Paris Saint-Germain and Zagreb claim home victories
A week ago, Paris Saint-Germain HB had suffered their first defeat of the VELUX EHF Champions League season, 33:32 at Szeged. But now the Group B leaders are back to winning ways as they comfortably beat Skjern Handbold, 38:28. In contrast to Paris-Saint Germain, HC PPD Zagreb had been in last place before their meeting with HC Motor Zaporozhye, but the 27:25 win saw the Croatian side move off the bottom of Group B.
- Zlatko Horvat scored eight goals for Zagreb
- HC Motor Zaporozhye's three-match unbeaten series ended
- 38 goals scored is Paris Saint Germain’s most in a match this season
- Skjern allowed a club record in the continental top flight
HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) 27:25 (14:11)
Prior to the game, the rivals had been separated by just one point, even though Zagreb sat at the bottom of Group B while Motor Zaporozhye had climbed to fifth place after a string of good results.
The Ukrainian team had been unbeaten for three straight matches, but this run came to an end as Zagreb took revenge for the 35:27 defeat in Zaporozhye.
Zagreb's captain Zlatko Horvat was the driving force for the home side, as the 34-year-old finished the game with eight goals. Thanks to his impact, the Croatian team took the upper hand after a tight start to the match, pulling clear at 11:8 and holding the three-goal lead at the break (14:11).
Pawel Paczkowski and Barys Pukhouski - who scored six goals each for Motor - helped the visitors to stay competitive throughout the first half.
A minute from the buzzer, the Ukrainian team still harboured some hopes as Zagreb held a 25:23 lead, but Horvat scored at a crucial moment before the spectators saw the two sides score three more goals each in the dynamic closing seconds.
"I feel like they managed to achieve more than everyone expected from them and I truly believe this team will reach Champions League Last 16," said Lino Cervar, the departing Zagreb coach.
Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN) 38:28 (19:13)
In the reverse fixture at Skjern, Paris Saint-Germain had won by a small margin (26:24), but the Group B leaders were strong favourites at home against the Danish side.
And the French heavyweights lived up to expectations, leaving no chance for their Danish opponents. 38 goals is Paris Saint-Germain's best in this season's VELUX EHF Champions League, while for Skjern, this is the most goals that they have ever conceded in a match in the competition.
Uwe Gensheimer and Sander Sagosen paved the way for Paris’ victory, as they scored nine and eight goals respectively, with 11 PSG players in total were able to put their name on the scoresheet.
Skjern fought hard during the first quarter of the match, and Paris Saint-Germain held a slender 9:8 advantage at one point, but the home team then pulled clear to lead 14:10. At half-time, the score was 19:13.
After the break, the home team did not slow down and kept pushing, perhaps chasing their all-time scoring record in the competition (42 goals against Kiel in the 2016/17 season).
That record stood firm, but 38:28 is also a score for Paris Saint-Germain to be happy with as they extended their lead at the top of Group B.Author: Sergey Nikolaev / jw