Historic day for ZaporozhyeArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: Motor celebrate first victory at the VELUX EHF Champions League, while the spectators in Hamburg witness an HSV win with overall 73 goals scored by both teams

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

Historic day for Zaporozhye

Part 2 of Round 2 of the VELUX EHF Champions League took place on Thursday with two matches being played in Charkov and Hamburg.

While Motor Zaporozhye secured their first – and hotly contested  – EHF Champions League victory against Zagreb, the defending champions from Hamburg beat Velenje in a goal-rich encounter 41:32.

Group A:

Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) – RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO) 31:30 (18:15)

It was a day to remember for Motor Zaporozhye: Exactly one week after the Ukrainian champions had taken their first EHF Champions League point with the sensational 31:31-draw against Rhein Neckar Löwen, the first victory in the competition became the next step for the team of head coach Sergej Bebeshko.

But the hosts had to fight until the very dying seconds of the match with only the final shot confirming the winners. Like in their home victory against Celje in Round 1, Zagreb showed a strong performance and huge fighting spirit.

Top scorers of the match were Motor right back Sergej Onufriyenko and his teammate, left back Sergii Burka, who netted seven times each, while Marić, Šebetić, Horvat, Josip Valčić and Mandalinić scored five times each for Zagreb.

Burka also became the hero for Zaporozhye, as he scored the decisive goal some seconds before the end.

Motor had taken an early 7:4 lead, before Zagreb improved, equalised and were in the lead for the first time in the match at 13:12.

This became the wake-up call for the Ukrainians, who scored a 6:1 series to leave Zagreb behind 18:15 at the break.

The Croatian side turned the roller coaster in the opening minutes of the seconds half, scoring four straight goals – and from that moment on the match was on the edge until the final buzzer.

Zagreb led 28:27, before Motor forged ahead to 30:28 – but who thought the match was decided, was wrong, as Šebetić and Horvat managed to equalise right with the start of the final minute – but finally it was Burka who made his team and the spectators in Charkov go crazy.

With three points in their account, Motor have earned more than they expected from the first two matches.

Group D:

HSV Hamburg (GER) – Gorenje Velenje (SLO) 41:32 (21:13)

'Who needs a defence?' was the motto of both teams in a match worth every cent of the admission fee. The spectators in Hamburg saw 73 goals, full speed, brilliant attacking sides – but definitely no defence.

In the end Hamburg took a well-deserved second group phase victory after winning against Naturhouse La Rioja on 21 September, while Velenje remain on two points after the Slovenian side had beaten Halmstad in match one.

“Velenje have high potential. They never stopped fighting regardless the intermediate result," HSV coach Martin Schwalb said. "We conceded too many goals, but our attacking performance was really exciting."

His counterpart, Velenje coach Ivan Vaidl, said: “We have to integrate too many inexperienced players this season - and therefore it is really tough to stand strong against a team like Hamburg.

"In each half we had five weak minutes, which HSV punished consequently. But I hope that my players learnt their lesson."

From the first minute onwards, especially Hamburg fired on all cylinders.

Velenje were on par with the German team until the score stood at 10:8 in favour of the defending champions, then Hamburg started a series of counter attacks to forge ahead to 16:9 and even to 20:10 in the 27th minute.

The Slovenians were looking, as they would run into disaster, but after the break, when HSV lacked concentration in defence, managed to reduce the gap in style.

Goalkeeper Benjamin Buric improved, and the 'Wasps' were only five goals away at 31:26 and just four at 35:31 in the 56th minute – but then the 'Hamburg goal-machine' accelerated again to score a final 6:1 series.

The current VELUX EHF Champions League top scorer Klemen Cehte (Velenje) added six more goals to the 12 he scored against Halmstadt (the same number as Niko Medved), the game's top scorer was HSV's right back Zarko Markovic with seven goals.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts