Červar faces former assistant GolužaArticle
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The clash between Metalurg Skopje and Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb saw a new chapter in the long history between the coaches

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Červar faces former assistant Goluža

It was not only the match between two VELUX EHF Champions League participants - on one side of the bench was Lino Červar, and on the other, Slavko Goluža. The game between teacher and student ended with triumph for the elder.

Leading Metalurg Skopje, Lino Červar again gave a lesson to his former player and assistant coach in the Croatian national team. The big game in the regional SEHA League Metalurg’s way, as the Macedonian champions beat Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb 33:26.

Not only did they win by seven goals, Metalurg had at one point an 11 goal lead, all of this without one of their best players, in playmaker Naumče Mojsovski.

Despite the lack of drama in the game, the meeting of Lino Červar, long time coach of Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb, and Goluža was a player in the national team of Croatia, and assistant coach in the national team, whiles Lino was head coach, was very emotional.

Metalurg and Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb played each other last year in the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16, with the Croatian Champions progressing to the next round after win at home 26:21, following the first match in Skopje, which was 19:18 to Metalurg. However, Ivica Obrvan was the coach of Zagreb at the time.

Both teams are part of SEHA league, and they are only teams from SEHA playing in Group Phase of VELUX EHF Champions League. After four rounds, Metalurg Skopje together with KS Vive targi Kielce are undefeated in group C, with the maximum 8 points.

Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb is in the finely balanced Group D with 3 points, alongside Dinamo Minsk, both have just one point more than Kadetten Schaffhausen and Pick Szeged.

“Games between Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb and Metalurg Skopje in recent years are always interesting. For us this was a chance to demonstrate out current strength and good form. When you win you have to be modest in these statements. I respect Goluža, and never underestimate him.

"We were better in this game, we deserved the victory, played wiser, more modern and we knew how to use the opponent's mistakes. At the beginning of the season I said that most important for us is to reach the Last 16 in the Champions League. The SEHA League is used as preparation, but here we wanted to show that we have quality,” explained Lino Červar for ehfCL.com.

Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb have to realise that they were comprehensively beaten. The team is a mixture of youth and more experienced players, and the results will eventually come.

“Metalurg was the better team in every part of the game, and it was reflected in the final result. I am quite pleased from first half, but the second was a complete failure. I expected that there will come a time when you fall, but I did not expect that it would be so steep,” said Goluža for Croatian media.

He was pleased by the performances of Luke Stepančić and Stipe Mandalinić.

“Both played aggressively, and kept us in the match for a long time. The moment when the Macedonians isolated Stepachic is when we stopped being dangerous. I'd say that's when we fell apart,” said Goluža

The next three matches in the VELUX EHF Champions League for both teams will determine the chances of making the Last 16. Metalurg have two matches with KS Vive Targi Kielce, which should decide which team will be in first place in the group stage. Zagreb has two matches against Füchse Berlin, and will then travel to Szeged, Hungary.

“These are the three toughest matches for us. Not just KS Vive Targi Kielce, but Chambéry as well, as they come with a complete squad. Our main goal is a place in the last 16, the position in the group will be clearer after these three games,” says Červar.

He remains hungry for wins and new conquests.

“You always have to fight, to prove yourselves. Only then will you have the results. I am constantly telling my players this. After three years, I think we set a good foundation in the club and now all think differently. Work brings results, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but there is always a result” says Červar.

TEXT: Goran Antevski / cor