ROUND REVIEW: Turkey, Iceland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland are already sure to be represented in the next qualification round of the Men’s EHF Cup
Five teams already through to Round 2
The first weekend has only just passed, but five teams have already reached Qualification Round 2 of the Men´s EHF Cup after five of the ties in the first qualification round were played as double headers this weekend.
B.B. Ankara Spor, Haukar, Handball Kaerjeng, Futebol Clube do Porto and Pfadi Winterthur are all sure to be in the pot for the draw for the next stage after more or less clear wins this weekend.
Three years ago, B.B. Ankara Spor reached the second qualification round and this is exactly where the Turkish team find themselves again this season.
A 32:24 win in the first leg of their double header at home against GSK Varazdin 1930 turned out to be enough to qualify for the next round. The Croatians responded with a 27:26 win, but this was far from being enough to threaten Ankara Spor’s progression.
Long journey made worthwhile for Haukar
Haukar will remember their trip to Greece this weekend with joy.
The Icelandic champions flew home with a ticket for the next round in their pockets after two wins against A.C. Diomidis Argous.
Haukar won both matches in the Stadium Agias Triadas clearly.
A 33:26 win on Saturday was followed by an even clearer 28:20 win the following day.
Handball Kaerjeng managed to make use of their home advantage against Vojvodina to reach the second qualification round for the very first time.
Vojvodina won the first leg at the Um Dribbel in Bascharagel 31:30, but as Kaerjeng turned it around in the return match in the same venue on Sunday, the team from Luxembourg were ready for Round 2 thanks to a 58:56 aggregate victory.
B. S. B. Batumi from Georgia did not have a European debut to remember.
In fact, the second day of their double header in Portugal against Futebol Clube do Porto was a mere formality, after Porto had won the first leg 49:16.
The Portuguese hosts did not relax in Sunday’s second meeting, though, as they won 44:16 this time.
Just like Porto, Pfadi Winterthur had no trouble gaining access to the second round.
After a 42:19 win against Macedonian HC Prilep Saturday, the Swiss team finished the away job on Sunday with a slightly clearer win, as the final digits read 42:15 this time.
Of course, not all ties were decided this weekend.
Most of the encounters had the first leg this weekend, while one will be decided through a double header next weekend.
Among the first legs, HC Zamet pulled the surprise of the first match day, as the Croatian team went to France to defeat US Creteil Handball 32:29.
The support from 1,200 spectators in the Palais des sports Robert Oubron could not help the home team to a win after the game was all-square at 15:15 by half-time.
With eight goals, right back Marin Kruzic gave his contribution to his team’s good chances before the home game next Saturday.
Left wing Hugo Descat was most successful scorer for Creteil with seven goals.
Tough tasks at home
Dutch champions OCI-LIONS will have huge difficulties emulating last season’s achievement of reaching the group phase.
A 28:17 defeat away to Austrian side Alpla HC Hard gives the Dutchmen an almost impossible mountain to climb at home next Saturday.
Seven goals from Hard playmaker Gerald Zeiner played an important in bringing the Austrian side a step closer to the next round.
Csurgói KK can play north of the Polar circle for the return match with Bodö HK with relative peace of mind.
The Hungarian side won the first leg at home 28:21 and the Norwegian side will have to produce something special on Sunday to close this seven goal deficit on home court.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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