Kiel storm Zagreb in MOTW; Veszprém beat the reigning champions
Round 1 of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2023/24 is now over. Tonight, three of the four teams playing away took the two points. Some of them had to fight for the the victory, such as Paris Saint-Germain; as the French side had to wait until the last seconds to beat OTP Bank - Pick Szeged.
THW Kiel, on the other hand, took the upper hand in the first half of Match of the Week in Zagreb while Telekom Veszprém delivered a strong team performance to beat SC Magdeburg, the reigning champions of the competition. FC Porto were the only home team able to come out victorious, as the Portuguese side turned over a four-goals deficit to finally take the two points.
- in the first Match of the Week of the season, THW Kiel came out victorious away against HC Zagreb (30:23)
- their Czech goalkeeper, Tomas Mrkva, was elected Player of the Match, thanks to his 13 saves
- with the impressive performance by Kent Robin Tønnesen, who netted five times including the game winner in the last minute, Paris took their first points of the season in Szeged (31:29)
- reigning champions Magdeburg could do nothing against the offensive firepower of Veszprém despite playing on their home court (28:33)
- Plock’s defensive strength did wonders again, as the Polish side only conceded 23 goals to take the points in Porto
A thriller is not exactly what we got in Zagreb for the first Match of the Week of the season. Powered by an excellent Nikola Bylik, who scored four in the first ten minutes, THW Kiel cruised away quickly, taking a nine-goal advantage by the 19th minute (14:5). Though the hosts, thanks to Timur Dibirov and Zvonimir Srna, reacted well to come back to within five goals with five minutes to play, the deficit was too great for them to overcome. Kiel’s Tomas Mrkva, who saved 12 shots at a 34% efficiency rate, was elected Player of the Match.
We came here to win, eager to deliver a solid outing. We had that little black hole in the middle of the second, but we definitely managed to find a way to get back out of it. I remember all the tough matches I've played here in Zagreb, and that's just another reason why I wanted us to start the season in the right way. Good outcome, of course I'm happy and satisfied, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Both Paris’ right-backs had a special evening in Szeged tonight. Kent Robin Tønnesen started his first Machineseeker EHF Champions League match against the club he was playing for last season, while Dominik Mathé visited his native country. Coincidence or not, both had a huge impact on PSG’s win. Tønnesen scored the first three goals for his team, setting Paris on the right track from the off. The visitors took a four-goal advantage shortly before the break, before Szeged made a comeback in the second half, powered by Mario Sostaric and his nine goals. But Dominik Mathé made sure that Paris would take their first two points of the season by netting four times in the second half, securing a 31:29 win.
The match was special for me because Szeged was my home for the last two years. I have many friends in the city and in the home team, so it was interesting to play against them. But that feeling only lasted until the match began, where we were able to win – we're happy with the two points.
After winning the trophy last season, the reigning Machineseeker EHF Champions League champions had to concede defeat in their first game of the new season. In the first half, the German side was unable to stop Veszprém’s offensive power. With Nédim Rémili and Gasper Marguc at the wheel, the Hungarian side broke away on the scoreboard just before the break. While the visitors kept their three-goals cushion for some time, they put themselves out of danger ten minutes before the end. It was clearly a team performance for them, as four players scored five goals or more, while Michael Damgaard netted six times for SCM.
It's something special to win against the EHF Champions League winner in the first game. I think we played a fantastic game und we are really happy about the win.
For his first game in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League on the Porto bench, Carlos Resende experienced a real thriller, but his team managed to take the two points at the end of it. It seemed like that would not be the case early on, though, as the hosts were down by four after 15 minutes, experiencing a lot of trouble getting past Mirko Allilovic, Plock’s goalkeeper. But things improved for the Portuguese side and, little by little, they narrowed the gap, before taking the lead at the start of the last quarter of play. Plock’s Przemyslaw Krajewski netted eight times, but Porto’s Jakob Mikkelsen was the game changer for the hosts, as his two goals in the last five minutes put his team out of danger before their opponents’ last push.
The result in the end could have been a victory for either team. We missed a few shots and passes, but they also missed. It was good for us, we played a great defence. It’s great to start with a win.
Photos credit: PIXSELL, Eliza Solya, Eroll Popova, Peter Spark / PhotoReport.in