Drama ends with GOG victoryArticle
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GOG were able to keep one goal until the end after leading by six against Celje.

Another GOG win after drama

Before the start of the Main Round, most people would have said that GOG’s semi-final dreams are impossible. Their opponents in Group 4 were strong teams such as FC Barcelona, 2004 CL winner Celje Pivovarna Lasko and Hungarian champions Pick Szeged.

GOG celebrated their second home winAfter the first half of the Main Round, however, GOG are sharing the first place of the group with Barcelona that the Danes defeated by 35-33 at home in their first match. After a narrow 34-33 away defeat against Pick Szeged –the Danes were even 6 goals up -, GOG clinched another impressive victory on Sunday. The hosts won against Celje by 34-33 after another drama. Once again: GOG were leading by 6 goals already!

Changing leads

The 2,100 spectators in Odense Idrætshal – including around 100 enthusiastic Celje supporters – saw a lively first half where the defences and goalkeepers had considerably worse chances than the attacking players on both sides. The result was many goals and changing lead all the time. One moment GOG were one goal up, the next moment Celje were leading by one or even by two goals. It seemed fair that the first half ended equal, 18-18.

It was obvious that the team that would get their defence together would have a great chance to win. It was the Danish side that managed to stabilise their defence. This paid off almost from the beginning of the second half, and it soon resulted in a three goal lead for GOG at 24-21. This lead was increased to four goals at 27-23 and even to six goals at 30-24. At this point GOG seemed to be on their way to almost crush their Slovenian opponents, but Celje refused to give up and slowly they managed to close the gap towards the end.

The visitors even got as close as only being one goal down at 33-32, but as GOG’s Icelandic playmaker, Snorri Gudjunsson, made it 34-32 with his seventh goal less than a minute to go. The home crowd could celebrate another Champions League victory of their local heroes as Celje´s last goal (34-33) came too late to give the visitors a chance to equalise.

Key: counter attacks

“I don’t think it’s normal for Southern and Central European teams – such as the ones in our group – to run back as fast as they run in counter attacks. This gives an enormous advantage to a team with such a strong counter attack phase as ours. This was undoubtedly the key to our success so far in this competition,” GOG’s right winger, Lasse Svan Hansen, said after the match.

Swedish left winger Fredrik Petersen was the top scorer of GOG with 10 goals, while another left winger – Russian international Eduard Koksarov – scored 11 goals for Celje. The Slovenians are now pretty far from the first place that means semi-finals.

Celje only have two points from their first three matches, while GOG and Barcelona share the first place with four points each.

TEXT: Peter Bruun