European competitions recap: Nexe's wins, a point for Vardar, PPD Zagreb & Meshkov Brest
It was an incredibly busy weekend for SEHA teams. Ahead of Round 9 of the SEHA – Gazprom League, seven clubs participated in European competitions: final round of the EHF Cup qualification and Round 9 of the EHF Champions League. Check out how they did.
EHF Cup qualification round 3
Nexe – Olympiacos 30:25 & 25:22
In a double header that decided who will go to the group stage of the EHF Cup, Nexe were, as expected, better than Olympiacos. They won both matches, both in Athens and Nasice, and will play in the group stage of the EHF Cup for the second straight season. Hrvoje Horvat's team have extended their incredible start to the season, and will now wait for their opponents in the group. Vozab with 5, Sipic and Buvinic with 4 were the leaders of the team in the first match. In Nasice, Gadza and Zrnic did really well and led the team with 7 goals each.
GOG – Vojvodina 38:25 & 32:27
The terrific Danish team was too strong for Vojvodina in this double-header. They were a better team in both outings and deservedly won a place in the EHF Cup group stage. The first match in Novi Sad was closer than the one in Denmark, but Vojvodina's young roster was unable to hold off the strong Danes. Trkulja and Grozdanic stood out for Vojvodina in the first match with 6 goals. Stankovic had 6 in Denmark and was joined by Prodanovic who had 4. Overall, a place in the EHF Cup group stage would have been a very big accomplishment for Vojvodina, but getting this far was impressive as well.
EHF Champions League Round 9
Group C: Chekhovskie Medvedi – Tatran Presov 38:26 (19:13)
The Slovakian champions missed a very good chance to earn important points in Group C, and will now have to wait until all matches are played to see whether they have qualified for next round. Sporting already secured a Top-2 finish, whilst Tatran will need to beat Metalurg, and hope Silkeborg’s result goes their way. In this match, Slovakians did not play their best handball, finishing the match with -12, after an impressive match by Chekhovskie Medvedi. Butorac with 7, and Vucko with 5 were Tatran’s top performers in their first away loss of the season in EHFCL.
Group A: Meshkov Brest – Vardar 31:31 (14:13)
With everything summed up, this might be the fairest result. Both teams had their moments in this match and displayed some exciting handball. Overall, Meshkov will feel like they could have won this match, as they had the lead for most of the match. Christian Dissinger rescued a point for Vardar, as he scored with 7 seconds to go, for 31:31. For Meshkov, Darko Djukic was excellent once again as he scored 7 goals. Dainis Kristopans scored 8 goals against his former club, whilst Dissinger had 5. This snaps the losing streak for both teams in the competition.
Group C: Metalurg – Bjerringbro-Silkeborg 29:33 (12:15)
Metalurg did not allow the Danish side to get too comfortable and recorded a reasonable result in their final home match of the season in the Champions League. Silkeborg got a massive win in this round, and will only need to win one point at home against Sporting in the last round. Spende and Ribeiro were impressive for Metalurg in this match, scoring 7 goals each. Adrian Milicevic added 4 goals.
Group B: PPD Zagreb – HBC Nantes 27:27 (12:12)
On paper, it looks like it is a very good result for the Croatian champions, and it is a big point. But, PPD Zagreb were in the lead for a big part of the match, even holding a three-goal separation in some periods of play. It is a bitter-sweet point for PPD Zagreb, but an important one in securing a place in the next round, with 5 more matches on the schedule. Zlatko Horvat, once again, led his team with 8 goals, and Ivan Srsen scored 6. Senjamin Buric had 2 against his former team, and Kiril Lazarov scored 3 for Nantes.