Everything yet to be decided between Nantes and Paris
Nantes coach Thierry Anti described the VELUX EHF Champions League Match of the Week as a “heavy fight”, as the first-leg Last 16 clash between HBC Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain Handball ended in a draw on Saturday night.
• The ehfTV.com Match of the Week sees a draw secured in the last 10 seconds by Nantes wing Dominik Klein
• PSG’s Uwe Gensheimer top scores the match with seven goals, while Nikola Karabatic misses the game due to illness
• The teams are on equal footing ahead of the second-leg knock-out game next Saturday
LAST 16, FIRST LEG HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) 26:26 (15:14)
Nantes knew they needed to start the game strong in order to put doubt in their opponents' minds – and that's exactly what they did.
Nantes goalkeeper Cyril Dumoulin was hot right from the off, stopping two Uwe Gensheimer shots and enabling Olivier Nyokas to score on fast breaks that put the hosts ahead 4:1. But Paris slowly came back into the game.
With Nikola Karabatic missing due to a virus, Mikkel Hansen and Daniel Narcisse picked up the scoring duties to keep their team on track. At half-time, Nantes retained just a one-goal advantage at 15:14.
PSG take control
Coach Noka Serdarusic's team used the beginning of the second half to take the lead for the first time of the game. Hansen was left alone in defence and made the best of it, while Nantes lost an uncharacteristic number of balls in attack.
After 37 minutes, Paris were leading by two and retained the same advantage until two minutes before the end.
Was it tiredness, or did the home crowd play a crucial role? Whatever the case, Narcisse lost a ball, Nedim Remili missed a shot and Nantes’ David Balaguer ran.
Balaguer provided Nicolas Claire a perfect occasion to narrow the gap before Dominik Klein scored the equaliser, just 10 seconds from the last whistle, ending the game at 26:26.
“It's an OK result for us. We were missing Nikola but we managed to find solutions to make up for it. Everything is yet to be decided,” said Remili, Paris’ second top scorer with six goals, just one behind Gensheimer who tallied seven.
Anti, on the other hand, saw this draw as “a good result for Nantes. We wanted to go to Paris with something at stake. We're exactly in this position.”