ROUND REVIEW: Lugi, Montpellier, Sporting, Pick Szeged and Nantes are now ready for the EHF Cup quarter-finals, while the last quarter-finalist will be found Sunday in the encounter between HCM Constanta and Chambéry Savoie Handball in Group D.
Lugi in the quarter-final without playing
Saturday turned out to be a wonderful day for Lugi HF. Without playing, the Swedish team made their way to the quarter-finals of the EHF Cup.
TSV Hannover-Burgdorf's 27:26 win against Csurgói KK made Lugi sure to win Group A no matter how their away game against Reale Ademar Leon Sunday turns out.
Hannover-Burgdorf's win also helped Sporting CP in Group B and HBC Nantes in Group C to the quarter-finals despite defeats for both teams in the last round.
Pick Szeged also qualified Saturday, as they won Group C through a 29:18 at home against IFK Kristianstad.
Lugi, Montpellier, Sporting, Pick Szeged and Nantes are now ready for the quarter-finals, while the last quarter-finalist will be found Sunday in the encounter between HCM Constanta and Chambéry Savoie Handball in Group D.
TSV Hannover-Burgdorf (GER) vs Csurgói KK (HUN) 27:26 (12:16)
Hannover-Burgdorf had nothing at stake in this match, as the North German team lost their last chance to reach the quarter-finals through their 32:28 defeat to Lugi last weekend.
The situation was completely different for Csurgo who needed at least a draw in order to keep their quarter-final dream alive.
Through most of the match it was also pretty obvious that the visitors had more to play for than the hosts. Csurgo were leading most of the time, and towards half time they even managed to increase their lead to four goals.
The Hungarian team continued to dominate from the beginning of the second half, but 10 minutes and 27 seconds into the half, Timo Kasteling gave Hannover-Burgdorf their first lead, at 19:18.
Csurgo got ahead again at 21:19 and 22:20, but the home team took over again and moved from 23:23 to 27:23.
Csurgo scored the last three goals in the match, but that was exactly not enough.
1,437 spectators in the Skjern Bank Arena saw the two teams bow out of the tournament in a match with low importance, as both teams had lost their chance to proceed to the quarter-finals before the opening throw-off.
In their last attempt, Skjern finally managed to get a home win in the group phase, meaning that the Danes finish third in Group B with four points, while Zomimak end their first European adventure as last in the group with zero points.
Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA) vs. Sporting CP (POR) 36:31 (19:13)
Already before the match, Montpellier had qualified for the quarter-finals, and the team from Southern France could even afford a defeat at up to three goals at home against Sporting and still win Group B.
However, the team under head coach Patrice Canayer did not relax in the last match, but seemed to be determined to be the only team in the group phase who won all their matches.
After an equal start, Montpellier cruised from 5:5 to 11:5 and 13:6 before taking a six goal lead with them to half time.
Even though Sporting managed to move a bit closer in the second half, Montpellier were still in control all the way, and the 2,700 spectators could see their local heroes book another clear win at the end.
Montpellier win Group B clearly with 12 points for their six matches, while Sporting finish second with eight points. Those eight points are enough for the Portuguese to accompany the French team to the quarter-finals as one of the three best second-placed teams in the group phase.
After only two minutes and 22 seconds did Kristianstad coach Ola Lindgren require a time-out.
At that point his team was already down 3:0, but nothing helped the Swedish visitors in the Varosi Sportcsarnok this Saturday afternoon.
Pick Szeged were obviously determined to make sure to reach the quarter-finals without depending on other results, and the focused hosts were in completely control against Kristianstad who had nothing at stake in the match.
The 2,200 spectators watches Szeged move on to 5:0 and 16:7, and in the second half the lead was increased to 13 goals, before the guests managed to reduce a couple of times.
“We started the game very well, our defence was really good and our goalkeeper performed perfectly,” Szeged coach Juan Carlos Pastor said.
“I think our group is the strongest in the EHF Cup, our rivals can be found among the best teams in their championships, fighting for the gold medal at home. We look forward to the draw in Vienna,” Pastor added.
With 10 points in their six matches, Pick Szeged are not only in the quarter-finals. Later Saturday they could also celebrate winning Group C after HBC Nantes lost 30:29 away against TATRAN Presov.
Kristianstad finish fourth and last with just two points.
TATRAN Presov (SVK) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 30:29 (16:10)
Presov could no longer gain access to the quarter-finals, but in the last round the Slovakian champions still managed to influence on which teams qualify.
After the defeat, Nantes could not feel completely sure to qualify for the quarter-finals, although their goal difference with a plus of 22 made them almost sure.
A few hours later, though, the French team became one hundred per cent sure to play the quarter-final, as TSV Hannover-Burgdor defeated Csurgói KK 27:26 in Group A. That result made Nantes sure to finish among the three best second-placed teams.
The 2,300 spectators in the City Hall of Presov saw an equal start to the match, but soon the home team managed to build up a substantial lead which was at six when it was at its highest, and which was also the difference at half time.
The hosts managed to keep a six or seven goal lead for most of the second half, and the strong finish from the visitors came too late, as Nantes only managed to reduce the deficit to one goal, before the match was over.
Nantes finish second in Group C with eight points, while Presov finish third with four points.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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