ROUND REVIEW: Two encounters went right down to the wire, as the last four teams for EHF Cup Group Phase were found
Away goals decide two ties
HSV Hamburg and Fraikin BM. Granollers had to rely on away goals to proceed to the group phase of the EHF Cup, as the last four of the 16 participants were found Sunday.
HSV Hamburg (GER) vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE) 26:28 (12:16)
After MT Melsungen and Füchse Berlin qualified Saturday, HSV Hamburg increased Germany’s group phase representation to three teams on Sunday.
However, the north German team had huge trouble with their Swedish opponents who were leading almost throughout the match, and only one away goal more than Kristianstad sent Hamburg to the group phase.
As if it was not bad enough for Kristianstad to be two goals down ahead of the return match in Hamburg, the Swedish visitors were also weakened compared to the first match.
The experienced goalkeeper Dan Beutler had his contract terminated during the week after having signed on for an Iranian club, but the absence of the former Swedish international did not seem to handicap Kristianstad in the first half, where they soon took a three-goal lead which was even extended to four at half-time.
Early in the second half, Kristianstad went six goals up, and although Hamburg came back and got ahead by one, the guests had the better finish. It was just not enough for them.
“It was a bitter way to be sent out, but not many people believed in us, so we are proud of ourselves,” Kristianstad’s assistant coach Jesper Larsson told the Swedish Handball Federation’s website.
Pfadi Winterthur (SUI) vs HK AGRO Topolcany (SVK) 32:25 (15:10)
Winterthur had taken a major step towards the group phase already at their visit to Slovakia last Saturday, when they won 28:26.
The Swiss team had not real problems finishing the job in the return match in the Schulhaus Oberseen Sunday.
Not even a direct red card for left wing Marcel Hess with nine minutes left could stop Winterthur on their match towards a clear home win.
Already at half-time the hosts lead by five goals, and in the last 30 minutes, they managed to extend the lead by two further goals.
Winterthur’s German right back Julian Krieg scored eight goals for his team, the same number as left wing Lukas Klacansky reached for Topolcany.
Fraikin BM. Granollers (ESP) vs Sporting Club de Portugal (POR) 25:23 (12:9)
For the third time in Qualification Round 3, away goals decided a group phase ticket.
After the two German teams Füchse Berlin and HSV Hamburg had qualified due to away goals earlier this weekend, Granollers had to rely on the same rule, as they won 25:23 at home against Sporting.
The Portuguese team had won 27:25 at home in the first leg, and this meant that Granollers’ 25:23 win in front of 2,900 spectators in the Palau d´Esports de Granollers was enough to proceed to the group phase.
Granollers were leading by three at half-time, but the match remained close in the second half.
At the end, however, the Spanish team could celebrate their group phase berth, while Sporting, who reached the quarter-finals of the tournament last season, are out.
Brazilian right back Jose Toledo scored six times for Granollers, while another right back, Pedro Spinola was most scoring player for Sporting with five goals.
Oroshazi FKSE-Linamar (HUN) vs Skjern Handball (DEN) 25:32 (12:16)
After Skjern’s 20-goal win at home, the return match was basically a formality, and Skjern coach Ole Nørgaard took the opportunity to give match praxis to some of his young players in the second leg in Oroshaza.
The match was equal some of the time, but still Skjern managed to go four goals up at half-time, and to win by seven at the end.
Two centre backs were the top scoring players of the match. Serbian playmaker Marko Knezevic scored six for the Hungarian home team, just as Lasse Mikkelsen did for Skjern who could celebrate their second EHF Cup Group Phase berth in succession.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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