Silkeborg and Chambery win their groups before the last match day
The first two group winners in the Men’s EHF Cup were found Saturday.
In Group C, a 25:23 away win against Saint-Raphael Var Handball was enough to secure the first place, while Chambery accomplished the same achievement by winning 27:26 away against Ystads IF.
In Group A, SC Magdeburg suffered their second defeat in succession, as they lost 26:25 away to Aalborg Handball, while Frisch Auf Göppingen are really back in the race for the quarter-final tickets in Group B after a 36:23 win at home against Team Tvis Holstebro.
Aalborg Handball (DEN) vs SC Magdeburg (GER) 26:25 (15:11)
Aalborg had lost their chance to reach the quarter-final already, but that did not stop them from taking their first win in the group phase, at the same time causing Magdeburg their second defeat in succession.
Magdeburg still have their quarter-final berth in their own hand on the last match day, though.
Norwegian playmaker Sander Sagosen’s fourth goal in the match with one minute and 13 second left, making it 26:25 for the hosts, turned out to be the winning goal.
The match was former assistant coach Stefan Madsen’s first game in charge after head coach Jesper Jensen was let go on Friday, and it has to be said, that Madsen got the best debut he could possibly dream of.
Aalborg were the better team from the start, as their 5-1 defence caused Magdeburg obvious problems.
Aalborg were leading from the first minute, and as the first half progressed, the home team increased their lead steadily and were leading by five goals shortly before half-time.
The home side managed to hold on to their lead at the beginning of the second half, but Magdeburg slowly crawled closer, and with just six minutes left, Jens Schöngarth gave the visitors their first lead in the match.
Magdeburg also made it 25:24, but Aalborg came back, and Sagosen’s goal with a good minute left turned out to be the decision.
Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER) vs Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN) 36:23 (16:12)
Team Tvis Holstebro may have won the Danish league, but they did not stand a chance in Göppingen Saturday night.
Holstebro, who have been the surprise package in Denmark this season, started well, but were soon run over by the Bundesliga team, who reported back in the battle for the quarter-finals with the clear win, which also marked a substantial revenge for the 34:31 defeat in Holstebro in the opening match of the group.
Göppingen had their trouble with the visitors for the first part of the first half, as the Danish visitors were leading by two goals several times, mainly thanks to a Danish international Peter Balling in the right back.
Towards half-time, however, Frisch Auf managed to take over the initiative, and from being down 11:9, the came back and took a four-goal lead at half-time.
In the second half, Göppingen simply ran over their opponents, increasing their lead throughout the last 30 minutes, the 13 goals at the final buzzer being their biggest lead.
Being better internally than Holstebro and going to play OCI-LIONS (zero points) in their last match, Göppingen have a very good chance to reach the quarter-final.
To Holstebro, a win at home against HBC Nantes on the last match day may not even be enough to qualify.
Saint-Raphael Var Handball (FRA) vs Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) 23:25 (15:12)
Saint-Raphael were leading from the start, and Silkeborg had constant problems with the aggressive French defence.
The visitors managed to keep the game fairly equal for some time, but towards half-time, Saint-Raphael tightened their grip and went four goals up before being three up at the half-time buzzer.
In the second half, Silkeborg managed to work and fight their way into the game again, though, catching up at 18:18, and with five minutes left, centre back Allan Damgaard gave the Danish team their first lead in the match at 22:21.
Silkeborg also went ahead 23:22 and 24:23, and as right back Mads Christiansen made it 25:23 with 38 seconds left, the matter was decided.
Head coach of Silkeborg Peter Bredsdorff-Larsen was somewhat suprised by the result: “I’m very happy and very proud of my team, we won against the second best team in the French Championship; I really did not think about winning here tonight. It was a very physical game, our defense was very solid.”
While Joel Da Silva of Saint-Raphael was deflated post-match: “(I am) very disappointed tonight. We had a good first half, but we had a big hole in the second period. Too many shooting mistakes. Congratulations to Silkeborg, they deserve it.”
Ystads IF (SWE) vs Chambery Savoie Handball (FRA) 26:27 (14:13)
With the narrow victory in the Ystad Arena, Chambery made sure to win the group before the last match day.
Ystad are still in second position, but the Swedish team can only reach seven points, and it is a question, if this will be enough to proceed to the quarter-finals, in case final hosts Nantes win Group B or become one of the three best second-placed teams in the group phase.
A stellar performance by goalkeeper Anders Persson, who made ten saves in the first half alone, was an important part of the reason for Ystad’s one-goal lead after a first half, in which both teams took turns at leading by a goal or two.
The match stayed equal throughout the second half, but now it was Chambery’s turn to have the majority of the two-goal leads.
The difference between the two teams never became larger than two goals, though, but after a close finish, Chambery could take the two points with them home to France.
Croatian left back Damir Bicanic scored six goals for Chambery, while his 19-year-old Swedish colleague Lukas Nilsson scored one more for losing Ystad.
CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Helvetia Anaitasuna (ESP) 27:24 (16:11)
Chambery’s win in Ystad allowed the winner of this match to keep dreaming of the quarter-finals, even though six points are not likely to be enough to qualify, even from second position.
Still, both teams fought for the tiny chance, with CSM emerging as the successful team.
After an equal start, the last part of the first half was dominated by CSM, who went from 6:6 to 10:6, and who even went six goals up just before half-time, at which point their lead was five goals.
From the start of the second half, Anaitasuna tried a 4-2 defence, which confused the home team’s attacking players a bit, and CSM’s scoring frequency dropped compared to the first half.
However, the visitors were not able to benefit from their defensive success, and playing seven against six in the attack did not help them either.
In fact, the win was CSM’s first in the group phase, as their previous two points were both secured through draws.
Left wing Andrei Negru scored seven times for CSM, the same number as centre back Juan Alvarez scored for Anaitasuna.
Head coach of CSM Zvonko Sundovski spoke of the importance of this tie:
"This game was very important for us, we felt an obligation to win in order to still have hopes of moving forward in the competition.
"We played well, and I hope that we can continue to play as good from now on."
TEXT: Peter Bruun / bc