Draw in Nimes opens quarter-final gates for Chekhov
Could Nimes swing back and make up for the five-goal loss conceded in Russia last week?
The French side won by five goals only once in the EHF European League Men 2020/21, while Chekhov, a team that finished third in group A after the group phase, never lost by more than two. In the end, neither of the teams’ records changed as the second-leg Last 16 clash ended in a draw that saw the Russian team progress.
Chekhov will now prepare to play against Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the quarter-finals.
USAM Nimes Gard (FRA) vs Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) 24:24 (11:12)
First leg 25:30. Aggregate result 49:54
- backed by strong defence and an impressive Dmitry Pavlenko between the posts, Chekhov had the upper hand in the first half
- creating their greatest advantage at three goals in the 23rd minute, the Russian side were still ahead by one at half-time
- only once in the second half did Nimes take the lead — in the 46th minute, when Benjamin Gallego put the French side briefly ahead
- despite the brief advantage for the hosts, Chekhov remained in control and, thanks to Sergei Kosorotov and Alexander Kotov, reclaimed the upper hand on the score board
- a last-second goal from Ahmed Hesham allowed the French side to draw in the end
A night of disaster for Nimes
Nimes’ Egyptian wing Mohammad Sanad had not missed a single opportunity this season. Every time the level stepped up, he was there. But on Tuesday night, Sanad and all his teammates had an off night.
With one goal out of five shots, this was Sanad’s least efficient performance since Nimes qualified for the European League last season. And without their serial scorer, the French side appeared too weak to threaten Chekhov.
There is a lot of disappointment, because we were keen to have a big return match. We had a lot of energy in this match. We didn't have the start we wanted — we wanted to take the lead. We did not really put them in danger. At 19:18 we put ourselves in difficulty. This match was played on details. The qualification was played in Chekhov I think — we missed it and it's a shame. We wanted to do well and qualify for the quarter-finals.