Brest make quarter-final dream come true
With loud and frenetic support from their fans in the crowded stands and thanks to a brilliant first half, Meshkov Brest qualified for their first ever EHF Champions League Men quarter-final in their club’s history.
After a 30:32 defeat at Zaporozhye in the first leg, the Belarusian champions were quickly in control of the second leg, and earned a never endangered 30:23 victory on Thursday. In the next stage, record winners Barça are Meshkov’s opponents.
PLAY-OFFS, LEG 2
HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs HC Motor (UKR) 30:23 (16:8)
First leg 30:32. Aggregate: 60:55
- for the first time in the current playing system a Belarusian team has reached the last eight teams in the EHF Champions League
- it was Brest’s third victory in four duels with Motor – and by far the most important one
- after saving over 50 per cent of shots in the first 20 minutes, Meshkov’s goalkeeper Ivan Pesic was still on 37.5 per cent at the break. He ended the match with 11 saves, a 34 per cent efficiency
- with seven goals in Thursday’s match, Meshkov right wing Mikita Vailupau is now the third-best scorer of the competition with 74 strikes, behind Alex Dujshebaev (80, Kielce) and Valero Rivera (76, Nantes)
- Belarusian international Barys Pukhouski was Motor’s best scorer, also with seven goals
Opening 21 minutes pave the winners’ way
Goalkeeper Ivan Pesic shut up his shop, and his teammates converted turnovers into goals – Meshkov Brest’s flying start with extreme high speed was the key to success.
Pesic stood like a wall, Motor’s attackers got nervous, and the cold-as-ice Meshkov stars Stas Skube (who scored six goals in total) and Mikita Vailupau were like goal machines. After only 21 minutes and the score of 11:3 the winner was practically confirmed, and Motor never again closed the gap to less than six goals.
This victory puts us on the level where nobody in Belarus had been before. We are really proud that we did this step for Brest and the whole country. But this victory is like the tip of an iceberg. The real work is behind, below the waterline
I can sum up our season in the Champions League. Our team has really grown up. We are on the right track