GROUP C REVIEW: Elverum claimed a narrow, yet impressive, victory by one against French powerhouse Montpellier to climb up from the bottom of Group C overtaking their opponents in the standings.
Elverum record impressive win over Montpellier
Despite losing a point last week against Chekhovskie Medvedi at home, Norwegian side Elverum Handball held their heads high going into their third VELUX EHF Champions League Group C match and recorded a 32:31 victory over their French opponents Montpellier HB.
Elverum claim first VELUX EHF Champions League win of the season
Montpellier on a two-game losing streak
Success from the back court for Norwegian side decided the game at the end of the first half
Elverum Handball (NOR) vs Montpellier HB (FRA) 32:31 (18:14)
Elverum claimed a narrow, yet impressive, win by one goal (32:31) against French powerhouse Montpellier to climb up from the bottom of Group C overtaking their opponents in the standings.
It was a close battle until the 23rd minute, with the scoreboard showing 13:13, but from that point the Montpellier players could only score one more time in the opening period, whilst the home side went up by four decisive goals through their fast counter attacks and effective shooting from the back court.
Those watching the match live on TV or ehfTV.com would have heard Elverum coach Michael Apelgren explaining his tactics at team timeouts but these can be hard to read for even the best coaches in the world.
What you can say is that these tactics can be surprising, without any respect for the ‘norms’ and with plenty of risk, but the risk paid off, even though Montpellier goalkeeper Nikola Portner threw the ball into an empty net twice to score, thanks to the home side bringing on extra players during extra player and shorthanded situations. Despite the somewhat risky play from the Scandinavians, it kept the French opposition uncertain about what would happen next and their nervousness showed on court.
Patrice Canayer had called for stability from his Montpellier side after their close defeat to La Rioja in their last Champions League game, but unfortunately for the French side they, once again, had their ups and downs; a good beginning, followed by a lack of concentration and then a much-too-late second half improvement.
Club icon and new blood
The long-serving Elverum player and captain Morten Nergaard kept his team at a high level throughout the game, cancelling out the biggest stars of Montpellier.
Swedish centre back Josef Pujol scored seven goals in just his second VELUX EHF Champions League game for the Norwegians, following his match against Metalurg two weeks ago, and the fast-thinking playmaker proved he prove to be a good replacement for Luka Mitrovic and Steffen Stegavik who left Elverum before the season start.
TEXT: Tomas Cuncik/amc