Kielce finish strongly to take the upper hand on Montpellier
If you looked at the ticker, you would think Kielce’s win tonight in Montpellier felt somehow logical, as the hosts only led once in the game, and that was within the first minute of the match.
But on the court things were not that simple, as Kielce had to shake off strong resistance from the French side, with Marin Sego putting in a stellar show between the hosts’ posts.
But while Montpellier came back to within one with 12 minutes left to play, Alex Dujshebaev and Uladzislau Kulesh made sure their team would finish the better to fly back to Kielce with a three-goal win.
QUARTER-FINALS, FIRST LEG
Montpellier HB (FRA) vs Lomza Vive Kielce (POL) 28:31 (12:16)
- despite an impressive performance by Marin Sego, who saved nine shots in the first half alone for Montpellier, Kielce clearly had the upper hand in the first thirty minutes
- the arrival of Hugo Descat turned things around for Montpellier, as the left winger netted five after the break to help Montpellier come back within one with twelve minutes to play
- in a crazy crunch time, where both teams traded goal after goal, Uladzislau Kulesh played a huge role for Kielce, scoring twice in a row to put the Polish side ahead by four
- two goals by Hugo Descat in the last minute narrowed the gap to three goals, keeping Montpellier’s chances intact before the second leg
- both teams will meet again next Wednesday in Poland
Marin Sego kept Montpellier’s head above water
Montpellier’s first half was, let's face it, a very bad one. Turnovers and missed shots were on the menu, but so were Marin Sego’s saves. The Croatian goalkeeper, who dropped down the pecking order since last autumn, pulled out his best game of the season at the ideal moment. Nine saves in the first half to keep Montpellier in the game before saving a couple more in the second half to keep his team alive. Tonight was Sego’s last home game in the Champions League with Montpellier, but his performance was impressive.
I don’t like to hear you congratulate us on our win, as we are well placed to know that just because you win away doesn‘t mean you qualify, as we saw with our confrontation with Nantes last season. I respect Montpellier a lot, and we will need to fight at home.