|30.11.2016, 21:10||◄ last page|
GROUP B REVIEW: Meshkov Brest were held to their third successive draw in the VELUX EHF Champions League after a rollercoaster share of the points at IFK Kristianstad
Kristianstad and Meshkov share spoils in thrilling draw
Swinging one way and then the other, the gripping clash between IFK Kristianstad and Meshkov Brest ended in a stalemate as both sides missed several chances to come away with a win.
In the end, it was a fair result as both sides played their hearts out and treated fans in Sweden to an exciting game, garnished with individual skill from an array of talented players.
The result left Meshkov in fifth place with nine points from as many games, while Kristianstad remained seventh on a mere four points.
The visitors from Belarus controlled the tempo in the first half, as their lethal trio of Dainis Kristopans, Rastko Stojkovic and Iman Jamali did the damage in the opening period.
Towering Latvian Kristopans was particularly unstoppable, as the home side had no reply for his devastating long-range efforts. Serbian line player Stojkovic also hammered in his shots in with some ease and livewire Iranian Jamali provided welcome support in a flowing attacking effort by Brest.
Having nosed ahead 5:3 early on, IFK stretched their advantage to 16:12 in the closing stages of the first half, before a late rally by the home side reduced the gap to 15:17 at the interval.
Brest made good use of backcourt space in the opening period, while Kristianstad relied on left wing Jerry Tollbring who rediscovered his scoring touch after a pair of patchy performances.
Kristopans and Stojkovic were largely subdued in the second half, but the home side’s tight man-marking of Meshkov’s most dangerous players opened up plenty of room for their team mates, who used it superbly.
IFK briefly tied the game several times and were level (21:21) midway through the second period, but the visitors looked the more likely winners after some fine solo efforts by Ljubo Vukic helped them take a seemingly decisive 26:23 lead heading into the home straight.
Inexplicably, Meshkov then ran out of steam while the home team found another gear and edged ahead 27:26 after scoring four goals without reply. A double exchange of goals followed as IFK led 29:28 with 90 seconds left, before Kristopans unleashed another thunderbolt to tie the score heading into the final minute.
IFK then threw away their last possession and were ultimately fortunate to avoid defeat, as Meshkov’s final shot on goal failed to find the back of the net.
TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / bc