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26.03.2017, 20:10◄ last page     


LAST 16 REVIEW: Four goals behind at one point, Montpellier pulled off an impressive comeback to upset defending champions Kielce by five in their Last 16 clash.
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Montpellier comeback stuns Kielce

They were not seen as clear favourites before the game, but Montpellier beat Kielce in the first leg of the Last 16 by 33:28. A solid advantage but the French team will have to fight to keep the upper hand in Poland next week.

• Montpellier gave themselves a reasonable chance to reach the quarter-finals this time after losing in the Last 16 for the last two seasons
• Montpellier improved from last season when they lost twice to Kielce in the group phase

LAST 16:

Montpellier HB vs KS Vive Tauron Kielce 33:28 (14:16)

Not scared of playing against the Polish titleholders, Montpellier took the better start in the game. With their strong defence, the French side forced Kielce to lose balls.

Using the opportunities to score easy goals on fast-breaks with Arnaud Bingo, Montpellier were soon ahead by three (10:7) after 15 minutes.

Only the posts and Filip Ivic between them were preventing the hosts to take an even better advantage.

Firing on all cylinders

But a Polish timeout turned things around. Once sloppy, Kielce were now firing on all cylinders. Scoring on every shot and increasing the defensive pressure, Karol Bielecki's teammates scored an impressive 5:1 run in the last 10 minutes of the half, concluded by a splendid behind-the-back shot by Dean Bombac, which gave his team a three-goal advantage.

A last-second Ludovic Fabgregas narrowed the gap to two at half-time, 16:14 to Kielce.

The beginning of the second half didn't look any better as Kielce were soon taking a four-goal advantage - for the first time of the game (21:17).

And just when it looked as if the Polish team had the game firmly in hand, the situation turned completely. Four turnovers, four Montpellier fast-breaks, and the game was even 15 minutes from the end.

Taking the lead again

Even better, with a firm push from their home crowd, Montpellier were taking the lead again. Diego Simonet was sprinting through Kielce's defense without anybody stopping him, while Nikola Portner didn't concede any goals for 11 minutes.

As a consequence, Kielce was down by six, just one minute short from the final whistle, before Manuel Strlek’s last goal helped the score look a little bit better, 33:28.

With eight goals Simonet was Montpellier's best scorer, while Karol Bielecki scored six for Kielce, including four penalties.

Post-match statements:

Patrice Canayer, Montpellier coach: "We had a couple of problems in the first half, including shoot and goalkeepers efficiency. We managed to do better on both those things in the last 20 minutes of the game. This is a really precious win, but we know that five goals are not enough to think we have qualified already."

Talant Dujshebaev, Kielce coach: "We gave the win to Montpellier. We made too many mistakes in the second half, while we had the control of the game. Montpellier deserved their win but we'll do everything we can to make up for those five goals next week at home."


TEXT: Kevin Domas / ew

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