Gorenje expect "easy match" against CiudadArticle
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The Slovenian derby saw great handball and a dramatic endgame that brought a draw.

Gorenje expect "easy match" against Ciudad

After the European Championship, Gorenje, as many other clubs having national team players, had just a few days for practice and to prepare for the greatest Slovenian handball derby. The opponent was obviously Celje Pivovarna Laško. The warm up for the Main Round of the Champions League couldn`t have been better.

The match brought a "fair fight" / photos by Aljosa VideticAround 1,600 spectators – Rdeča dvorana was full – came to see if Gorenje had any chances against the best Slovenian team ever. The difference after the autumn part of the season was 5 points and Gorenje should have to won to reopen the battle for championship.

The great 5-1 defence and the exceptional goals of Croatian international Drago Vukovič in the 1st half were enough for a 15-13 lead. The first 10 minutes of the second part were almost the same. Gorenje dictated the tempo, but then Celje`s coach Slavko Ivezič took the right decision when he put Russian Eduard Kocharov to defend man to man against Vukovič.

Therefore Gorenje had problems in the attack and Celje took a 22-21 lead. As we have seen in many previous matches, the experience of Celje and also the quality of the payers prevailed and the former European champions took many wins like that.  

But not this time.

Till the end it was a “goal for goal” match with another Croatian player, Alen Blaževič, waking up for the last minutes. He scored 2 goals from 10 meters, Matjaž Mlakar added one for a 27-26 lead just 30 seconds before the end.  

In the last attack of Celje, Gorenje pivot Marko Oštir earned a 2-minute suspension, but the home team’s defence was still strong.

It was Eduard Kocharov to take the responsibility of the last shot, but the young goalie Matevž Skok saved it. The ball fell directly into the hands of Srdjan Trivundza and Skok went out of the 6 meter area to try to stop the Celje player.  

He got a suspension and Kocharov scored from the 7-m.

With 11 seconds left Gorenje had 4 players on court. But then David Špiler and Eduard Kocharov were suspended. In the last second, Drago Vukovič tried to score, but the shot was blocked and the result remained 27-27.  

The fans have seen everything handball can offer. Fair fight, beautiful goals, though defences and dramatic ending. What a great warm-up for Saturday’s Champions League match between Gorenje and Ciudad Real!

Preparing for the "easiest match"

“I am very happy and sad at the same time. We could get 2 points but also lose 2, so I guess it was fair to make a draw with Celje. Every point against them is a great achievement,” said Gorenje coach Ivica Obrvan.

Drago Vukovič, the best scorer of the match with 9 goals added:

“This was a great advertisement for next match against Ciudad Real. I reckon that this is going to be the easiest match of the season, since we have nothing to lose. We can only step on court and play without any pressure trying to show our best. We are all looking forward to play against the European dream team.”

TEXT: Mitja Gavriloski