Record-breaking Veszprem follow PPD Zagreb to the final
Defending champions score 41 goals to extend their winning streak at Zadar.
HC Telekom Veszprem kept all their records at SEHA Final 4 tournaments: The Hungarian record champions never lost any semi-final of the competition, never lost any match at Zadar and qualified for their sixth SEHA – Gazprom League final in their sixth participation.
Besides, the team of head coach Momir Ilic became the first ever in eleven final tournaments to score more than 40 goals in a single match – and they broke their own record with the biggest gap in any SEHA Final 4 matches: Final 4 debutants HC Eurofarm Pelister were chanceless against Veszprem’s goal machines, who finally took a 41:27 (24:16) victory in the second semi-final at Zadar on Friday night. On Sunday, Telekom Veszprem has the same final ahead as last year – facing PPD Zagreb for the trophy, while Eurofarm Pelister duel with Nexe in the bronze final match.
HC Telekom Veszprem (HUN) vs Eurofarm Pelister (MKD) 41:27 (24:16)
The first half had already been a pure goal-fest with 40 strikes in 30 minutes. Both sides only focused on attack, rather than on defence. Eurofarm Pelister tried to surprise Veszprem in the opening minutes with a 7-against-6 in attack, but after the Macedonian side received two suspensions, the defending champions troke back, punishing every Pelister Eurofarm mistake by counter-attack strikes or empty-net goals.
Boosted by their fast wings Mikita Vailupau and Manuel Strlek, Veszprem extended the gap easily goal by goal from 12:8 to 16:10 and the halftime score of 24:16.
“I am satisfied with the fact that we scored 24 goals, but I am not satisfied with conceding 16 goals,” said Veszprem coach Momir Ilic in the halftime interview, while his counterpart Lars Walther said: “They punished us, we lost confidence and mainly we stopped running back in defence.”
But Veszprem’s hunger for goals was not stilled, in contrast: in the 34th minute, Vailupau netted for the first double-figured gap at 27:17, and his side easily pulled ahead to constantly more than 13 goals.
Finally, Veszprem broke their own record with the biggest victory at SEHA Final 4 tournaments by a 41:27 win, previously the biggest gap was eleven goals in the 2015 final against Meshkov Brest (32:21). And no team before had scored more than 40 goals in a single match, the old record was Zagreb’s 39 strikes in last year’s semi-final against Brest (39:38), but they even needed a penalty shoot-out for this number of strikes. Egyptian new arrival Yehia Elderaa netted in for the historic 40th goal at the score of 40:24. Finally, four Veszprem players had scored six or more goals, topped by Vailupau with eight strikes.
Photo credit: kolektiffimages