GOG take second win in succession in Men’s EHF Cup
GOG won their first European home match in seven years
Benfica earned their first ever win in a European group match
The first European group match ever played in Israel ended in a loss for the home team
GOG (DEN) vs RD Riko Ribnica (SLO) 32:27 (19:10)
GOG celebrated their first European group match on home ground in seven years with a five-goal win. In the previous round, qualification round 3, they beat Alingas by six at home in the second leg of the tie which saw the Danes make it through to the group phase.
However, the win could have been even clearer, as the Danish team were leading by 11 goals early in the second half at the GOG Arena in Gudme.
After some scoring problems at the start, GOG really got their attacking machine going, and they found themselves 10 goals ahead.
In their opening match of the group phase, Ribnica caused Füchse Berlin problems before losing by five goals but against GOG they never really managed to cause the home team any trouble.
But the Slovenian side showed great morale, reducing an 11-goal deficit early in the second half to five, but they were helped as GOG lost some of their intensity, which had characterised them before the break.
“When you lead so much at half time it is always hard to keep up the steam in the second half,” said GOG left wing Tobias Møller. “We also made several substitutions in the second half to rest some of our key players which may also have played a part in that.”
Maccabi CASTRO Tel Aviv (ISR) vs KIF Kolding Kobenhavn (DEN) 25:31 (10:15)
The first-ever European club competition group match in Israel ended without success for hosts Tel Aviv as their playmaker Chen Pomeranz, who scored 10 goals for the Israeli side in their opening loss against Grundfos Tatabanya (27:24), was injured and only appeared on court for penalty shots.
His team missed him in the attack, where they had serious problems against the experienced KIF defence during most of the match.
KIF coach Carlos Ortega rested key players such as Konstantin Igropulo and Lars Jørgensen, but still, the visitors were able to take a clear lead from the start and hold on to it throughout the 60 minutes.
KIF soon got up 5:1, and after Tel Aviv reduced the deficit to two goals after 20 minutes, the Danish side increased the lead again and left no doubt about the result.
The win took KIF Kolding Kobenhavn onto three points, while Maccabi Tel Aviv are still searching for their first points in the group phase.
“Kolding played good, controlled the game all the way and deserved this victory,” said Maccabi coach Dragan Djukic. “It is hard to play without your best player, who has scored 60 goals in our last five games in Europe, but we tried to show that we are a team.”
“We prepared to play against Chen Pomaranz,” said KIF coach Carlos Ortega. “We did not know he was injured, but that was good for us in this case.”
S.L. Benfica (POR) vs Helvetia Anaitasuna (ESP) 33:28 (19:9)
10 goals in a row from Benfica decided this match. After an equal start, in which the visitors had a couple of two-goal leads, the home team managed to change a 6:5 deficit to 15:6 in their own favour.
Benfica even extended their lead to 11 goals before the first half was over.
After the break, Anaitasuna managed to reduce the gap, but they were never able to create any tension, and being four goals down with a minute left was the closest they got as Benfica celebrated their first-ever win in a European group match.
Both teams now have two points after two matches.
TEXT: Peter Bruun/amc