Szeged leave it late against Plock
A 7:2 run to end the game helped Szeged overcome one of their worst attacking performances this season, recording an important 22:20 win against Wisla Plock in the first leg of their Last 16 match-up against the Polish side.
In a game marred by misses and turnovers, Plock led by as many as four goals twice, but ultimately failed to stop Szeged, who will have the upper hand in the second game next week.
- Juan Carlos Pastor won the duel of the Spanish coaches against Plock’s Xavier Sabate
- Szeged’s back, Joan Canellas, had his best game of the season, scoring six times
- Plock also lost their home game in the Elimination C/D phase against Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, only to come back roaring in the second game to earn this Last 16 berth
LAST 16, FIRST LEG
Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) 20:22 (10:10)
Szeged made a small step in their bid to progress to the quarter finals of the VELUX EHF Champions League for the third time in the past five years despite having early attacking troubles against home side Plock.
With one of the best attacks in the group phase, Szeged failed to score in the first seven minutes, and could only put two goals past Adam Morawski after 13 minutes and it came as no surprise that Plock took it upon themselves to dictate the rhythm, building a healthy 7:3 lead, on the back of a three-save period from goalkeeper Morawski.
However, Szeged’s own mistakes in attack were also on display, with the Hungarian side turning the ball over four times in the first 14 minutes.
Yet a 5:0 run from Szeged, who amped up their defence and prevented Plock from scoring for 11 minutes, turned the game on its head which included a three-goal salvo from right wing Mario Sostaric to help the Hungarian side take their first lead of the game, 8:7.
But Plock came back and tied the game at the break, 10:10.
It was a nip and tuck second half, as neither team could improve their lead to more than a goal until the 46th minute, when the Morawski-inspired Wisla jumped to a 18:15 lead, as right wing Michal Daszek improved his already-flawless game to a five-goal tally.
An ultra-aggressive approach for Wisla, who took out their goalkeeper to create a 7 vs 6 outfield superiority in the last 12 minutes of the game backfired, as Szeged used a Richard Bodo-inspired 6:0 run to get back in front, 20:18.
There was nothing that Plock could do to stop their second home loss of the season in the European top competition as Szeged controlled the end of the game to earn a 22:20 win and take a two-goal lead into the second leg, which will take place next Sunday in Hungary.
"Wisla started very well, but thanks to our solid defence we managed to recover our loss and finally win this game," said Szeged coach Juan Carlos Pastor. "The only good thing after this game is the fact that we won."
The other Spanish coach, Xavier Sabate, admitted he was proud of his Plock team but understands the level of the task at hand next week. "We played very well during 45 minutes," he said. "After this, we started to have some problems in attack, but our defence was very good during the whole game.
"We will be preparing the whole week to win in Szeged by at least two goals, but we know how hard it will be."