Kolding and Magdeburg win top duelsArticle
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Men’s EHF Cup: Hard times for Płock after defeat at Maribor – Scandinavian duel of Round 3 ends with a draw

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Kolding and Magdeburg win top duels

After the victories of Göppingen and La Rioja in Group A on Saturday, SC Magdeburg (at Nantes) and KIF Kolding (on home ground against Rhein Neckar Löwen) have won the top duels on Sunday and remain with a 100 clear record.

At the “halftime” of the Men’s EHF Group Phase both are on a very good way for the quarter-finals. The Scandinavian duel of Elverum and Holstebro ended with a draw, while one of the top contendera Orlen Wisła Płock lost for the second straight time, making Maribor a candidate for the knock-out stage.

Group B:

KIF Kolding (DEN) vs. Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) 25:23 (13:11)

KIF Kolding have won the first top encounter and remain the only unbeaten team in Group B. After highly close 60 minutes with constantly changing leads, the Danes were the stronger team in the final stages. Löwen had the better start, but from the 10:10 on, KIF took the control in a fight on eye level.

After the close halftime lead, the in total six goals of Lasse Boesen and the more saves of Kasper Hvidt compared to his Danish country-fellow Niklas Landin in the Löwen goal decided the match, which had been equal until the score of 21:21, before Kolding scored twice by Kim Andersson and Cyril Viudes though they were in a one-man-disadvantage.

Best Löwen scorer was Alexander Petersson, who also scored six times. “We fought until the end, but KIF were the luckier and in the final stages also the better team,” said Löwen coach Guðmundur Guðmundsson.

Group C:

Elverum Handball Herrer (NOR) vs. Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN) 28:28 (16:15)

Tvis Holstebro remain unbeaten, but gave a victory from their hands, while Elverum won their first point in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup. The Danish side tied for the second time in their third match after the opening draw against Maribor. Iso Slujters und Magnus Gullerud were the Elverum heroes, as they scored the decisive goals in the final minute to equalize after the Norwegians had trailed by 26:28.

The game was on the edge the whole time, the biggest gap of all were two goals, as no team could forge ahead decisively. After the 25:25 Holstebro scored twice, but finally the Elverum catch-up chase was successful and the hosts took a deserved draw. Even two time-outs – each by every team – in the last minute did not bring the winner’s goal. Top scorers were Michael Nielsen (Holstebro) with nine goals, followed by Magnus Gunnerud (Elverum) by eight.

RK Maribor Branik (SLO) vs. Orlen Wisła Płock (POL) 26:23 (13:13)

Maribor Branik are the new leader in Group C: Surprisingly the Slovenians beat Wisła Płock and take their second straight victory after the opening draw at Holstebro. In contrast to the Polish outfit, who lost for the second straight time after the home defeat against Tvis, Maribor now are a main contender for reaching the quarter-finals. The group is highly close – but the Slovenians are already three points ahead of the “Oilers”.

Płock had the better start, but lost their rhythm completely after the 4:1, as Maribor scored five straight goals. The rest of the first half was highly closed – and the match was equal until the 14:14 right after the break. Then Maribor forged ahead by again four consecutive goals and kept this three or four goal distance until the end. Top scorer Nikola Špelić decided the match by his seventh goal for 25:21. Best Płock scorer was Petar Nenadić, who netted seven times too.

Group D:

HBC Nantes (FRA) vs. SC Magdeburg (GER) 20:27 (8:13)

5000 spectators had hoped for a big win of their team, but HBC Nantes took an unexpected clear defeat in the top duel against the former EHF Champions League winners. While the German team celebrated their third victory in their third match, the Frenchmen were defeated for the first time – a real setback for their hopes to qualify directly for the EHF Cup Finals on home ground. Nantes only can skip the quarter-finals, if they win the group or are among the three best second ranked teams.

Magdeburg played highly concentrated and were backed by goalkeeper Gerrit Ejlers, who saved an overall of twelve shots. After an equal start, the German team improved in defence and allowed Nantes only eight goals in the first 30 minutes.

And it only took only 13 more minutes after the break to decide the intermediately one-sided encounter: In that moment Magdeburg were in lead 21:13. Thanks to the each six goals of Andreas Rojewski  and Yves Grafenhorst, the German outfit were never endangered until the end. Top scorer for Nantes was Valero Rivera with seven goals. Now Magdeburg are clearly in advantage of winning this group.

Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacău (ROU) vs. Besiktas JK (TUR) 26:24 (15:13)

Despite nine goals of top scorer Ramazan Döne, Besiktas Istanbul ended their round trip through Europe without a single point and lost their third straight away match at Bacău – but much closer than the Turks had done before at Magdeburg and at Nantes.

The Romanian hosts took their first points in the Group Phase and have a small glimpse of hope to proceed to the knock-out stage being below Nantes only by two points at “half-time”. Best Bacău scorer was Ionut Ramba by seven goals.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br