In the first quarter-final leg of the matchup between Eurofarm Pelister and Tatran Presov, Macedonians managed to secure a comfortable 37:29 win at home led by Nenad Kosteski who went off scoring ten goals, while Sebastian Henneberg added eight from just as many attempts.
Hosts opened the match in a much better way widening the gap to five goals with just under 10 minutes on the clock (8:3). Sebastian Henneberg ended up leading them offensively in the first scoring five goals, while Nenad Kosteski added four. Later on, however, guests from Slovakia managed to find a way to get back into this one slowing Eurofarm down and finding gaps in the home-team defense much more effectively. Viacheslav Kasatkin was leading them with five goals in the first 30 minutes, while Erik Fenar and Nikola Ivanovic added three each. At the end of the first half the scoreboard was saying 20:17, and considering the fact that guests allowed Pelister only ten goals in the final 20 minutes of the first, optimism was there for Marek Gernat and his guys as they’ve obviously managed to find a way to slow Macedonians down defensively.
Ivanovic and Kasatkin kept on dictating the offensive tempo for the guests in the second, helping their team narrow the gap to only two goals (21:19) five minutes into the second. Midway through the second, Eurofarm’s defense was looking rock-solid again, as Macedonians once again opened the gap to five goals (28:23) sealing the deal when it comes to the winner of this first-leg quarter-final encounter. Tatran managed to make another push, again narrowing the gap to only -3, but they weren’t able to hold that tempo allowing the hosts to widen the gap to +8 before the final buzzer. In the end 37:29 win for the hosts who were today offensively led by Nenad Kosteski and his 10 goals, while Sebastain Henneberg added eight from just as many attempts. Viacheslav Kasatkin scored nine for Tatran, while Igor Chupryna grabbed 13 saves.
The second leg will be played next Monday in Presov, with Marek Gernat and his guys facing a tough challenge aiming to overcome the deficit and book a spot in the SEHA – Gazprom League final tournament.
Aleksandar Jovic, Eurofarm Pelister coach:
We’ve delivered a great defensive performance today, displayed excellent team spirit taking a well-deserved win in the end. Congrats to my players, and big thanks to our fans. I really love this club and this city, and I have to say we’ll really need pur fans by our side in these final two months of the season. Only together we can do great things and win titles. I promise we’ll fight like this every time we’re out there.
Sebastian Henneberg, Eurofarm Pelister player:
Great handball and a fantastic win which helped us make a big step towards reaching the next round. We’ve opened the match really well scoring many easy goals, and that’s how we have to play going forward.
Marek Gernat, Tatran Presov coach:
We’re dealing with a lot of injury problems right now, and in such a state it is hard to compete against a team like Eurofarm throughout the full course of the game. Our defense was experiencing a lot of problems in the beginning, and in the end we were looking really tired. The final goal difference is very big, and it will be a hard task for us in Slovakia to try and overcome it.
Viacheslav Kasatkin, Tatran Presov player:
Sebastian Henneberg was great tonight, we have had a lot of problems trying to stop him and he, in the end, proved to be the key for Eurofarm, in my opinion. The team is dealing with a lot of fatigue and injuries at the moment, and as coach said - in such state it is really hard to compete against quality teams like Eurofarm.