Substitutes push Szeged to first victory
Pick Szeged made the most of their bench to maintain the pace for 60 minutes against HC PPD Zagreb and claim their first win (30:21) in group A of the EHF Champions League Men 2021/22.
Just like last week against Aalborg, Zagreb kept up with their opponents’ pace for the first quarter of the game but were forced to let them go afterwards.
- strong defences were clearly on the menu in Szeged, as neither team scored more than five goals in the first 15 minutes
- if Dino Slavic made some crucial saves for Zagreb, Mirko Alilovic was key for the hosts. His nine saves at a 52 per cent efficiency gave Szeged a three-goal lead at the break — the biggest advantage of the game so far
- what Szeged lacked offensively in the first half, they displayed after the break. The hosts kept up their defensive intensity, found much clearer solutions and scored eight goals in 10 minutes to lead 18:11 after 40 minutes
- Szeged right wing Mario Sostaric finished as the best scorer of the game with seven goals, one more than his teammate and left wing Sebastian Frimmel
- Szeged are now undefeated in their last 10 games played against Zagreb
- next week, Szeged will travel to Belarus to face Meshkov Brest, while Zagreb will host Elverum
The bench was the key for Szeged
If some of Szeged's starters experienced some difficulties in offensive positions, the Hungarian side's roster is deep enough to feature two quality players in every position.
As Zagreb could not keep up the pace for the entire 60 minutes, it is no wonder that players like Miguel Martins and Kent Robin Tönnesen made the difference in the second half.
Mirko Alilovic kept us in the game during the whole first half. It was important to grow the gap quickly and get it to at least four to five goals. After that, we could have quicker attacks against an unorganised wall. We have to improve so that we can be more successful with our fans behind us
It was an amazing feeling how the fans greeted me back here. I have to thank them for that. I agree with the coach, but it was our second big defeat in Champions League, so we have to work a lot and prepare for a very difficult game against Elverum next week.