Vardar and Elverum end thriller on a draw
Both teams were in a bad position before this game, as the Elverum were standing seventh in the group, while Vardar were last with one point less than their opponent.
With Porto four points ahead, the winner could keep the hope alive for finishing the group phase at the sixth position, but the main thing at stake tonight was the seventh spot.
This game was the first ever in the Champions League between the two sides.
HC Vardar 1961 (MKD) vs Elverum Handball (NOR) 34:34 (20:21)
- In a highly-offensive first half, none of the two teams managed to break away on the scoreboard. Only once was Vardar two goals ahead, and this period lasted less than a minute. And it was only thanks to a late fastbreak by William Nilsen-Nygaard that the visitors were ahead by one at the break.
- Vardar took a maximum advantage of four goals in the middle of the second half, thanks to Marko Kizic’s saves. But the hosts let it slip away and, thanks to a save by Thorsten Fries twenty seconds from the end and a buzzer-beater from Simen Holand Pettersen, Elverum managed to make the score even.
- Best scorer of the game was Vardar’s Ante Gadza, who scored eight goals.
- Elverum remain seventh and Vardar last in the group.
- The two teams will meet again on Wednesday in Norway.
Marko Kizic almost a hero for Vardar
At 20, the Skopje-born Marko Kizic knew at the start of the season he would be the third goalkeeper for Vardar this season. But Borko Ristovski’s injury was a stroke of luck and tonight, he was able to display all his qualities. Making his way on the court at the 20th minute, he saved 12 shots and was elemental for Vardar when they cruised away on the scoreboard in the second half, although he could not do anything against Pettersen’s last shot. Kizic saved a point for Vardar tonight, but had the hosts taken two, their young goalkeeper would have been their hero.
For us this is a step forward, in both areas of the game – defence and attack, especially in attack we made a lot of goals. I think the game for both sides showed great offensive skills; I think both teams lacked some saves. It was a lot of running and goals, and for the spectators watching it was probably very interesting. At the next game we need to focus on how to stay more stable in defence, but at the end making a point against Vardar in Skopje, for us is a tremendous point.