ROUND REVIEW: Five teams are through to the Men’s EHF Cup Qualification Round 2, after facing double headers last weekend.
First five teams on to the next round of the EHF Cup
Last weekend, the first five teams to progress from the Men’s EHF Cup Qualification Round 1 were decided, as five double headers were among the 12 encounters that opened the season.
S. L. Benfica, who had their debut in the group phase of the tournament last season, had no trouble in their match double header against Serbian EHF Cup debutants HC Dinamo Pancevo.
The hosts Benfica had practically secured their place in Qualification Round 2 through the first leg on Friday, as they had a big 39:20 win.
This meant that the hosts could take things easier in the second leg on Saturday, and their 35:28 win was smaller, though still definitive.
Benfica will face the Polish side Gwardia Opole in the next round in October.
Talent Robstav M.A.T. Plzen are also on to the next round, but the Czech side had to wait until the second leg on Sunday to decide the matter.
Their first home match on Friday against OLYMPIACOS S.F.P. ended in a 21:21 draw, but when the two teams met again on Sunday, the Greek visitors could not put up as much resistance as they did on the Friday.
Plzen had a big 29:18 win, which definitively secured them their place in qualification round 2, where they will face the Spanish side Helvetia Anaitasuna.
RK Partizan 1949 Tivat will likely have no pleasant memories of their weekend in Belgium.
The Montenegrin side were practically out of the competition after their first match against Achilles Bocholt.
The Belgian hosts were won big in the game on Saturday (38:19), and they were not much more hospitable in the second match, as they won 32:20.
Finnish champions Cocks, who missed VELUX EHF Champions League qualification last week, will be the next challenge for Bocholt.
Things were considerably tighter in FYR Macedonia, where HC Ohrid had home advantage in two matches against KRAS/Volendam.
The first match on Saturday ended in a 24:24 draw, but on Sunday, Ohrid narrowly defeated the Dutch visitors 24:23 in front of 2700 spectators, making their debut in a European competition a successful outing.
Futebol Clube do Porto from Portugal will be Ohrid’s next opponent.
OIF Arendal had a fine weekend in Luxembourg, as they sent Handball Esch out with two similar results in both legs.
On Saturday, the Norwegian visitors won 29:25, and on Sunday, their win was by just one goal less, 28:25.
“I am very pleased. Our team can really be proud of this achievement.
“We had to travel to two away matches in Europe with only 11 players, two of whom were goalkeepers.
“The lads have been giving their all for the jersey and for the club, and we have gathered valuable experience, which we can take with us to our next matches in the EHF Cup,” said Arendal coach Marinko Kurtovic.
Arendal can now look forward to playing Dutch OCI-LIONS in the next round.
Norway may very well have two teams in the next round, as Bækkelaget SK Handball Elite, like Arendal, put themselves in a fine position last weekend, winning 26:25 in Iceland against Afturelding.
“A really great performance to win away against a strong Icelandic team,” found Bækkelaget’s right back Emil Sundal who scored the deciding goal with 15 seconds left in the match, and who was top-scorer with eight goals.
Before the first leg against fellow Austrians Bregenz Handball, Sebastian Frimmel, SG INSIGNIS Handball Westwien’s left wing expressed his belief that his team could win at home.
Indeed, he made a fine contribution himself to the achievement of this goal, as he scored 11 goals, and Westwien did win the first leg in the end, 30:28.
“Unfortunately, we gave two or three goals away towards the end, but a win is still a win, and next week, we will go to Bregenz and win there as well,” said Westwien captain Willi Jelinek.
TEXT: Peter Bruun/kc
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