ROUND REVIEW: A splendid performance from centre back Ante Kaleb did not help RK Maribor Branik who lost by 12 in Sweden in front of the largest attendance in Qualification Round 2 of the EHF Cup
11 goals from Kaleb fails to save Maribor
4,362 spectators is a pretty large attendance for a match in the second qualification round of the EHF Cup. That was the crowd in the Kristianstad Arena, as IFK Kristianstad took on RK Maribor Branik for the second leg of the two teams’ tie.
Maribor had a 26:25 lead from the first match in Slovenia, but that turned out to be far from enough against the hosts from Southern Sweden.
Despite 11 goals from centre back Ante Kalbe, Maribor were soundly beaten 36:24 and Kristianstad progress to Round 3.
“Defence, goalkeeper performances and counter attacks. These are the reasons for our win,” concluded Kristianstad coach Ola Lindgren.
Another Swedish team is also ready for Round 3, as a two-goal lead from the home match against SonderjyskE turned out to be enough in the return match in Sønderborg.
Having won the home game 29:27 against the Danish European debutants, Eskilstuna actually also won the away match, 26:25 this time.
“We showed enormous will power, we were cool at the end, and when we got the chance to take the win, we grabbed it,” Eskilstuna coach Kristján Andersson told the Swedish Handball Federation’s website.
Another European debutant did better than SonderjyskE in this round.
MT Melsungen were defending a 34:27 home win against Fenix Toulouse before their visit to France.
The team from the German Bundesliga could therefore easily afford the 26:23 defeat they suffered in France Sunday and still make to Round 3.
Three ties were decided as double headers this weekend, and one was really tense.
This was the case in Luxembourg, where the Challenge Cup finalists from the 2012/13 season, Handball Esch, had a visit from Grundfos Tatabanya KC.
After a narrow 25:24 win in the first match Saturday, Tatabanya were able to take a one goal victory on aggregate with them back to Hungary, as the Sunday match ended in a 25:25 draw, after Handball Esch held a 14:12 advantage at half-time.
The other two double headers this weekend had clearer results.
In Bacau, Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacau defeated OCI-LIONS from the Netherlands 34:29 and 28:26, while Croatia’s RK Nexe won 40:25 and 43:26 at home against KH BESA Famiglia from Kosovo.
A full overview of the round can be found here.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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