Koper, Kobenhavn and Zagreb in the quarter-finalsArticle
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Croats and Danes qualify without problem, whilst Slovenians have a real battle against Kielce.

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Koper, Kobenhavn and Zagreb in the Quarterfinals

Two Quarterfinal debutants and a well known team have made their way to the last stage of the competition before reaching the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne: For the first time in their club history RK Cimos Koper and AG Kobenhavn have qualified for the Quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Champions League. For RK Zagreb it is already the tenth participation in the Round of the last eight teams.

All three clubs will be in Pot 2 at the draw for the Quarterfinals on Tuesday in Vienna (live stream on www.ehfTV.com from 11:30 hrs. local time). This pot will be completed by the winner of the duel Reale Ademar Leon vs. MKB Veszprem.

The only team for Pot1, which is already known, is THW Kiel. This pot will be completed by the winners of the duels HSV Hamburg vs. Füchse Berlin, FC Barcelona Intersport vs. Montpellier Agglomeration and Kadetten Schaffhausen vs. Atletico Madrid.

 

Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League, leg 2:

RK Cimos Koper (SLO) vs. KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) 25:23 (12:13)

First leg: 26:27

Ten months after winning the EHF Challenge Cup RK Cimos Koper have reached the biggest international success in their club’s history: After a thrilling battle against Vive Targi Kielce the Slovenians qualified for the first time ever for the Quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

And Koper are the first Slovenian club to go that far in the EHF Champions League since Pivovarna Lasko Celje in the 2005/2006 season. For Kielce the two goal margin in the end meant the end of their hopes and the second elimination in the Last 16 after 2010 against HSV Hamburg. In the closest possible constellation as the Polish runners-up had won the first leg 27:26. So still no Polish team has reached the Quarterfinals of the EHF Champions league ever in history.

Like last Sunday in Kielce the match was on the edge for 60 minutes. Kielce started better with a 4:1 lead, before Cimos Koper woke up, improved and equalized at 12:12 for the first time in the match.

In the second half Matjaz Brumen, top scorer with in total eight goals, led the Koper matchplay, but it took until the middle of the second half before Koper took the lead, after Kielce had been in good position at 17:14. Two minutes before the end former Koper and now Kielce player Dennis Buntic revived the hopes of the Poles scoring the 23:24 – but despite some Szmal saves in the last three minutes Kielce was not able to equalize again, as Brumen scored the last and decisive 25:23.

Best Kielce scorer was Serbian Rastko Stojkovic with five goals.

RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO) vs. RK Metalurg (MKD) 26:21 (12:10)

First leg: 18:19

After missing the Quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Champions League in the previous two years RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb have made their way among the top 8 teams of this competition. After the close defeat at Skopje last Sunday the team of Ivica Obrvan now found the right means to break through the Macedonian defence in a match, close for nearly 50 minutes.

As Metalurg missed the chance to be the first ever Macedonian club in the EHF Champions League Quarterfinals, Zagreb have a jubilee, as they are Quarterfinalist for the tenth time. In the 2008/2009 season they were eliminated in their last  Quarterfinal by later-on finalist THW Kiel.

Key for the clear opening lead was the strong defence of the host and the much more efficient attack. Especially  top scorer Zlatko Horvat was unstoppable in the very beginning and after his 6:3, Zagreb increased the gap to 11:5 in minute 23, causing a time-out of Metalurg’s former Zagreb coach Lino Cervar. Cheered by a huge crowd of Macedonian spectators and taking the profit from Zagreb mistakes Metalurg reduced to 10:12. And as Petar Angelov saved a last second penalty the result remained in the break.

And despite an early four goal difference Zagreb did not gain enough confidence, but became hectic. By scoring four straight goals Metalurg equalized again at 14:14. And as Skopje goalkeeper Darko Stanic (in total 12 saves) improved and Zarko Markovic set his hammers right in the triangle, the match was absolutely open again.

Seven minutes before the end, when Horvat scored a double strike to 21:17 and Zagreb had a two man advantage, the winner’s way for the Croats was paved. When Zagreb goalkeeper Sego saved a Markovic shot two minutes before the end and Ivano Balic scored the 24:20 in the next attack the game was decided.

AG Kobenhavn (DEN) vs. IK Sävehof (SWE) 26:24 (14:12)

First leg: 34:25

There was no doubt that VELUX EHF Champions League debutant would march through to the Quarterfinals even before the match. The nine goal margin from the first leg was a comfortable cushion for the Danes even though Sävehof stood strong – and stronger than last Sunday – in Denmark. Surprisingly the Swedish champions were ahead clearly in the first 20 minutes, but  a strong performance of goalkeeper Kasper Hvidt and a catch-up chase brought the halftime lead to AGK.

Sävehof remained on eye level in the second half, showing why they had reached the Last 16 as third ranked team in a strong group. But as the host was constantly in lead with two or three goals, coach Magnus Andersson could start rotating his whole team, giving goalkeeper Peter Henriksen his debut on home ground.

Before the match Danish juniors assistant coach Henrik Kronborg was presented as new AGK assistant coach – at the side of Andersson.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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