Madrid close to group victory, as Veszprem failsArticle
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Kielce wins in Hungary, Spaniards still undefeated and Koper ties with Metalurg – a summary of the Saturday’s matches.

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Madrid close to group victory, as Veszprem fails

Thanks to their victory against Bjerringbro Silkeborg and the sensational home defeat of MKB Veszprem against Kielce, Atletico Madrid is close to a victory in the VELUX EHF Champions League “hammer group C”. Also in news, the Balkan duel in Koper became a thriller as Metalurg caught up quickly with three goals in the last three minutes.

Still only 10 of the 16 participants of the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League are known – and the number will not increase after the six matches on Sunday.

Group B:

MKB Veszprem (HUN) vs. Vive Targi Kielce (POL) 21:24 (13:12)

Huge surprise in Veszprem: Thanks Michal Jurecki's 9 goals and goalkeeper Marcus Cleverly's 17 saves, Vive Targi Kielce took an unexpected victory in the lion’s den. It was the second defeat at home for the Hungarian champions, after losing to Berlin – and Veszprem missed the chance for an early qualification for the Last 16. Meanwhile, Kielce took over the third spot by defeating Medvedi and Berlin, who will meet on Sunday for a direct encounter.

Thanks to Jurecki's fourth goal, Kielce extended the gap to 10:6 in minute 19 before the host began to fight back. Veszprem's goalkeeper Nandor Fazekas and Marco Vujin's goals then turned the page and the Hungarian team led 13:12 at the break after a 7:2 series.

They were able to hold onto their lead up until the score of 18:17, but then with four straight goals, Kielce rolled the roller coaster up to a 20:18 lead. Again, three consecutive goals from 21:20 to 23:20 secured a victory for the Poles, who had lost the first game at home 25:29. In the end, Veszprem won the head-to-head match – and is still ahead of Kielce  with two points.

Statements after the match:

Lajos Mocsai, coach MKB Veszprem: Unfortunately we had not been successful, as it was a problem of preparation after the EHF EURO for my players. We could not cope with the Polish defence tactics for a long time – and when we were in lead we could not take the advantage. I understand that the audience was unhappy with the final result, but their reaction was painful for me.

Bogdan Wenta, coach Vive Targi Kielce: It was a great game in a great atmosphere, especially imprinted by our goalkeeper Marcus Cleverly. The match was balanced and the luckier team took the victory. I hope that our injured playmaker Uros Zorman will be back in ten days.

Atletico Madrid (ESP) vs. Bjerringbro Silkeborg (DEN) 31:24 (15:13)

After the surprising Veszprem defeat Atletico Madrid made a huge step to become winner of Group C – but the victory against from Bjerringbro Silkeborg was much harder earned than expected before.

As the Danes still wait for their first point despite a strong game in Madrid, the host remained unbeaten and extended the distance to the Hungarians to four points. Another victory against Berlin in Round 9 would already mean the group victory.

The Danes – led by the EHF EURO heroes Niklas Landin (20 saves in total) and Rasmus Schmidt Lauge in the beginning - surprised the Spaniards by leading 7:4, but then the Atletico engine was in right temperature. Thanks to EHF EURO top scorer Kiril Lazarow and Canellas (both six goals) and goalkeeper Jose Xavier Hombrados (15 saves)  the favourite turned the page already before the break and then sovereign decided the game at the 27:22. Best Bjerringbro scorer was Christiansen with six goals.

Group C:

RK Cimos Koper (SLO) vs. HC Metalurg Skopje (MKD) 22:22 (11:11)

RK Cimos Koper missed a great chance to build a bigger base for the second place in this group – and after this draw both teams remain equal with ten points.

The Slovenian champions were in lead 22:19 three minutes before the end and were absolutely on the winner’s way, as the tactics of Metalurg coach Lino Cervar became perfection. The Macedonians scored three straight goals and their goalkeeper saved two important shots in the dying time. Milorad Krivokapic missed the last chance for the host to take two points from this emotional encounter, which was – like the first match imprinted – by former Cimos Koper goalkeeper Darko Stanic, who saved 13 shots of his former team mates.

Top scorers were Bombac with seven goals for the Slovenians and Markovic scoring six times for Metalurg. Both opponents still have to face Hamburg in their upcoming matches. Aside Koper face Constanta and Metalurg play against Plock.

TEXT: Björn Pazen