First defeat for KielceArticle
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Barcelona, Veszprém and Flensburg made a big step towards the quarter-finals by winning away, while Madrid tie with Berlin

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First defeat for Kielce

After Medvedi, Metalurg and Hamburg had started their last 16 campaign in the VELUX EHF Champions League successfully, the first leg round was completed on Sunday. Thanks to their away victories, Barcelona, Veszprém and Flensburg made huge steps to the next round. Madrid tied with Berlin, and Szeged were the only team to celebrate a home victory on Sunday as they narrowly beat the group phase winners from Kielce.

Last 16, first leg:

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) vs FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) 26:32 (12:15)

A sold out JYSK Arena in Silkeborg supported Bjerringbro-Silkeborg in their first ever last 16 match fight of the VELUX EHF Champions League against the seven times champions FC Barcelona. The hosts tried their best, but at the end Barcelona were too strong and virtually paved the way to the quarter-finals.

FC Barcelona started well in defence, but the Danes were able to take a 5:3 lead. Then the match was equal until the 11:11. Three goals of Danish player Jesper Nøddesbo made Barca forge ahead to a 15:12 halftime lead.

After the break Bjerringbro tried hard to equalize, but after good saves by Danijel Šarić and good offensive actions by Siarhei Rutenka, the Spanish outfit extended the gap to 21:17 in minute 40 and 24:18 in minute 45.

But still the resistance of the host had not been broken. Bjerringbro came closer to 23:25 by three counter attacks and the saves of goalkeeper Yannick Green. Finally the match was decided at 29:26, with Barcelona even adding three more goals on their tally in the last minutes.

For Barcelona coach Xavier Pascual it was “a very tough game for us to win, and I think the result lies a bit. Six goals are a lot for us by looking at the game. I’m very satisfied with the performance of our team because it was a really difficult game for us. In Barcelona it will be difficult too, as six goals do not mean a final decision. As Bjerringbro-Silkeborg is a good team it is important for us to stay concentrated.”

Carsten Albrektsen, coach of Bjerringbro-Silkeborg said: “I think we did a good game. We are up against one of the best teams in Europe and we tried to catch our little chance, and we very close. I don’t think we deserved to lose by six goals. The team played well, and I think one of the big differences is the experience of the teams.” Also Nøddesbo saw “a very tough game. We had to run a lot to keep up with Bjerringbro-Silkeborg. I think we did this very well.”

Reale Ademar León (ESP) vs MKB Veszprém KC (HUN) 20:23 (8:11)

Thanks to their second victory on Spanish ground in this season, MKB Veszprém are close to end their Spanish curse. The Hungarian champions had been eliminated four straight times by Spanish teams in the previous seasons of the VELUX EHF Champions League. But the close away victory in León is a perfect base for taking revenge, as MKB had failed against Ademar in the last 16 of the 2011/12 season.

The rejuvenated team from León – boosted by their spectators – showed a strong match and were even close to turn the match around after the break. The first half was a kind of roller coaster: First the visitors were in lead by 6:4, then León equalized at 7:7, before Veszprém forged ahead to 11:8.

After the 12:14, León improved at defence and took the lead at 15:13. From that moment on, the match was completely equal (17:17 and 19:19) with an intermediate lead of hosts, before Chema Rodriguez and Péter Gulyás decided the game with a 4:1 series for Veszprém.

Spanish Veszprém coach Carlos Ortega was really amazed by the victory: “It was a really difficult job for us to win at León. Our defence and goalkeeping were ok, but we lacked concentration in attack. I am happy that we could turn the match around in the end.”

León coach Manuel Cadenas praised his team: “We fought until the very last second and we showed the best defence performances of the whole season. But we faced a team with an even better defence.”

Former Barca player László Nagy was the best scorer with seven goals, Jose Camillo scored five times for León.

Pick Szeged (HUN) vs. KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) 26:25 (15:14)

After ten victories in the group phase, Vive Targi Kielce were defeated for the first time in this season. But despite the loss, the Polish champions have still good chances to proceed to the quarter-finals for the first time.

In a match on eye level, Pick were in lead from minute ten on, but could not outdistance their opponent. The match was full of fight and tension and imprinted by the defence sides.

Thanks to their goalkeeper Roland Mikler, Szeged defended their lead until the end – but only once had reached a margin of three goals, five minutes before the end, when the score was 26:23. But by scoring the last two goals, Kielce have a good base for the rematch.

“I am very happy that we lost only by one goal. The last five minutes were our lucky time, but finally we could not win. Pick Szeged are a very strong team,” Vive Targi coach Bogdan Wenta said.

His Pick counterpart László Skaliczki not only praised goalkeeper Mikler, but his whole team. “We found the places to score goals and I am satisfied with our fast-breaks. The performance of our goalkeeper was outstanding and we could find the right solutions. In the last five minutes Kielce took the risk and they could decrease the gap,” Skaliczki commented.

For Kielce player Þórir Ólafsson the match was “hot and difficult". "We have to analyse this game, and then we will be ready for the second match in Kielce," the Icelandic winger stated.

“I am a little bit sad because of the last five minutes, but I think that in Kielce a draw will be enough for us. I hope that we can make our dreams come true. Before the match I was starring at the tribunes and it was fantastic to see so many people there,” team captain of Pick Szeged Attila Vadkerti said.

Top scorer of the match was Rajko Prodanović (Szeged) with six goals, his Serbian country-fellow on Kielce side, Rastko Stojković, scored four times.

BM Atlético Madrid (ESP) vs Füchse Berlin (GER) 29:29 (13:10)

With their first ever draw on Spanish ground in their club history Füchse can hope for the quarter-finals. On the other hand, Atlético have to improve next Sunday to still be in the race for their fourth ever participation at the VELUX EHF FINAL 4 in Cologne.

Even the injury of playmaker Bartłomiej Jaszka (appendix operation) did not stop the German team to play a brave match in Vistalegre. Jaszka’s replacement, Spanish Iker Romero, did a good job, becoming top scorer of his team with seven goals.

In the opening stage Norwegian Magnus Dahl in Madrid´s goal was the key to success for the hosts – but both sides caused a huge number of mistakes in attack. Füchse missed two penalty shots and several more 100 per cent chances, the consequence: Madrid extended the gap to 8:4 and nearly kept this distance until the halftime whistle.

But the “Foxes” improved after the break, taking the lead for the first time at 20:19. Intermediately Berlin were away by three goals at 26:23. Thanks to a brilliant catch-up chase and cheered by their spectators Madrid took a well-deserved draw – although they gave a victory from their hands, as they were away by 29:27, before Berlin stroke twice.

Ioan Cañellas scored nine times for the hosts, and goalkeeper Jose Javier Hombrados had returned after his five month injury break.

The rematch of this encounter will be the Match of the Week in the second Last 16 leg.

Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 25:28 (14:16)

Like Hamburg, like Flensburg – both German sides took away victories in Slovenia and now have best chances to proceed to the quarter-finals. Match winner for Flensburg was goalkeeper Mathias Anderson by 17 saves. The guest team were in lead most of the time and could count on their “joker” Ólafur Gustafsson, who became top scorer with seven goals, as Matej Gaber netted in nine times for Velenje.

The host started better and it took until the middle of the first half, before Flensburg took the lead for the first time at 11:10. And the halftime result could even have been clearer than 16:14, but the German side missed some good chances.

After the break Velenje tried everything to equalize, but could not achieve it. In contrast, the 20:16 was the first four goal lead of Flensburg – and SG even extended the gap to a commanding 23:18. In the final minutes, Velenje could reduce to three goals, but were never able to endanger the two times EHF Champions League finallist.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br