MATCH PREVIEW: Unfortunate circumstances leads to a one-game showdown between Sävehof and Sabac for the Challenge Cup title
All or nothing in Partille
Due to the flooding in Serbia, the Men's Challenge Cup will be decided in just one match, the match at Partillebohallen in Sweden should have been the second leg of the final between IK Sävehof and RK Metaloplastika Sabac.
“Of course, this is happening with a sad background. The situation is terrible for Serbia, for the Serbian people and for the team from Sabac. We would very much like to have played, when we were in Serbia last weekend, and experienced the crowd and the atmosphere there, but as it is, we must simply try and make the game in Partille a fine handball party,” Sävehof coach Magnus Johansson said.
Men's Challenge Cup Final
As the Challenge Cup final is being decided in just one match in Sweden this Sunday means that in order to win the tournament, Metaloplastika will have to achieve something they have not been able to accomplish yet this season - win an away game in the Challenge Cup.
So far the Serbian team have lost all their away games in the tournament, but still they have managed to proceed to the next round each time thanks to their strength on home court, an advantage they will not have this time around.
Having a knock-out tie decided in the just one match is something, their opponents, Sävehof have experienced once already this season.
Due to the situation in Ukraine, the quarter-final between Sävehof and ZTR Zaporozhye was decided in one game on neutral ground in Klaipeda, Lithuania – a match which Sävehof won 31:29.
This time Sävehof even have the home advantage, but their head coach Magnus Johansson is not sure that his team’s advantage is that big.
“I would still say that the chances are fifty-fifty, like I said before the first match which was never played. We are up against a very strong and experienced team, and I expect the team that hits form on the day to win the match and the tournament,” Johansson told eurohandball.com.
His team has not played a match for a while, as Sävehof was sent out of the play-offs for the Swedish championship at the quarter-finals.
“We have compensated for that by a lot of training, including quite a lot of physical training. It is difficult to arrange test matches at this point of the season, as the teams who are out of the play-offs, have started their holidays already, but we feel fit, and we are really looking forward to the final, which will be a fine test for our young team,” concluded Johansson.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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