Champions League & EHF Cup recap; 3 draws for SEHA teams

PPD Zagreb

Almost all SEHA teams were in action this weekend in European competitions, eight in total. Gorenje recorded their first Champions League loss, Vardar remained unbeaten and Zagreb was incredibly close to record the first victory. Vojvodina and Nexe were in action in the EHF Cup. Read all about SEHA teams and their journey in Champions League and EHF Cup.

Group C: Kadetten Schaffhausen- Gorenje 31:28 (14:14)
This was definitely one of the toughest matches of the season for Gorenje. The teams were exchanging leads for most of the game, but ultimately the Swiss team picked up a valuable victory with some great plays in the last 10 minutes. After the game Zeljko Babic told the EHF reporters that Gorenje’s defense was not as good as before, after allowing 17 goals in the second half. Grebenc led Gorenje with 6 goals, but had help in Ovnicek and Toskic who scored 5 each. Gabor Czaszar was unstoppable with 9 goals for Schaffhausen. The Slovenian vice-champions recorded their first loss this season in the Champions League and will look to bounce back against Elverum next week.

Group A: Pick Szeged- Vardar 26:26 (14:13)
It was a fairly close contested game that really could have gone either way, but finished as a draw. Pick Szeged managed to take out Vardar's famous versatile attack with aggressive and tough defense. The Hungarians focused on scoring easy goals and did have quite a lot of help from their goalkeeper Sierra. The Macedonians were carried by Vuko Borozan and Luka Cindric who scored 8 and 7 goals respectively. For the hosts, Buntic had 5, Skube had 4 and Gorbok added 1 against his former team. Timur Dibirov had a great chance to win the match for Vardar, but missed a fast break opportunity at 26:26. Vardar are still unbeaten in all competitions.

Group D: Motor Zaporozhye- Metalurg 28:28 (12:18)
Metalurg had everything in their hands in this one, but they could not translate their terrific first half into 2 points. Motor started their comeback when Metalurg once again went up by 6 in the second half, 20:14. It looked like Metalurg lacked experience to finished this game out, but there were definitely a lot of positives. Halil Jaganjac once again demonstrated his talent scoring 7 goals. This time he had help from Aleksandar Gugleta who added 7 as well. This draw means Metalurg now have 3 points, all coming from the last 2 matches. It might be interest to point out that both Macedonian teams recorded draws this weekend.

Group B: Aalborg Handbold- Meshkov Brest 20:23 (11:12)
The Belarusian champions looked very capable of dealing with Aalborg’s fast-paced playing style. Their defense looked very focused and motivated and cause a lot of trouble to the Danish champions. Meshkov even went up by 5, with Petar Djordjic playing a significant role to separate the two sides scoring 7 goals in total. His fellow Serbian teammate Rastko Stojkovic added 4 in a truly important win for Meshkov. The fact that they have managed to keep Aalborg from scoring more than 20 goals, means this win was in fact well-deserved. Meshkov now have 4 points and face Celje next weekend.

Group A: PPD Zagreb- Orlen Wisla Plock 28:28 (18:16)
After a high-scoring first half, both started playing tougher and more aggressive defense. Morawski had an amazing sequence of saves early in the second half which put WIsla Plock in slight control of the match. Zagreb struggled hard offensively in the second half, but Skok pulled a couple of great saves to keep them in the match. Mandalinic and Vuglac were the key offensive weapons for the Croatian champions, combining for 17 goals. Igor Zabic scored his first goal of the game with 10 seconds to go to tie the score up at 28. Stipe Mandalinic came agonizingly close to get Zagreb the 2 points, but had the last shot of the match incredibly saved by Morawski. This is now Zagreb’s second draw of the season in Champions League, both 28:28. Next week they play Rhein-Neckar in Germany.

Group B: PSG- Celje PL 32:27 (18:14)
Celje started the match very well, with a couple of nice goals to commence the match. Defense also worked very hard to hold off the French players at the start. But then, PSG players got the engine going and grabbed the lead going forward. However, Celje players never gave up and were able to stay within the striking distance for most of the game. Even though, Celje lost by 5 goals in the end, they have left a positive impression once more, especially offensively. On the other side, their defense was again quite leaky at times, but that is to be expected when playing PSG. Ziga Mlakar got back to his old tricks, scoring 10 goals, but he also took 19 shots doing so. Marguc added 4 and the youngster Domen Makuc put himself on the scoreboard, scoring his second goal of the season in Champions League.

EHF Cup- Qualification Round 2

Vojvodina and Nexe played their EHF Cup matches this weekend. The Serbian champions were knocked out by the strong Swiss team Pfadi Winterhur, whereas Nexe still have one match to play against Polva, but the things are looking promising.

Pfadi Winterhur- Vojvodina 35:22, 26:17
It was a pretty one-sided double header, as Vojvodina simply got outclassed in this one. Playing 2 matches in 2 days is never an easy thing to do, particularly away and against a strong opponent. Vojvodina actually had a decent score at half time in the first match, trailing only by 4. It was the second half when Pfadi Winterhur got going and dominated. Jovanovic scored 5 to lead Vojvodina, but it was not a great performance from them.

The second match was slightly better, but the the winner of this tie was pretty much decided in the first game. Vojvodina players’ legs looked tired during the double header, which resulted in only 17 goals in the second match. This time it was Nadoveza who led his team with 6 goals. All in all, Vojvodina did not manage to repeat the success from the 14/15 season when the team was able to reach the group stage of this competition.

Polva Serviti- Nexe 25:27 (13:14)
It is clear that Nexe took this match seriously, preparing themselves thoroughly for this match. It all paid off, as the Nasice- based team got what they came for- a win. The captain Sasa Barisic Jaman scored 7 goals to put his team a step closer towards the group stage of the EHF Cup. Pilipovic also added 12 saves. Nexe host Polva next weekend and will want to confirm they deserve to go the next round.