ROUND REVIEW: The list of teams for the penultimate qualification round of the Men's EHF Cup has been completed.
Topolcany and Astrakhan in Round 2 after thrillers
HK Topolcany from Slovakia and Dinamo Astrakhan from Russia had to fight hard for their ticket to the Qualification Round 2 of the EHF Cup as the list of all 17 qualifiers from the Round 1 have been confirmed.
Being up 32:29 after their visit to the Netherlands last weekend, HK Topolcany seemed to be pretty close to Qualification Round 2, when they received HV KRAS Voldendam in the City Sport Hall of Partizanske Saturday.
However, the Dutch champions had far from given up, and after the first 30 minutes, Volendam were actually heading for the next round, being ahead 15:10.
In the second half, the 1200 spectators saw the hosts change the course of the game, though, and at the end they managed to catch up and get a 23:23 draw. This meant that Topolcany proceeded to Round 2 after all through a 55:52 win on aggregate.
In the next round, they will join their countrymen from HC Sporta Hlohovec who finished the job they started with their 35:25 at home against Bursa Nilüfer BK. After that ten goal win Hlohovec could easily live with the 23:21 defeat in Turkey on Saturday.
Just like Topolcany, Dinamo Astrakhan had to fight quite a bit for their Round 2 berth. Having won 29:27 away against Haukar, the Russian team was obviously heading for Round 2, but the return match in Astrakhan became just as close as the first match in Iceland had been.
In fact, the 3,000 spectators in the Sportcomplex Zvezdniy saw their local team get into quite a lot of trouble before the access for the next round had finally been secured. After 12:12 at half time, Haukar actually managed to win 26:25. This was enough to send Astrakhan to Round 2 with the narrowest possible margin, though.
KH BESA Famiglia from Kosovo were hosting HC Kehra from Estonia over the weekend, and after the first leg Sport Hall “Karagaci” in Pej, the visitors seemed to have a certain upper hand after a narrow 32:31 win.
This was changed when the two teams met again Sunday, however. Already at half time, the home team was leading 15:9, and at the end the score board in the hall said 32:23 for KH BESA Famiglia who proceed to the next round with a total margin of eight goals.
HC Zomimak-M will not repeat their trip to the group phase this season as the Macedonian side failed to erase the eleven-goal deficit (25:36) from the first leg and lost also the home match against Poland's Gornik Zabrze in the second leg (27:34).
Handball Esch prevailed in the all-Luxembourgish affair with Handball Kaerjeng as the Round 1 top scorer Josip Ilic paved their way to the second round with his 19 goals in two matches.
The first leg matches of the Qualification Round 2 are scheduled for 11/12, the second leg will follow one week later.
Photo: Jan Sukup, Henrich Misovic
TEXT: EHF / br
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