PPD Zagreb - Celje PL 29:28 (14:11)
(Pavlovic 7, Horvat 5 / Mackovsek 6, Makuc 5)
After PPD Zagreb beat Celje PL in the second semi-final of the 2018 SEHA – Gazprom League Final 4 in Skopje 29:28 (14:11) on Friday, here are the statements of coaches and players of both sides:
Zlatko Saracevic, PPD Zagreb coach:
We started well, and after the first half, I felt like the difference should have been even bigger considering how good we were in the first 30 minutes. In the last fifteen minutes Celje managed to speed up narrowing the gap but we simply didn't allow them to turn the result despite of suffering a few minor injuries. Domagoj Pavlovic in my opinion decided the match, but that's why he's here. Vardar have an amazing team, maybe even the best in Europe but we have the right to dream and hope at least to deliver the best possible performance and see what it brings us.
Tin Kontrec, PPD Zagreb player:
It was as hard as expected. Our defence was good today, we started the match great, but knew, Celje will find the way to play better in the second half. To win is all that matters in the end and now it is time to try, take as much rest as possible and prepare for what's waiting for us in the final because we're all well aware we'll have to deliver a way better performance to celebrate a victory against Vardar.
Leon Susnja, PPD Zagreb player:
In the last three weeks, we were preparing for this tournament like crazy, and I am glad we played the way we agreed to prior to the game. Our defence was well today and of course we're satisfied with the win in the end. The final part of the second half was obviously not as good as it should have been and the match entered a narrow finish but I repeat, in the end, a victory is all that matters. We know everything about Vardar and we without doubt will look to prepare in the best possible way and try to finish the tournament victoriously.
Josip Valcic, PPD Zagreb player:
It was as hard as expected, we obviously can't play against Celje without drama and a narrow finish. We lacked rotation obviously but what matters the most is that we won the match and we're in the final. Now it's time to prepare in the best possible way for Vardar.
Branko Tamse, Celje PL coach:
It was an interesting, narrow match. Zagreb started better and were even six goals ahead on a few occasions but we refused to give up and managed to come really close in the end. We missed maybe a bit of luck to completely turn the result around. It is not easy to be below throughout the full match, it takes a lot of energy to do that and eventually win the match and we simply didn't manage to pull that off today. Congrats to Zagreb, I wish them all the best against Vardar which was, in my opinion, really outstanding today.
David Razgor, Celje PL player:
We started really bad. We were too soft, missed aggressiveness in defence. After that, obviously, it was not easy to turn the result over after being six or seven goals short in the second half. Zagreb have an experienced team and they knew how to close the match. If the match lasted for about ten more minutes I guess we would've taken the win but this is handball. I wish Zagreb all the best against Vardar.
Borut Mackovsek, Celje PL player:
Technical mistakes, turnovers and poor defence in the first half from our side is what decided the match. In the second half we were better, tried to bridge the gap, get back into this one but we weren't able to pull it off. There is no one to blame but ourselves for this loss.