|02.10.2016, 16:00||◄ last page|
GROUP A REVIEW: Both FINAL4 contenders take hard-earned first victories, while BSV and Plock stood strong for long periods.
Flensburg and Paris win without any glitz or glamour
Bjerringbro (losing 25:19 against SG) and Plock (33:30 to PSG) were tough nuts to crack for the favourites Flensburg and PSG in the last Round 2 matches of VELUX EHF Champions League Group A. But in the end, they both took their respective first wins of the season.
• Flensburg stay unbeaten after their draw against Veszprém, while BSV stay on two points.
BSV and SG were unbeaten in all competitions this season, but the run of the Danish champions did, however, come to an end. Flensburg, on the other hand, won but still didn't show their best side. “Our goalkeeping and defence were both OK, but we had big problems in attack,” said Flensburg’s coach Ljubomir Vranjes: “Maybe we had trained too hard last week. Now we want to beat Barcelona on Wednesday.”
In the first half, both sides lacked efficiency and creativity in attack, but could count on outstanding performances from their Danish goalkeepers: Bjerringbro’s Sören Rasmussen - one of two former Flensburg players in the BSV squad (besides Michael V. Knudsen) - saved 56 per cent of all SG shots, while Kevin Möller, on the other hand, was on 40 per cent. Thus, no team really managed to forge ahead.
New jerseys and 200 away fans
The 2014 Champions League winners Flensburg -- in their new jerseys for the first time and supported by more than 200 fans from right across the border -- were ahead for most of the first half, but missed too many clear chances, while Bjerringbro were boosted by their strong right wing Johan Hansen. Tall left back Nikolaj Markussen had a strong start, but then failed to net his chances – at the final whistle his ratio was five goals from 16 attempts.
When SG managed to start their famous counter-attacks, they were successful, but never managed to be ahead by three goals or more after being behind twice at 6:5 and 7:6. The 12:10 lead for the German side, after an overall weak first half, was deserved.
First four-goal lead at 16:12
Though Flensburg extended the margin to 16:12 at 39 minutes, they still did not play as concentrated and stable as they normally can, maybe with Barcelona already on their minds. Without any glitz or glamour, they took a deserved win and remain unbeaten after their lucky draw against Veszprém in Round 1.
Finally Kentin Mahe decided the match by scoring to make it 22:18, seven minutes before the end.
Bjerringbro kept it close by breaking Flensburg’s rhythm right up until the end, but couldn't manage to turn the match around or to endanger the win of their neighbours despite Sören Rasmussen’s nearly perfect first 45 minutes.
Rasmussen: We fought well for 40 minutes
“We fought well in the first 40 minutes, but in the final stages, Flensburg managed to score from nearly every attack. They were the deserved winners,” said Rasmussen, who praised his former team: “Flensburg can become the winner of this tough group. We hope to finish in sixth, which would be a big surprise.”
Like in their opener at home against Barcelona, Plock were the dominating team in the first half.
Clearly favoured PSG had not been in the lead once in the first 30 minutes. They were down by three goals time and time again, as Plock were much stronger in attack. Paris played awkwardly and without the pace they usual show.
The Polish side were well prepared for PSG’s tactics and stopped their top back court shooters, though Mikkel Hansen was top scorer at the break with four goals. Not only because of an injury to Nikola Karabatic in the middle of the first half, Paris played with an unusual line-up, including young Nedim Remili - who later on became the hero of the day.
On the other hand, the two Portuguese shooters Gilberto Duarte and Tiago Rocha were leading Plock’s attack and ended up as top scorers of their side with six goals each. Three minutes before the end of the first half the “Oilers” were ahead 14:12 including Adam Wisniewski’s goal into PSG’s empty net, when coach Noka Serdarusic replaced goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer with an additional court player. But in the last three minutes, Paris showed their class and pulled it level for half-time.
Remili scored and scored again
The fact that PSG took the lead right after the break was not down to good tactics, but down only to the individual actions of their stars like Mikkel Hansen (eight goals overall) and having higher number of alternatives on the bench. And surprisingly enough, right back Remili remained their top scorer.
Deja vu for Plock
Plock felt their deja vu from last week against Barcelona once again; despite another brave performance they left empty-handed and remain on zero points. At the French capital, the Polish runners-up were even closer to a success, fighting bravely up until the last second.
But in the end, Remili’s eighth goal (of in total ten) making it 30:27 gave the win to PSG, granting them their first Champions League points of this season, but like Flensburg, Paris did not shine throughout the whole 60 minutes and this was in no doubt a hard-earned win.
On the other hand, Plock’s goalkeeper Rodrigo Corrales, who will join PSG next season, did not have such a brilliant day like he did against Barcelona.
Comments post match:
Peter Przybecki coach of Plock commented after the match: "We didn't come to Paris just to play a nice game, but we came here to try and beat PSG. They have a lot more experience than we do so we won't get too down now; we will stick to what we are doing and look to our next game."
TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc