|24.09.2016, 21:30||◄ last page|
GROUP B REVIEW: KS Vive Tauron Kielce started their title defence with a hard-fought 29:24 win at HC Meshkov Brest, while Slovenians RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko took a well-deserved 30:28 win over rivals HC PPD Zagreb.
Champions Kielce overpower plucky Meshkov, Celje end drought against Zagreb
KS Vive Tauron Kielce were made to work hard by Brest as the Polish champions needed a superb display from their new goalkeeper Filip Ivic to erase a first-half deficit in Belarus. Kielce improved in the second period to come away with both points against the fired-up home side.
Slovenians RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko made a perfect start in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League with a well-deserved 30:28 win over rivals HC PPD Zagreb.
HS Meshkov Brest vs KS Vive Tauron Kielce 24:29 (14:11)
Champions show their steel
It was a rough ride for KS Vive Tauron Kielce for three quarters of an absorbing clash with HC Meshkov Brest but the competition’s defending champions prevailed thanks to a deep roster and an inspired debut by their Croatian goalkeeper Filip Ivic.
Ivic, who joined Kielce from Zagreb during the close-season, pulled off a series of excellent saves in crunch moments of the game, as Kielce found another gear in the last 15 minutes to come out on top, showing the kind of resilience which saw them win their maiden VELUX EHF Champions League title last season.
Roared on by a fervent home crowd, Meshkov raced into a 5:3 lead and then overturned a deficit of 11:9 with five unanswered goals in the closing stages of the first half.
Their Serbian pivot Rastko Stojkovic was a handful for Kielce’s defence and scored four of his six goals in the opening 30 minutes, while his movement on the six-metre line also opened up plenty of space for his back court teammates.
Kielce were kept afloat by the outstanding Ivic, who stopped a barrage of shots, preventing the home side from engineering a bigger lead at the interval.
Resourceful Kielce strike back
The home side were still three goals ahead (18:15) with 40 minutes gone but the depth of Kielce’s squad made a difference as they turned the match on its head in the next five minutes, not looking back after taking a 20:19 lead heading into the last quarter of the game.
From then, it was one-way traffic as more heroics from Ivic paved the way from a flurry of fast breaks which the visitors converted ruthlessly as their advantage soared to 29:22 with two minutes left.
Kielce finished with 12 players on the scoresheet, with right back Krzysztof Lijewski leading the way with six goals while five of his teammates added three each.
Talant DUJSHEBAEV, KS Vive Tauron Kielce Head Coach said after the game:
“Brest are a team who are playing even better than last season. They have become stronger with [Iman] Jamali and [Dzianis] Rutenka – they are a good team with an excellent coach who knows what to do.
“It was difficult to play them, but we played very well in the second half and the luck was with us.”
Tobias REICHMANN, KS Vive Tauron Kielce right wing, said after the game:
“We are very satisfied with the result. Brest have become stronger compared to [when we played them] in March. We are glad to win.”
Sergej BEBESHKO, HC Meshkov Brest Head Coach, said after the game:
“Congratulations to Vive. We had hopes to win before the game but we failed to play well in the last 20 minutes.
“Our goalkeeper played better in the first half [than the second] and that is why we were three goals ahead at the break. We played at an unsatisfactory level between the 10th and 25th minutes of the second half while Ivic showed the highest level.
“It's really difficult to play against such teams that use all mistakes we made [to punish us].”
Siarhei SHYLOVICH, HC Meshkov Brest right back, said after the game:
“We wanted to dictate our rhythm of play and it led to the three goals difference at half-time, but we were not lucky in the second half as we lost the ball a lot. Also, unfortunately, Ivic played well. All this led to such a final result.”
RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb (CRO) 30:28 (14:13)
Celje made a winning start to their VELUX EHF Champions League campaign after coming out on top in a rollercoaster clash with old rivals HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb, celebrating only their second win in the last eight meetings with the Croatian giants.
Having lost both games against Zagreb in Europe’s premier club competition last season, Celje turned the tables with a remarkable home court performance.
Mandalinic puts on a one-man show
This was always going to be a fast-paced encounter and it fully lived up to expectations as both teams played at the top of their limits, with Zagreb taking an early 6:4 lead as their top scorer Stipe Mandalinic fired on all cylinders.
But Celje quickly regained their composure and turned the deficit into an 11:9 advantage, with Zagreb relying almost exclusively on Mandalinic to stay in the match. The left back finished the first half with an impressive tally of seven goals from as many shots but it was Celje who carried a one-goal advantage into the locker room.
Zagreb finds second wind
The start of the second half was a carbon copy of the same period in the first as the visitor’s steamrolled into a 20:18 lead, with Mandalinic again at the heart of their effort.
He received welcome support from Zagreb’s Slovenian right back David Miklavcic, who was inspired against his compatriots and netted five goals from as many shots up to that point.
Rampant Celje swings the contest
However, that was as good as it got for Zagreb as the home side seemed to move up a gear in attack, while they also stifled Mandalinic and Miklavcic at the other end of the court.
Having turned the two-goal deficit into a 25:22 advantage, Celje kept going at full throttle and prevailed after their goalkeeper saved a seven-metre penalty shot when the hosts were 29:27 ahead and a man down, after one of their players was suspended for two minutes.
Winger Luka Zvizej led the home team’s attack with seven goals, while Mandalinic netted 10 from 13 shots but the rest of the team just couldn’t match his firepower.
Branko TAMSE, RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko Head Coach, said after the game:
“First of all I have to thank the great spectators here in the Dvorana Zlatorog. At the same time I have to congratulate my players since they have done today almost all we have planned in these past four days - our 5-1 defence worked great, although that we only started training it just this week.
“The match was very hard, but there was a nice atmosphere and I think that also the match has been good to watch, since there were a lot of nice combinations and goalkeeper saves.
“This is just the beginning though, we have two points which we deserved today and, of course, we needed them.”
Veselin VUJOVIC, HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb Head Coach, said after the game:
“Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose; that’s life. Last season we won by a goal, and today we had a similar match.
“The decisive moment in the match was in the second half when we did not take our two player advantage and Celje scored twice.
“From then on Celje had full control, but this is just the first round and there are plenty of games to play and many points to win.
“Teams have to win on their home court, and try to get some away ones, which we did not manage to get today.”
TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / amc