Heroic Szeged snatch two points in Skopje
Standing at the last position in group A before tonight’s game, Vardar were in desperate need of points if they wanted to move up the rankings.
But with Szeged roaring again, as the Hungarian side proved on Thursday by winning against Porto, the mission for the 2019 EHF Champions League winner was going to be a tough one.
HC Vardar 1961 (MKD) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) 26:28 (15:13)
• If Szeged took the best start, taking an early three-goal lead with Stanislav Kaspaek as their main offensive asset, Vardar managed to come back into the game. Thanks to Borko Ristovski’s saves and Timur Dibirov’s fastbreaks, the hosts turned the situation to be ahead by two at the break.
• Vardar took a three-goal advantage at the 39th minute, but failed to put the nail in the coffin. Instead, Szeged, haled by Mirko Alilovic between the posts and Bence Banhidi on offence, turned things around, not taking any goals between minutes 52 and 58 to secure the win.
• Thanks to this win, their first away from home this season, Szeged catch up with Porto at the fifth position in the group, with eight points, while Vardar remain last, with three points.
• The two teams will meet again in ten days in Szeged.
Mirko Alilovic, Szeged’s detonator
The Croatian national goalkeeper made his way onto the court at the 42nd minute, to give a hand to a struggling Roland Mikler. He immediately stopped a shot from Gleb Kalarash which, if scored, would have put Vardar ahead by four. From then on, doubts wa in Vardar’s shooters, and neither Goce Georgievski or Ivan Cupic, in the dying seconds of the game, could find the solution to get past him. Alilovic might have four recorded saves tonight, but his 36% efficiency rate was the detonator for Szeged’s comeback.
I think we played well, especially in the first half. We played even better in the second half, but in the last 15 minutes we missed some crucial shots, lost concentration and they won. But this happens in sport games; now we are preparing for the game on Tuesday and I think it will be better for us.