ROUND REVIEW: Lugi HF and HCM Constanta both caught up with big deficits to secure draws in Sunday's EHF Cup matches
Nantes the lone victors in a day of draws
It was the day of the comeback in the Men´s EHF Cup on Sunday. In Sweden, Lugi HF came back from five goals down against Spanish Reale Ademar Leon to grab a 30:30 draw in Group A, and in Group D, HCM Constanta overcame a terrible start, from 5:0 down and managed a 29:29 draw away against Chambéry Savoie Handball.
In Group C, HBC Nantes made sure that French handball got at least one win on Sunday, as they won their home match against TATRAN Presov 37:27.
Lugi HF (SWE) vs Reale Ademar Leon (ESP) 30:30 (16:20)
For most of the match in the Färs&Frosta Sparbank Arena in Lund, Reale Ademar Leon were heading for the win, but an impressive comeback from Lugi secured the Swedish team a draw which means that Lugi as well as Leon are still undefeated after two matches.
Considering the way the game turned out, Lugi should probably be most content with one point, but still their right back Albin Tingsvall had the chance to give them the lead with one minute and 23 seconds left, when the score was already 30:30.
However, this Sunday may be a day, Tingsvall would like to forget, as he only managed to score on three of his nine shots, with the shot shortly before the end one of the six opportunities missed.
The 1,893 spectators saw Leon getting the far better start and leading from the beginning and throughout the first half.
Lugi coach Tomas Axnér spent two of his three time-outs in the match before the break, but that did not stop the visitors from leading by five goals when their lead was at its highest and with four at half time.
Lugi were still missing Swedish international Magnus Jernemyr who is expected to be back for the next match, and there is no doubt that he is needed in the Lugi defence.
Nevertheless, the home team managed to get back into the game as the second half progressed, and with 10 minutes left, 18-year-old left back Simon Jeppsson equalised to the first time since 1:1, making it 27:27.
For the rest of the match, the score changed between a draw and a one goal lead for Leon, and at the end, a draw it was.
"We had good chances towards the end, and right now it feels as if we had lost. In general, however, we should probably be content, considering how things looked in the first half," Lugi´s centre back Anders Hallberg told the Swedish Handball Federation´s website.
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs TATRAN Presov (SVK) 37:27 (16:14)
Nantes may still dream of repeating their achievement of last season, when they reached the final of the EHF Cup. On Sunday the French team managed to take an effective revenge for their narrow away defeat to Pick Szeged, as they won by 10 goals in front of 4,548 spectators at home against TATRAN Presov, who had opened their group phase campaign by defeating IFK Kristianstad 37:30.
However, it was not until the last third of the match that Nantes managed to create the big distance.
After a 3:1 lead for Presov at the beginning, Nantes took the initiative, and the hosts had several four goal leads already in the first half, before the visitors managed to reduce the deficit to half of that distance at half-time.
At the beginning of the second half, Presov still managed to remain two goals behind, but they were not able to keep up with the home team for long.
During the final 20 minutes, Nantes became more and more dominant, and not even two early time outs by Presov could change the course of the game.
Nantes simply continued to increase their lead which was at 11 goals a couple of times towards the end.
Spanish international Valero Rivera played an important part in the big home win. No less than 12 goals from the 28-year-old left wing.
Chambery Savoie Handball (FRA) vs HCM Constanta (ROM) 29:29 (14:14)
Constanta are still undefeated, while Chambery are still waiting for their first win, after the two teams drew in a dramatic match Sunday evening.
From the start, not much supported Constanta's hopes of getting a point or two out the affair, though.
Chambery almost overran the Romanian team from the start and powered ahead to a 5:0 lead, while it took Constanta six minutes and 39 seconds to score their first goal at Le Phare in Chambéry.
However, it did not take the visitors long to catch up with the deficit. After 18 minutes and 40 seconds, Constanta equalised at 9:9, and a little more than a minute later, the guests even took their first lead at 10:9.
Chambery got ahead again, but the rest for the first half was equal, and it was only natural that the score was even, 14:14 at half time.
The second half became just as equal as the end of the first 30 minutes had been. However, it became clearer and clearer that Constanta were the team with the initiative and with less than 14 minutes left, they went two goals ahead for the first time at 23:21.
For the rest of the match, Constanta were leading, and a few times by more than two goals, before the hosts clawed their way back and it all ended in a draw.
The result leaves Constanta in second position, one point adrift of Füchse Berlin, while Chambery are in third position with a single point.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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