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EHF European Cup

Nail-biting win books Hard round 2 clash versus Skjern

Peter Bruun / cg

Nail-biting win books Hard round 2 clash versus Skjern

16 teams from MEN’S EHF Cup Qualification Round 1 are ready to face the 16 teams who will be entering the competition in round 2, following the completion of round 1 this weekend.

In a thriller in Sporthalle am See, ALPLA HC Hard secured access to the next round. In round 2, Hard will have the pleasure of meeting Danish side Skjern Handbold, who reached the quarter-final of the VELUX EHF Champions League in the 2017/18 season.

It was a last-second goal on a free throw from left back Dominik Schmid that secured the Austrian home team the aggregate win against SSV Bozen Loacker Volksbank from Italy. After SSV Bozen Loacker Volksbank had won the first match, 24:23, at home on the previous weekend, the 1,200 spectators in Hard saw an equal second leg, in which there was seldom more than one goal separating the teams.

After 14:13 for Hard at half-time, the score was 26:26 with three minutes remaining. Hard pulled ahead 27:26, but this result would still have sent the Italian visitors to the next round due to the away goal rule.

In the last second, however, Schmid enabled his team and the home crowd to celebrate their round 2 berth with his fortunate free throw.

“It was not our best performance today, and at the end, we were lucky that my free throw landed in the net. Now we look ahead and realise that we will have to improve, in the national league as well as on the European stage,” match winner Schmid told his club’s website.

Bocholt in the next round with a one-goal margin

Austria came very close to having two teams on to the next round, but in the end, SG INSIGNIS Handball Westwien had to see Belgian Achilles Bocholt proceed instead.

Bocholt had won the first leg 26:22 at home, and in Maria Enzersdorf arena in Wien, they celebrated the ticket for round 2 after quite a thriller.

In the arena where the women from Hypo Neiderösterreich have celebrated so many triumphs in the past, Westwien were leading 25:22 in the last minute and were in possession of the ball.

A goal for the home team would have meant a penalty shoot-out to find the aggregate winner, but Westwien did not manage to produce an opportunity in time. Instead, the game ended with a free throw outside the nine-metre line, which was easily cleared by the visitors’ defence.

In the next round, Achilles Bocholt will face Wacker Thun from Switzerland, who were in the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase last season.

10 goals from Jakub Douda

Centre back Jakub Douda had a great Saturday evening in Plzen, when his team Talent M.A.T. Plzen booked a ticket for Qualification Round 2. With 10 goals, Duda made an important contribution to the 26:25 win for the home team against Haukar from Iceland.

Plzen had won their away game 25:20, and even though they encountered a little more trouble with their Icelandic opponents at home, their overall victory was never in danger.

Hapoel Ashdod from Israel will be waiting for the Czech champions in the next round.

Constanta leave no doubt

HC Dobrogea Sud Constanta reached the group phase of the EHF Cup last season, and the Romanian team still have the chance to copy that achievement this season.

After a 24:24 draw away against CIP Travel Antalyaspor A.S, Constanta left no doubt in front of 1,000 spectators on Sunday afternoon.

In the first half, Constanta leading by eight goals, and after 16:9 at half-time, the home team won as clearly as 29:16 and can look forward to meeting Hungarian Csurgói KK in the second round.

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