QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEW: Chambery are confident in the home-crowd advantage despite a five-goal deficit after the first leg against Saint-Raphael.
Basic: “No one is safe here”
After Saint-Raphael Var Handball won 30:25 against Chambery Savoie Handball in the first-leg match last weekend, the two teams meet again on Saturday for the return fixture of the Men’s EHF Cup Quarter-finals.
Chambery Savoie Handball (FRA) vs Saint-Raphael Var Handball (FRA)
Even though the five-goal advantage earned last Sunday puts Saint-Raphael in a strong position to grab their ticket to the final weekend in Nantes, the situation is more complicated than first appears. Chambery have a strong record playing at home, having made it through this EHF Cup season with a perfect hosting record of only wins and draws.
Saint-Raphael therefore know that their place in the finals is far from secured, despite the comfortable lead on aggregate.
"I think we must, first and foremost, not get lost in the heat of the moment," says Saint-Raphael coach Joel Da Silva. "But we have the ability to write another page of our European adventure. No matter what, we've got to go back to the drawing board and back to work."
Saint-Raphael secured the first-leg win in the last few minutes thanks to a stand-out performance from Adrien Di Panda. Scoring nine goals, the left-handed right back put on his best European Cup performance this season.
But even such a record cannot dampen the confidence in Chambery's camp ahead of the second leg. Decisive victories over sides like Ystads IF and EHF Cup 2014/15 winners Füchse Berlin hint that Chambery have a good chance of turning the situation around.
"We have to believe it, otherwise there's no use in playing the game" says Chambery centre back Edin Basic.
"We can beat everyone at home; we've proven it these last two seasons. PSG, Montpellier, Berlin…no one is safe here.
"The first 45 minutes of the game in Saint-Raphael is what we've got to build on, because I think we did a lot of things right. We lost footing very quickly in the end, but if they did it, why can’t we?"
While everyone in the Saint-Raphael camp is fit, the home team may have to deal with an injury to Damir Bicanic, who was hurt last weekend.
TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg
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