ROUND REVIEW: Several close battles were fought as the last teams for Round 3 of the Men’s EHF Cup were determined this weekend
Tight encounters, narrow wins mark Men’s EHF Cup Round 2
There were particularly close decisions in Lisbon, Ystad, Uzhgorod and Alingsas in the second leg matches of Round 2 of the Men’s EHF Cup this weekend.
Team Tvis Holstebro had travelled to Portugal for the return match against Sporting CP with a 36:31 win from the first leg. And for a long time, this five-goal lead seemed to be enough for last season’s quarter-finalists.
However, the home team had created a four-goal lead towards the end, but that was far as they got as the match ended 32:28 for Sporting CP, which was just the defeat Holstebro could afford to reach the next round.
For a long time, Ystads IF also seemed to be on their way to the third round without much trouble.
After having lost 28:30 to Permskie Medvedi last weekend, Ystad led 24:18 way into the second half in the Österporthallen on Saturday.
But Medvedi reduced the margin to three goals in the last minutes of the minutes. However, they never got any closer and in the end, Ystad celebrated their Round 3 berth with a 27:24 win.
"We should have decided the match much earlier, but we invited them into the game with too many technical mistakes," Ystad goalkeeper Anders Persson said.
Things were just as close in the Estrad Alingsas where the Swedish home side faced TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen who had won the first leg 27:25.
This modest lead seemed to be far from enough for the Swiss team when Alingsas led 9:4 in the first half.
But already at half-time, the visitors had reduced the deficit to two goals (15:13) and eventually Alingsas only won by one, 27:26.
"We are extremely disappointed, but we obviously did not have what it takes over two matches," Alingsas coach Mikael Franzén said.
Another close decision was made in the Ukrainian city of Ushgorod, where ZTR Zaporozhye played Górnik Zabrze from Poland, who had won the first match 28:25.
Zabrze led 14:12 at half-time in the second leg, but in the second half, ZTR bounced back, but not enough to qualify for Round 3, as the score at the end only stood at 27:26.
It was another close affair in Austria, where Bregenz Handball were chasing a four-goal deficit after they had lost 28:24 in Romania to CSM Bucuresti last weekend.
However, despite getting off to a great start and leading 6:2, Bregenz only won 23:22, much to the disappointment of the 1,400 spectators.
"Unfortunately, we were not good enough at making use of our chances towards the end,” Bregenz assistant coach Matthias Günther said, while CSM manager Bogdan Vasiliu was understandably more content. “It is the first time we take part in a European Cup, and we are all very happy to have reached the third round," he said.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
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