Summary: Metalurg and Fivers engage in a thrilling draw
The final European League game of 2020 took us to Skopje for Metalurg against Fivers in group A. Here is how the game evolved into a dramatic draw.
- Metalurg and Fivers draw 33:33
- Austrian side raced into an early five goal lead, inspired by Eric Damböck
- Metalurg turned the game on its head early in the second half
- the draw gives Metalurg their first point of the group and sends Fivers joint-third in group A
The short and sweet coverage of this evening's European League clash comes to an end and despite it being just one match, it gave us more than enough entertainment.
Attention switches to the EHF Champions League on Wednesday with Celje vs Zagreb before the VELUX EHF FINAL4 from Cologne on 28 and 29 December. Goodnight!
20:15 | Result: HC Metalurg 33:33 Fivers
What a topsy-turvy second half. A 7:1 run early on saw Metalurg grab control of the game but Fivers showed remarkable maturity to work their way back into contention and eventually snatch the lead again with just minutes remaining.
Branko Kankaras had the last laugh as he scored a late equaliser for Metalurg, who pick up their first point of the campaign.
Eric Damböck is having a stunning match!
Two fast break goals from him give Fivers a 32:31 lead with three minutes remaining and take his total for the night to 11.
Fivers have battled their way back within one goal and look comfortable again, but they will be kicking themselves for that slow start to the second half.
All to play for as we enter the final 11 minutes, 29:28 to Metalurg.
Metalurg have emerged as a different beast in this second half. Daniel Gjorgjeski is saving everything coming his way, his teammates are scoring goals like nobody's business and all of a sudden it's 23:20 to the home side.
The second half is underway with Metalurg hoping to strike early and often in a bid to overturn a three-goal deficit. It did not take them long as a quick 4:1 run puts them level after four minutes!
Fivers are on the hunt for their first away win in Europe since 2008, when they beat Cyprus College 27:26 in the EHF Cup. Current defensive stalwart Markus Kolar was their top scorer on that occassion.
19:19 | Half-time: HC Metalurg 16:19 Fivers
We've been treated to 35 goals in a pulsating half of handball in Skopje. Despite the Austrian guests looking the better team, overall, Metalurg have battled their way into a competitive position and will undoubtedly fancy their chances of turning things around in the second half.
The goals keep flooding in at both ends and Fivers look good value for their 16:12 lead after 22 minutes. Easily the standout player in this clash has been left wing Eric Damböck, who has scored a remarkable seven goals from as many shots.
Metalurg have begun to find their feet in attack but their defence will worry them most. Fivers are piercing through them with ease, particularly on the wings and lead 9:6 after just 10 minutes of play.
We're underway and it has been a bright start for the visitors, displaying a solid defence and an Eric Damböck fast break, his second goal of the game, makes it 3:0 to Fivers.
Before we get started, here are some of the key facts listed in our pre-match preview
- Metalurg will play their first match in the EHF European League since losing to Leon in round 3 five weeks ago
- Metalurg are one of four teams in the group phase still without points
- Fivers are fourth in group A with three points, though they lost both away games they have played so far
- Fivers won the last four games in the domestic league and are currently ranked second behind Handball Tirol
It's a short and sweet burst of European League action before Christmas! At 18:45, Metalurg host Fivers in what should be an intriguing game. Metalurg, a traditional top club in search of some form and their first points face a young Fivers side who have impressed with their three points earned so far!