Champions Nærbø take narrow win in Slovakia
Title-holders Nærbø IL faced a tough challenge in Slovakia, playing at MSK Povazska Bysatrica in the first-leg match of the EHF European Cup Men Last 16.
However, the Norwegian side ultimately grabbed a hard-fought 35:34 victory, and now they hope to defend their advantage in the return leg at home next Sunday.
- two other teams from Norway enjoyed mixed results. Runar Sandefjord Elite made a big step towards the quarter-final, beating Slovenia's RD Riko Ribnica at home, 38:29.
- in contrast, ØIF Arendal have a mountain to climb following their loss at Vojvodina (SRB) 29:42
- the Swedish team Alingsås HK, the semi-finalists of the last season, have one foot in the next round after a commanding win at Israel's AS SGS Ramhat Hashron, 31:21
- 11 goals by Tilen Sokolic and 14 saves from Matevz Skok helped RK Gorenje Velenje to beat Sabbianco Anorthosis Famagusta in Cyprus, 31:26
- the second-leg matches will be played on 18/19 February
Czech teams claim home victories
Two sides from the Czech Republic stay in the fight for the trophy, and both won their first-leg encounters on the home court.
HC Dukla Praha earned a two-goal victory against Wacker Thun (28:26), which leaves the tie very open ahead of the return leg in Switzerland.
Martin Galia's 50 per cent save rate helped HCB Karvina to a much bigger win against Serbia's HC Dinamo Pancevo (30:22), and it will be difficult for the Balkan side to mount a home comeback next Saturday.