Crazy ending means happy ending for Vardar
After drawing on Sunday in Skopje (34:34), Elverum Handball and HC Vardar 1961 met again at the same venue on Wednesday evening in the EHF Champions League Men.
Whilst Elverum enjoyed a three-goal lead at half-time and were in control for most of the second half, Vardar's late surge helped them record a 35:32 win that puts them in seventh place in group A.
Elverum Handball (NOR) vs HC Vardar 1961 (MKD) 32:35 (20:17) (Match played in Skopje)
- thanks to a fast-paced game and an impressive 71 per cent shooting efficiency, Elverum were ahead at the break
- Vardar made the best start, leading by three in the 13th minute, but Thorsten Fries, who stopped 10 shots in the first half, helped ensure Elverum were ahead at the break
- Elverum remained in control for most of the second half, thanks to Josef Pujol and Dominik Mathe scoring five each, but Vardar turned things around in the last 10 minutes, with Robin Cantegrel's entrance between the posts proving crucial
- Vardar’s Timur Dibirov was the best scorer of the game with nine goals
- with this win, Vardar moved above the Norwegian side in the group A standings
Robin Cantegrel – the detonator for Vardar
The French goalkeeper had already delivered some good performances this season, including when he made 16 saves against Szeged last week.
On Wednesday night, he started the game on the bench before entering the court for the last 15 minutes. As he stopped a total of five shots and conceded no goals in the last five minutes of the match, Cantegrel was the driving force behind Vardar’s comeback.
"Together with the team I want to say that our thoughts are with Alfredo Quintana. Regarding the game, we had some saves in the end – but also the opponent had some in the first half. We fought all the game and got the victory in the end," said HC Vardar 1961 goalkeeper Robin Cantegrel.
"First half, I think we defended better thanks to the great goalkeeper; we also managed to do great counterattacks. We wanted to do the same in the second half, but we didn’t have as many saves as in the first half. We allowed Vardar to get closer and take more control over the game," said Elverum coach Börge Lund.