16 saves of goalkeeper Urban Lesjak guided Final 4 debutants Celje PL to the third rank of the 2018 edition of the event. On Sunday, the Slovenian record champions beat Meshkov Brest in the third-rank match 31:28. Top scorers in a combative match, in which Brest had not been in lead after minute 41, were Ziga Mlakar (Celje/7) and the Brest duo Viacheslau Shumak and Pavel Horak with five strikes each.
Bronze medal match: Meshkov Brest – Celje PL 28:31 (14:15)
David Razgor (Celje PL/4) did not only score goals than his brother Simon (Meshkov Brest/2), but also were victorious in the brother duel of the SEHA – Gazprom League Final 4 in Skopje.
Celje started furiously, forging ahead to a 4:1, mainly thanks to their counter-attack goals. After only nine minutes, the Slovenian side were ahead 7:4, before Brest had their strongest period, levelling the result at 8:8. But again, Celje were more efficient in attack and more movable in defence, to get on to 11:8 and 15:12. Thanks to two late goals, Brest reduced the gap to 14:15, the final goal of Matic Suholeznik came too late – after the halftime buzzer.
After the break, the match went back and fourth, with constantly changing leads. No team could cast off the opponent, until minute 47, no team had a higher advantage than one goal. Then Celje –backed by goalkeeper Urban Lesjak – scored twice in a minute for the 25:23. On the other hand, line player Viacheslau Shumak and left back Pavel Horak were Brest’s driving forces.
When Maksim Baranau failed with a penalty shot against Lesjak and Celje netted in for the 27:24 in the next attack, it was something like a pre-decision. Brest were under pressure, failed too often in attack, mainly as Lesjak shut up his shop. Latest at the score of 29:25, the deal was sealed. Even a red card after three suspensions against Borut Mackovsek did not stop Celje.