GROUP D REVIEW: A 8:1 start was enough for Motor to control the game and earn their biggest win ever in the VELUX EHF Champions League, 35:22, against ABC.
Biggest ever win for Motor increases Ukrainian hopes
Group D of the VELUX EHF Champions League is becoming a tight contest between all teams, with even undefeated Nantes having trouble earning their points against HC Motor Zaporozhye, Besiktas and Dinamo.
With their play-off berth on the line, Motor Zaporozhye pulled out their best game yet this season and powered to a 35:22 win against ABC/UMinho, who were previously undefeated on their home court.
After Round 6 the Ukrainian side are on seven points, while ABC’s chances of a maiden play-off berth have decreased dramatically.
• The previous record for Motor was a 31:23 win against Kadetten Schaffhausen last season
• Returning to full fitness, centre back Barys Pukhouski was Motor’s top scorer with eight goals
• It was ABC’s second worst defeat in the competition, after the Portuguese side lost 18:32 against Barcelona in 1999
• The Ukrainian team will face Nantes next week, while ABC will host Besiktas
ABC/UMinho (POR) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) 22:35 (9:18)
Every team has to transform its home field into a fortress if they are to progress to the next phase in the VELUX EHF Champions League. While ABC managed to do just that until the halfway point of the group phase, the Portuguese side collapsed against Motor after only ten minutes.
The Ukrainian team therefore claim their first away win in the competition and significantly improve their chances of progressing to the next phase.
Motor’s woes in away games were well documented, as they lost against Dinamo and Besiktas after terrible starts. But the visitors on Saturday had clearly learnt their lesson, playing a flawless first ten minutes and jumping to an 8:1 lead thanks to 100% shooting efficiency led by Pukhouski and line player Gleb Kalarash.
No chance for ABC
ABC engineered a 4:0 run to slow down Motor, but the Ukrainian side were enjoying their best game of the season.
The Portuguese attack – the second best in the competition with 153 goals scored – never stood a chance against the tough Motor defence, as the difference jumped to nine goals at half-time.
Motor stepped up to a 15-goal lead at 30:15 in the 46th minute, which meant coach Nikolay Stepanets could afford to rest his starters for the next games and ABC managed to avoid their worst-ever loss in the competition.
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cg