GROUP D REVIEW: Besiktas move up beside Nantes on the table with a win against Motor, and ABC end Dinamo’s unbeaten run.
Besiktas level with Nantes, Dinamo record first loss
Both ABC/UMinho and Besiktas Mogaz HT faced tough challenges in Round 4, but the host teams managed to earn two points against Dinamo Bucuresti and HC Motor Zaporozhye after hard-fought games.
Group D remains as open as ever, as Besiktas are level with table leaders HBC Nantes, who are playing on Sunday in Holstebro, while ABC and Dinamo are only one point behind
• A high-octane game that saw 28 turnovers and five missed penalty throws ended with Dinamo’s first loss of the VELUX EHF Champions League season
• Nantes stay at the top of the table with one game in hand, though Besiktas are at least temporarily level with the French side, even with their negative goal difference
• Besiktas jump to a 6:1 lead after 10 minutes before Motor come back and tie the game with four minutes to spare, but ultimately fail to earn any points
• Dinamo will host Nantes next Saturday in a must-win game for the “Red Dogs”
ABC/UMinho (POR) vs Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) 34:32 (18:18)
After a draw against Besiktas in Round 3, Dinamo were trying to pick up the pieces, but in Portugal they were undone by their defence again. The Romanian champions’ system was constantly under fire from ABCs attack, whether they tried a classic 6-0, or a more aggressive 3-2-1.
Iranian back Sajad Esteki was an unstoppable force for Dinamo, scoring nine times in the first ten minutes.
Twice Braga opened a four-goal gap – 12:8 in the 17th minute and 16:12 in the 25th – but Dinamo clawed back thanks mainly to Esteki’s superb shots.
Irimus keeps Dinamo in the game
The back and forth continued in the second half when Dinamo started better, taking a 20:19 lead. But a string of fouls in attack and technical mistakes saw Braga use a 5:0 partial to restore their four-goal advantage at 24:20 after 36 minutes.
With Dinamo missing four penalty shots and carrying on with their flurry of technical mistakes – 17 in the game – Braga continued to exploit the Romanian defensive woes, as even goalkeeper Humberto Gomes scored a goal.
But with goalkeeper Ionut Adrian Irimus in outstanding form, Dinamo pulled back to a one-goal deficit at 30:31 with five minutes to go.
First defeat for Dinamo
In the end ABC were more composed and focused, with Miguel Pereira scoring the decisive goal with 90 seconds to spare.
The Portuguese side therefore earned their second win this season and moved up to four points alongside Dinamo on the table, while the Romanian side tasted defeat for the first time.
Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) 23:22 (11:7)
Having already bested their record from the previous two seasons, when the ‘Eagles’ won only two games, Besiktas were hoping to improve their chances of qualifying for the next phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League.
Therefore, it was no surprise that the Turkish champions opened strong, jumping to a 6:1 lead after ten minutes.
Flawless defence from Besiktas
Besiktas’ performance was truly impressive. A 6:0 defensive system, which forced the visitors to make costly mistakes, was the most important asset for the hosts.
In attack Nemanja Pribak carried on his spectacular shape from the match against Dinamo in Round 3.
At the end of the first half Motor had a low 44% shot efficiency and it was clear the Ukrainian side had a mountain to climb if they were to earn any points in Turkey.
Last-gasp comeback failed for Motor
The difference did not stop Motor from trying to attempt a comeback. The Ukrainian side slowly made their way back into the game, with Sergey Shelmenko and Aidenas Malasinkas in particularly good form.
There were only four minutes left when Motor tied the game for the first time at 20:20, and with Besiktas looking desperate for solutions, it seemed the Ukrainian side would be able to push for a win.
But right back Ramazan Döne saved Besiktas with two goals in the last three minutes, and the Turkish side kept their opponents at bay to earn their second win this season.
It is the first time Besiktas have won two games in one season of the VELUX EHF Champions League.
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cg