Win for Metalurg Skopje as they prepare for qualificationArticle
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Metalurg Skopje will meet Alpha Hard HC on 8 September for a place in the VELUX EHF Champions League

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Win for Metalurg Skopje as they prepare for qualification

Metalurg Skopje are the winners of the International handball tournament "Struga 2012" after they defeated the Belarus champion Dinamo Minsk (26:23).

For both teams this was the beginning of their preparation matches for the new season where they will participate in qualification for the VELUX EHF Champions League.

The hero in final game was the goalkeeper of Metalurg, Nikola Mitrevski. He saved 14 shots in the second half, several of them in the last minutes of the game.

In the first half the Belarusians were almost always in front with two or three goals. Metalurg first caught up with them at 5:5 and lead once with 7:6, but Dinamo Minsk went to the break with a one goal advantage (13:12).

In the second half both teams started a real "war". Metalurg first equalized 13:13 in the first minute of the second half and then lead 16:15 in the 34th minute. From that moment on until the end of the game, the Macedonian champions "kept respect" and in the 43 minute Metalurg lead for the first time by three goals (20:17).

“I am happy that we won the tournament and the game. Especially in defence we were really strong. These are the first matches so a lot of things do not work properly. We have some new players who still need to be integrated,” says Lino Chervar, the coach of Metalurg.

The French team from Dunkerque secured the third place with a victory against Meshkov Brest (24:20).

Naumce Mojsovski (Metalurg) has been named best player of the tournament, Nikola Kostovski (Struga) was the best scorer with 23 goals in three matches and Dimitrije Pejanovic (Dinamo Minsk) was named the best goalkeeper.

The two clubs that met in the final, Metalurg and Dinamo Minsk, will try to qualify for the VELUX EHF Champions League on 8 and 9 September.

Metalurg meets Alpha Hard HC (AUT) in the semi-final of their Qualification Tournament. In the other semi-final, Haslum HK (NOR) faces Dinamo Poltava (UKR).

Dinamo Minsk will play a knock-out match against Beshiktas JK (TUR). Minsk has home right in the second leg. The winner of the Qualification Tournament and the Knock-Out match goes to the Group Phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Metalurg kept most of their players from the last season and reinforced the team with Tihomir Doder (middle and right back) and Milan Vucicevic (right back). Only Nikola Stojcevski and Zarko Markovic left the team.

For the upcoming season, Dinamo Minsk made some changes in the squad too. The team signed two new goalkeepers, Dimitrije Pejanović and Vadim Bogdanov. Vasko Ševaljević (24), Mykola Stetsyura , Oleg Skopintsev and Olexander Shevelev also join Dinamo.

This week both teams will play preparation tournaments in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Macedonian champions will play against Zagreb, Gorenje Velenje and the national team of China, while Dinamo Minsk will participate in a tournament in Doboj where they will face Vardar Skopje (MKD), Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) and Barcelona (ESP).

TEXT: Goran Antevski