Last four teams known as Anorthosis squeeze through
Greek side AEK Athens HC beat Russian side Neva SPb twice in a double-header played over 24 hours in Greece, while three more teams who had all claimed five-goal victories last week, needed to defend their advantage at home.
Swedes Ystads IF and Slovenes RK Gorenje Velenje won again, this time by four goals each to emphatically push through, but it was dramatic in Cyprus as Sabbianco Anorthosis Famagusta narrowly-escaped elimination, squeezing through by the tiniest of margins against Romanian side CS Minaur Baia Mare.
- Anorthosis and CS Minaur Baia Mare tied 45:45 on aggregate but thanks to a 27:22 away win in the first leg, the home side went through today on away goals, despite losing 18:23
- Ystads IF faced fewer problems, beating Estonia team Polva Serviti 29:25 to win 62:53 overall
- Velenje, who had earned a 31:26 victory at HC Robe Zubri in the first-leg match, defeated their Czech rivals 28:24, going through by nine goals (59:50)
- Goalkeeper Emir Taletovic was Velenje’s hero of the day, recording 20 saves (45% save rate)
- Semi-finals will take place on two consecutive Saturdays in April – 17th and 24th and feature Anorthosis vs Ystads and AEK Athens HC vs RK Gorenje Velenje
- Sabbianco Anorthosis Famagusta will face Ystads IF, while AEK Athens HC will take on RK Gorenje Velenje
AEK sweep aside Neva
AEK Athens HC are doing their best to become the second Greek winner of a European club competition after AC Diomidis Argous lifted the Men’s EHF Challenge Cup back in the 2011/12 season.
After eliminating Romania’s CSM Bucuresti in the Last 16, AEK played a double-header against the Russian side HC Neva SPb at home and also succeeded.
In the first game on Thursday, technically away from home, 14 saves by Thomas Bauer powered the Greek team to a 30:21 victory, and AEK went on to also win on Friday, 29:27.