Szeged secure third place with draw
The last shot of the 56th match in Group A confirmed the final ranking: Dean Bombac’s miss meant Montpellier tied 29:29 with Pick Szeged and so were unable to overtake the hosts in the table. The draw was enough for the Hungarian champions to finish third, two points ahead of the former EHF Champions League winners.
It was Montpellier’s first Champions League point in 2022 after three defeats, while Szeged remain unbeaten in their last three matches. In seven home matches, Pick have only lost one (against Elverum), won five and tied tonight.
Pick Szeged (HUN) vs. Montpellier HB (FRA) 29:29 (17:16)
- in a balanced first half the lead changed five times, but eventually Szeged turned went from trailing 14:16 into a 17:16 halftime lead with a 3:0 run
- while Montpellier counted on their backs Diego Simonet and Kylian Villeminot (each with three goals) as their first half top scorers, for Szeged, Austrian wing Sebastian Frimmel was on form with five goals in 30 minutes
- though Montpellier were only ahead once after the break (20:19) Szeged could not cast-off their opponents despite a 26:22 lead. The visitors levelled the result at 27:27
- the thrilling final minutes started with a red card against Szeged’s Richard Bodo after a foul against Diego Simonet - Villeminot equalized with the penalty (29:29).
- Dean Bombac missed the last chance for the hosts, but time was ticking against Montpellier, as they were not able to create any more chances
- Szeged’s Mario Sostaric was match top scorer with six strikes, while Simonet and Swedish EHF EURO champion Lucas Pellas each netted five times for Montpellier
Pick face Flensburg, Montpellier against Porto
With the final Group A ranking confirmed and Pick finishing third ahead of Montpellier, the pairings for the play-offs are also set: Szeged will again face a German opponent in the first knock-out stage - after THW Kiel in the 2020/21 play-offs, now SG Flensburg-Handewitt (sixth ranked in Group B after today’s defeat at Barcelona) are their opponents.
Montpellier - quarter-finalists in the EHF European League last season will duel with fifth ranked side FC Porto for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Both teams wanted to win, we could not be expected to have any other goal at home. We had the chances, we created the gap in the second half but then made mistakes and got some suspensions which brought Montpellier back. We had injuries, we fought and we stayed competitive. We did everything for the win.