Constanta take the leadArticle
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The Romanian side defeated PAOK in Thessaloniki and moved up to the first position of the group.

Constanta take the lead

After the important win in Thessaloniki against PAOK, 30-26 after a 16-12 halftime leda, HCM Constanta took the first place of Group 1 with 6 points from 4 games.

Not according to the rule books...The Romanian champions defeated the Greek top team thanks to their more experience. It was a game that will remain a memorable occasion for many reasons. PAOK (or any other handball team) played for the first time ever in the biggest PAOK sports hall with a capacity of 8,000. Also, this was the first time ever to play at home in the group stage of the Champions League.

Accordingly, the players were nervous and did not manage to play at their best level. The game was attended by 1,500 spectators including also 200 fans of HCM Constanta.  

After a balanced 27 minutes (12-12), Constanta had a 5-0 run and took a 12-17 lead already by the 32nd minute.  

The difference remained until the 39th minute (16-21) when PAOK could come back into the game and reduce it to 20-22 (42’).

In the 48th minute the score was 23-25, but the many mistakes committed in offence by PAOK gave an opportunity to the Romanians win the game by four goals.

The best Constanta player was Csepregi with 10 goals; PAOK’s most prolific scorer was Riganas with 8 and Evangelidis with 7 goals. These two Greek players were the only threat for Constanta.

In fact, PAOK performed badly in attack with only 4 goals in the last 15 minutes of the game, which meant the 4th defeat of PAOK and the 3rd win of HCM Constanta in the group.

An unfortunate incident also belongs to the chronicle of the game: the right winger of Constanta was injured with two minutes from the end. Laurentiu Toma collided with the goalkeeper of PAOK Kostas Gourgoumis who probably broke a rib and must have a rest fro about a month.

The other 2 games of the group, Pick Szeged vs Pevafersa Valladolid and Montpellier vs Chehovskie will be played on Sunday.

TEXT: Konstantinos Chatzidimitriou