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26.11.2016, 21:57◄ last page     

GROUP C REVIEW: Montpellier are the first side from this group to book a place in the play-offs after a convincing win over La Rioja.

Montpellier advance to play-offs with big win

After a poor start to their VELUX EHF Champions League campaign by Montpellier, Patrice Canayer‘s men won five consecutive matches to be the first team of Group C to advance, while La Rioja remained in second place after Saturday’s 37:27 loss in France.

  • Montpellier are the first team to qualify for the play-offs from Group C

  • The best defence (Montpellier) in the group prevailed against the best attack (La Rioja)

  • Montpellier are on a winning streak of five consecutive games

  • Mathieu Grebille led the scorers‘ list with 10 goals


Montpellier HB (FRA) vs La Rioja (ESP) 37:27 (19:11)

Similar to the 13 goals by Filip Taleski from Metalurg in Round 1 against Elverum, Mathieu Grebille put in a high-scoring performance on Saturday.

The best scorer of Montpellier added 10 to his tally of 34 goals so far to guide the French side to a slight surprising high-scoring win.

On the other hand, La Rioja were relying too much on their wing play. Mohamed Sinad and Angel Perez combined to score 13 goals, almost half of the team‘s total production.

Best defence

Montpellier had the best defence in the group before Round 8 with 174 goals. Today they eliminated the best attack.

La Rioja produced far too many technical faults, six more than their opponents, but all credit goes to the aggressive defence of Montpellier, supported by reliable Vincent Gerard.

Patrice Canayer was convinced of Montpellier‘s qualities despite the difficulties throughout the campaign, especially after the defeat in Elverum.

Their biggest problem was inconsistency. However, recently they are showing a vast improvement and are able to play up to their abilities throughout a whole match.

Under pressure

La Rioja were flying high until the game against Chekhovskie Medvedi. Suddenly, two high-scoring defeats got them under pressure.

Their defensive performance was questionable as they conceded 37 goals for a secpond time in a row.

But Jota Gonzalez‘s men have everything in their own hands with a game at home against Metalurg giving their a good chance to bounce back.

Post-match statements:

Patrice Canayer, Montpellier coach: "We wanted to play with a lot of intensity as we knew we could be qualified for the next round with a victory here."

Jure Dolenec, Montpellier right back: "We are progressing and although we have a lot of difficult matches between now and Christmas, if we play like this, we can win them all."

Miguel-Angel Velasco, La Rioja coach: "Montpellier were the better team throughout the match. It was a complicated match for us for several reasons, also because of the number of injured players."

Javier Pecina, La Rioja line player: "Montpellier are a very good team with a lot of international players, and they were better from start to finish tonight."

TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / ew

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