EHFCL Round 1 recap: Vardar beat Montpellier, Telekom Veszprem celebrate against Motor Zaporozhye

Damir Bicanic

It has been a very eventful weekend for SEHA clubs in the EHF Champions League. All seven SEHA – Gazprom League participants have played their first round matches. Two of them have secured a victory. Vardar started their title defence season with a win against Montpellier, while Telekom Veszprem were better than another SEHA club, Motor Zaporozhye. 

Group B: Montpellier HB – Vardar 31:33 (17:16)
The first guest appearance of the season went great for Vardar as they secured a victory against Montpellier HB. In a very tough match, both teams had one or two goals advantage at times, but amazing team from Skopje stepped up their game by the end of the second half and won their first points of the season. The best scorers in Vardar's team were Timur Dibirov with 4 goals and Stas Skube with 3 goals, while Valentin Porte netted six times for the home team. 

Group C: Tatran Presov – Bidasoa Irun 23:25 (13:13)
Spanish team Bidasoa Irun were too strong for the Slovakian champions this time. For the most part, they held the advantage on their side and didn't allow Tatran to come too close to the victory. Even though Tatran managed to tie the result by the end of the first half, Spanish team opened the second half at amazing pace. At one point, Bidasoa had the five goals advantage. Even though Slavko Goluza's squad came close to equalizing the result in the last minutes of the match, they were not able to take the points on the home court. 

Group B: Porto Sofarma – Meshkov Brest 27:25 (9:15)
Without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the first round was incredible Porto Sofarma that managed to completely turn the match against Meshkov Brest in their favour. Even though Belarusian champions absolutely dominated the first half and had 6 goals advantage on the half-time, the home team showed a different face in the second half. The 46th minute was crucial for Porto as that was the moment when they tied the result. After that, it all went downhill for Meshkov Brest. The home team got in the lead and Meshkov Brest were not able to make a turnover after that. The biggest name in Porto's team was Diogo Branquinho who scored incredible 8 goals for his squad. On the other side, stellar Darko Djukic carried Meshkov Brest through this match with 9 goals. 

Group A: PPD Zagreb – Paris Saint Germain 29:37 (15:19)
Just like Tatran Presov, Croatian champions PPD Zagreb were also unable to win the points on the home court. The French dream team, Paris Saint Germain secured a big victory in Arena Zagreb. Right at the start of the match, the guests took the lead and showed that they were set on taking points that night. At the end of the first half they were up by 4 goals and that advantage was only getting bigger in the second half. Kim Ekdahl du Rietz netted 7 times for guest while Sander Sagosen scored 6 goals. The best scorers in PPD Zagreb's squad were Zlatko Horvat and Damir Bicanic, both with 6 goals. 

Group B: Telekom Veszprem – Motor Zaporozhye 40:28 (17:13)
The weekend's last match in Group B has brought us many excitement. Hungarian champions Telekom Veszprem finished the clash between two SEHA – Gazprom League participants in a victorious way. The home court and amazing atmosphere in Veszprem Arena gave them additional motive and strength. The guests from Ukraine showed good skills on the court, but didn't manage to take poins in their first away appearance. Dragan Gajic and Kent Robin Tonnesen were the best scorers in the winning team with six goals each. On the other side, Aidenas Malashinskas and Barys Pukhouski also netted six times each for the guest team.

Group C: Eurofarm Rabotnik – Sporting CP 29:30 (16:15)
Eurofarm Rabotnik did not have much luck on the home court as Portugese Sporting CP managed to take the points in a very tough match. Pride of Bitola played great in the first half and secured advantage on the half-time. But, at the start of the second half the guests managed to tie and took over the lead. Sporting controlled the play completely in the second half. Valetin Marian Ghionea was the first name in the guest's squad with unbelievable 10 goals. Lovro Jotic and Vladislav Ostroushko netted 5 times each for the home team.