Kielce beat Velenje to clinch the top spot in the leagueArticle
«Go back

Polish champions won their first game in Slovenia and completed the clean sweep of the group.

»EHF CL Channel »2012-13 Men's News

Kielce beat Velenje to clinch the top spot in the league

Vive Targi Kielce made history on two accounts in an enthralling atmosphere on Saturday: they won their first game on Slovenian soil and earned the admirable accolade of being the only team to finish the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase with a perfect 10-0 record.

Group C
Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs KS Vive Targi Kielce 25:29 (14:13)

Their fully deserved success at Gorenje Velenje came after a dominant second-half performance highlighting Kielce’s potential to reach the elusive VELUX EHF FINAL4 with the highest ambitions.

The match got off to a fast and furious start with the home side taking a 2:1 lead in the opening 70 seconds. It set the tone to a fascinating first-half battle in which Kielce largely played catch-up, as Gorenje kept nosing ahead with some incisive attacking play.

Both sides played athletic and intelligent handball at either end of the court, as steely defending intertwined with crisp passing and decisive finishing.

A better share of the workload up front allowed the Slovenians to take a slender half-time lead into the locker room, as Klemen Cehte led the way with four goals while Matej Gaber, Fahrudin Melić and Marko Bezjak chipped in with two each.

Þórir Ólafsson and Bartłomiej Tomzak scored seven goals between them for Kielce and their inspired performances constituted a sign of things to come after the break.

The tide turned shortly after the interval as Kielce pulled away and carved out a 19:16 advantage in the 41st minute, their deep roster making the difference in a high-tempo encounter.

Velenje had no reply for the visiting team’s fast breaks and largely uncontested mid-range shots, but the vociferous home fans stood behind their team with unrelenting passion.

The lead swelled to 22:17 midway through the second half and Kielce held firm to refute the home team’s onslaught, maintaining a 24:19 lead with 12 minutes left on the clock.

Velenje tried to launch one last fightback in the closing stages but to no avail, with Kielce proving their credentials as one of the potential surprise packages in the European top flight knockout stages.

Kielce might make another trip to Slovenia very soon, as one of their potential opponents are Celje (others are Montpellier/León and Szeged). Germany as Velenje´s next destination has been confirmed even before the Last 16 draw (Tuesday, 12:30) as they will encounter Flensburg, Kiel or Berlin.

Cehte and Ólafsson finished as the game’s joint top scorers with seven goals apiece.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / br