GROUP B REVIEW: After a slow start PSG and Nantes served up a high-scoring derby which went the group leaders’ way
Paris secure victory in all-French battle
In their fifth battle of the season, the second in the VELUX EHF Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain HB took the victory against fellow French club HBC Nantes.
PSG enjoyed a very good beginning to the game, before having to deal with a fierce rally from their hosts before half-time.
However, the experience and the confidence was in Paris’ camp, who finally managed to win by five.
They extend their lead at the top of Group B with three games remaining, while Nantes remain fourth, but could drop down if other results go against them this weekend.
A scoreless opening five minutes of the game was not a good indicator of what was to follow. With a strong Thierry Omeyer between the posts and efficient line players and wingers, PSG were the first to find a breakthrough.
Five goals by Henrik Toft Hansen and four by Luc Abalo gave Paris the first proper advantage of the game and while they could not find a way past Arnaud Siffert in the first five minutes, the visitors netted 13 times in the following 15 minutes, leading 13:6 after 20 minutes.
Nantes responded by playing seven against six in attack, and it proved to be a great decision. Within six minutes, they were back within one, thanks to wings David Balaguer and Valero Rivera’s sharp shooting.
Paris quickly took back the momentum before the break and with a last-second Omeyer save, his eleventh of the half, they were ahead by three at half-time.
Despite Nantes’ best efforts in the second half, they were never able to draw level, lacking a couple of goalkeeper saves and some physical freshness in the last ten minutes, while their seven against six tactics did not work as well as they did before the break.
At the other end, Paris kept their rhythm and were able to put their foot to the pedal when needed. The visitors were four goals ahead for most of the final quarter and that is how the score stood at the final siren.
Luc Abalo scored seven times, one more than PSG teammates Mikkel Hansen and Henrik Toft Hansen.
"We did not start the right way but improved during the first half. We were good in defence and Thierry Omeyer was fantastic. We kept this rhythm in the second half and it is a satisfying result for us because it is always tough to play in Nantes," said PSG coach Raul Gonzalez.
TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor
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