergen Fyllingen and Mors-Thy Handbold turned out to be a one-sided event for the Danish newcomers in the European club competitions. After beating Norwegian rivals at home (26:18), they repeated the victory also in Bergen (28:27).
The Danish contingent in the Qualification Round 3 with Aarhus Haandbold seeded directly for the Tuesday's draw grew even bigger as Skjern Handbold easily clinched the berth defeating Czech novices in Europe HBC Ronal Jicin 67:42 on aggregate (38:21, 29:21).
Lisbon is the only city with a double participation in the Qualification Round 3 as both SL Benfica and Sporting CP easily solved their respective second round tasks. While Benfica scored impressive 68 goals in two matches against Icelandic Haukar (34:18, 34:22), Sporting stopped the Dutch champions HV KRAS/Volendam in a convincing fashion (30:18, 35:32).
Romania's Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacau moved closer to another trip to the EHF Cup Group Phase as they won both games against Lithuania's Klaipeda Dragunas (36:21, 29:28).
The Macedonian handball boom recorded a new impulse as HC Zomimak-M successfully completed their first appearance in Europe eliminating Israel's Maccabi Tyrec Tel Aviv (26:26, 30:23).
Following five straight years in the EHF Champions League Chambery failed to reach the European top flight for this season, but they quickly found a new motivation in the EHF Cup underlined by two easy victories against Turkish side Ankaraspor BB (34:26, 32:20).
Find all the results of the Qualification Round 2 here
TEXT: EHF / br
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