St. Petersburg, Celje and Belgrade celebrate first victoriesArticle
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Barcelona highly close to a home ground disaster against Minsk, while Chambéry remain with zero points and Kielce keep their clean record.

»EHF CL Channel »2012-13 Men's News

St. Petersburg, Celje and Belgrade celebrate first victories

Highly lucky FC Barcelona Intersport and dominant Vive Targi Kielce have kept their clear record after three Group Matches of the VELUX EHF Champions League. On the other hand St. Petersburg and Partizan Beograd made it to their first wins of this season. Surprisingly French runners-up Chambéry remain on the bottom of their group, still without a point. Saturday’s most unlucky loser were Dinamo Minsk, as the Belarusians had been in lead for 53 minutes at Barca and then were beaten by one goal.

Group A:
RK Partizan Beograd (SRB) vs. Reale Ademar León (ESP) 33:31 (17:15)

They will cut out today’s VELUX EHF Champions League table, as Partizan Beograd did not only win their first Group Phase match after eight straight defeats since October 2011, but also rank ahead big Montpellier after beating Ademar León.

Eight goals of  Nemanja Ilić and seven strikes of Uroš Mitrović paved the way to this victory, which give Partizan all chances to hope for the Last 16, as León remained with the same number of points on their account. The Spaniards lost despite eleven goals of brilliant Raul Campos.

Thanks to the support from the stands in Niš, Partizan started by a 5:2 lead and remained with this distance until the break. In the crucial stage after the break goalkeeper Dejan Vašić stood like a tower of power, saving eight shots in 18 minutes. His team went away to 25:22, but León did not surrender and were close to turn the match at 31:30 three minutes before the end. But when Nenad Maksić scored the 32:30, the big victory party was about to start.

Group B:
RK Pivovarna Laško Celje (SLO) vs. Sävehof IK (SWE) 31:25 (17:14)

RK Celje are back on track, fighting for the Last 16 spot. The Slovenian runners-up took their first victory though they had to replace five players and are equal in points with their Swedish opponents now. Key for this success were the goalkeeper Matevž Skok, who saved 17 shots, and Gašper Marguč, who scored 9 goals.

Sävehof were only once in lead – at the initial 1:0. Then Celje started their engines, increasing the gap to 11:5 and later-on 16:10.

And after the break the host even had not been shocked by the red card against Vid Poteko and forged ahead to 25:18 thanks to the goals of  Marguč and Sebastian Skube. The fate of Sävehof and their top scorer Nielsen (five goals) had been sealed.

"We are very sad that we couldn’t keep the pace with the home team which did an excellent job. They played great from the start and they had fantastic defense and goalkeepers. We were behind all the time and we had to chase the home team, but we weren’t able to catch them up to and Celje deserved to win this match," Sävehof coach Magnus Johansson said.

"It was our great defense which was the key to this victory together with both goalkeepers. We still had some problems in our game, but after this victory we can breathe a little bit easier and can play in a more relaxed way. Today we also had some important goals from wing positions which we have missed in the first two rounds, and at the and all together brought this final result," Vladan Matič, Celje coach stated.

Group C:
St. Petersburg HC (RUS) vs. Chambéry Savoie (FRA) 31:27 (19:12)

While the downswing of the French runners-up Chambéry continues, St. Petersburg have new hopes for reaching the Last 16 thanks to this victory in the “do-or-die” match of two teams which had zero points on their account before this duel. And the final result does not even reflect the dominance of St. Petersburg, as the Russians were ahead by nine goals at 26:17 in minute 44. Knowing that they have sealed the deal, they decelerated, while chanceless Chambery could reduce the gap to only for goals.

Despite ten goals of Edin Basić and some brilliant saves of Cyril Dumoulin, Chambéry were far below their opponent, having the same problems as in their defeats against Bjerringbro and Sävehof. St. Petersburg improved completely compared to their clear home defeat against Kielce in Round 2, forging ahead minute by minute and deciding the encounter already by their seven goal margin at the break.

Vive Targi Kielce (POL) vs. Gorenje Velenje (SLO) 30:24 (13:12)

Vive Targi Kielce have broken their Slovenian curse: After the Polish champions had been eliminated by Cimos Koper in the Last 16 of the 2011/12 season of the VELUX EHF Champions League they now took revenge against Koper’s successor as Slovenian champions. Thanks to their clean record of three victories Kielce top the table of this group, while Velenje remain with two points.

"I admit that the Velenje surprised us a little, as we had problems with their counter-attacks. During the break, we talked and learned the lessons. Then we played a very solid defense. And the bigger luck was on our side today," Bogdan Wenta, coach Kielce said.

In contrast to both previous games it was not former Velenje player Ivan Čupić who was the top scorer for Kielce, but Michał Jurecki, hitting the net eight times. Kielce’s Slovenian international Uroš Zorman remained without a goal against his country-fellows.

Backed by the counter-attack goals of their top scorer Fahrudin Melić (in total nine strikes) Velenje was on an equal level until the break. Then Kielce coach Bogdan Wenta seemed to have found the right word, as his team increased the gap, despite still having some problems in defence. But they took control over Velenje and had not been endangered until the final whistle.

"When a team like Kielce have a five to six goals advantage it is hard to catch up to them," Branko Tamše, coach Velenje admitted.
Luka Debelšek, player Velenje added: "In the second half we made too many mistakes and Vive took a safe advantage. We hope for the rematch and I am sure we can play better and fight for the points."
"We watched Velenje’s previous matches and we knew that they play really well. We are pleased with the victory but
we have tough away games ahead and we will fight for more points," Sławomir Szmal, the goalkeeper of Kielce said.

Group D:
FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) vs. HC Dinamo Minsk (BLR) 25:24 (12:13)

53 minutes FC Barcelona Intersport were below the highly strong Belarusians, then in the dying seconds of the match they cheated the gallows to win their third straight match in this VELUX EHF Champions League season. Juanin Garcia scored the decisive final goal, while goalkeeper Danijel Šarić saved the final Minsk shot to gain two lucky points.

Barcelona had been highly close to be defeated for the first time by the outstanding Dinamo defence. Barca played nervous, caused a big number of mistakes and Minsk took the advantage to march ahead to 13:9, increasing the distance even to six goals in the middle of the second half (20:14).

But backed by the great Šarić saves and a strong performance of Sarmiento in the final stage of the match the Catalans fought back, equalised for the firsat time since minute six by 22:22. The final seconds were a thriller: Minsk in attack at 24:24, but Šarić saves the shot, Juanin Garcia running, scoring – and then celebrating!

Top scorer for unlucky Dinamo team was Ostroushko with five goals, as Daniel Sarmiento scored four times. And also the brothers duel was – in this case expectedly – won by Siarhei Rutenka, netting three times, while his brother Dziannis only scored once.

Minsk remain with one point, while Barca have the optimum of six after three matches.

TEXT: Björn Pazen