Besiktas and Motor end group phase on a winning note
Motor Zaporozhye scored a last-second winner to beat Montpellier HB (31:30) for the first time. Both teams advance to the play-offs; Montpellier as group winners, Zaporozhye as runners-up.
Earlier Sunday, Besiktas Mogaz HT defeated Chekhovskie Medvedi (33:29) mainly thanks to a strong first half.
Besiktas, already secured of the third place, beat Chekhovski Medvedi 33:29
Montpellier and Motor Zaporozhye go to play-offs from Group D
Besiktas end their campaign with identical record to last season: 5-1-4
Montpellier suffer second straight defeat, having started with eight wins
HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs Montpellier HB (FRA) 31:30 (14:12)
The Ukrainian side beat the group winners for the first time as both teams had secured their play-off berths earlier.
Motor were on the winning wave in the first half thanks to Barys Pukhouski. The 30-year-old back was the leading scorer of Motor with eight goals.
Montpellier probably lacked motivation in the opening minutes as they had already secured the first place in the group weeks ago.
Montpellier produced more shots than the hosts but failed to convert chances, something they hardly did earlier in the group phase. They lost too many balls in attack but improved in the second half.
Motor produced a good, compact team performance as 10 players scored at least once.
Both teams looked like heading for a draw (30:30) but two seconds before the final buzzer, Pukhouski created space for himself and found the back of the net to give the hosts both points.
Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) v Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) 33:29 (16:12)
The Turkish champions claimed their fifth win of the season and ended the group phase with their heads high despite missing out on the play-offs.
Coach Mufit Arin’s men had the edge but it was not an easy task to overcome the determined young Russian side. Faruk Vrazalic and Mijo Tomic were the biggest threats from the wing in addition to the firepower of Mihajlo Radojkovic in the back court.
For the Russians team, left back Dmitri Santalov with nine goals posed the biggest offensive threat once more.
Chekhovskie Medvedi showed positive spells in the game, were in the lead until minute 22 when Onur Ersin levelled the score at 9:9.
However, like several times before this season, Vladimir Maximov’s men could not keep their performance consistent throughout the whole 60 minutes.
This campaign has been the worst since the 2014/15 season for Medvedi but it was a good lesson for the very young squad Maximov worked with.
Besiktas showed their potential but failed to keep the momentum from the winning matches to be in contention for a play-off berth until the very end.
Vladimir Maksimov, Chekhovskie coach: "Since we had no qualifying chance, we played just for the prestige. We started well but then committed too many unforced turnovers which cost us dearly."
Mufti Arın, Besiktas coach: "As always, we had some concentration problems at the beginning and fell behind. However, our defence made themselves felt later on and enabled us to take the lead."
Roman Ostashchenko, Chekhovskie left wing: "We made a positive start into game but as the game went on, we made simple mistakes at both ends."
Mihajlo Radojkovic, Besiktas right back: "The first 10 minutes of the game we played poorly, but eventually, we found our offensive flow and managed to take control. Our fast-break goals made the difference."Author: Tomas Cuncik / ew