Hasselt and Porec in Round 2, Bucuresti and Ystad almost there
Hubo Initia Hasselt and RK Porec have already made it to Qualification Round 2 of the Men’s EHF Cup after winning their double headers this weekend.
Dinamo Bucuresti and Ystad IF HF have almost made it after big wins in the first leg, while GRK Varazdin 1930 and TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen are also close after ten goal victories.
11 goals from left wing Robbert Bogaerts played its part, as Hubo Initia Hasselt won 37:21 in the first leg of their double header at home against Merzifon Belediye Hentbol SK on 5 September.
Bogaerts was more modest on the following day (6 September), scoring only two goals, but that did not stop his Belgian team from taking another clear win against their Turkish opponents, and after 33:24 in the second leg, Hasselt are ready for Round 2.
So are RK Porec, but the Croatian team had to struggle somewhat harder against Maccabi Rishon Lezion, before their second round berth was fact.
Porec won the first leg of their double head at home against their Israeli adversaries narrowly 20:18, and the return match Sunday (6 September) was just as close as the Saturday game, but after another two goal win, 26:24 this time, Porec are ready for the next round.
11 goals from Croatian right back Jakov Vrankovic and ten from French centre back Pierre Ragot had a considerable effect on the game, as Dinamo Bucuresti took a gigantic step towards the next round with a 38:24 home win in the first leg of their Romanian derby against Energia Targu Jiu.
At half-time, the Dinamo lead was still relatively modest, 15:11, but as the second half progressed, the home team managed to create a lead which almost puts them through.
This was also the case for Ystad, where former Champions League winner Kim Andersson made a comeback in style with ten goals, as Handball Kaerjeng from Luxembourg were sent home with a 41:28 defeat.
It took the team from Southern Sweden quite some time to establish this big lead, though.
Ystad soon took a 4:1 lead, but at half-time, the home team were still only leading by three (20:17) and for the first ten minutes of the second half, the visitors were still able to keep within a three to four goal touching distance.
However, Kim Andersson and left back Lukas Nilsson, who also scored ten times, really made their mark towards the end and played a considerable part in the 13-goal win.
“We could have scored 50 goals, if we had run them over with our counter attacks like we did at the beginning and towards the end,” said Ystad’s coach, former Swedish international Sebastian Seifert.
GRK Varazdin 1930 also took a major step towards staying in the tournament, as the Croatian team won 26:16 at home against A.S.D. Romagna Handball from Italy.
Varazdin were only leading 12:9 at half-time, but in the last 30 minutes, the hosts managed to create as substantial distance between the teams.
Imola, where Romagna are playing their home matches is known for its racing track, but the big question is: are Romagna fast enough to catch up with this ten-goal deficit.
TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen are also take a ten- goal deficit home with them, when they go to Finland for the return match Saturday against Riihimäki Cocks.
A 34:24 win in the first leg at home puts the Swiss team in a reassuring position ahead of the second match.
KH BESA Famiglia from Kosovo are close to Round 2 for the first time in their history. Their 24:18 win in Bulgaria against HC Fregata-Burgas gives them a great chance of progressing.
Things are much close between Pölva Serviti and Klaipeda Dragunes after Polva won narrowly 29:26 at home in the first leg.
Four more ties are going to be decided in double headers on 12 and 13 September.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / bc