Veszprem keep their clean record, Metalurg and KIF on the runArticle
«Go back

ROUND REVIEW: Hungarian champions one of three teams with four victories in four matches, as Macedonian and Danish runners-up take crucial wins.

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

Veszprem keep their clean record, Metalurg and KIF on the run

After four rounds the wheat in the VELUX EHF Champions league is starting to be separated from the chuff. Three teams including Sunday’s winner Veszprem have a clear record, three teams still have no point on their account.

Aside a 29:33 home defeat of PSG Handball against Barcelona in the Match of the Week and Veszprem’s away win at Zagreb, Metalurg (against Minsk) and KIF (against Plock) took crucial victories regarding the Last 16. Porto won their premiere match in the Group Phase against Dunkerque – completing the black Sunday for French teams.

All fans now have some time to take a deep breath, while the players will leave to their national teams in the next week. Round 5 of the Group Phase will by played between 13 and 17 November.

Group A:

HC Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO) vs. MKB-MVM Veszprem (HUN) 22:33 (8:15)

Veszprem again were unstoppable and hungry for another double figured result after beating Zaporozhye the week before. Though the rejuvenated Zagreb squad stood strong, the Croats were chanceless against the brilliant defence performance of the Hungarians, who allowed the host only eight goals before the break – especially as Croatian international Mirko Alilovic had shut up his shop.

Remaining on four points Zagreb were passed by Rhein Neckar Löwen, but still have their fate in their hands against other opponents regarding the Last 16.

Veszprem took the control very early by forging ahead to a commanding intermediate score of 11:4 only 19 minutes in the game. Boosted by the saves of Alilovic and the overall six goals of top scorer Laszlo Nagy (Ilic, Sulic and Ivancsik scored five times each), the first double figured distance was secured at 24:14 with 18 minutes remaining.

And even as Veszprem started their big rotation and decelerated, Zagreb lacked the means to decrease the gap. Best scorer for the host was Stipe Mandalinic with six goals.

After the match Veszprem’s coach Carlos Ortega was very satisfied. “We have played very good in defence and we had an impressive Mirko Alilovic today. Of course, good defence made it easier for us to score some fast break goals and to enlarge the gap. Zagreb have a good young team but they have to work a lot in order to become the best. '”

Zagreb's coach Boris Dvorsek was not so happy: '”Veszprem's defence has decided the match. When they play on such a high level it is hard for us to compete, we don’t have such a good team. Mirko Alilovic was outstanding and our young players have had much respect for him. Congrats to Veszprem and I believe they can make it to Cologne.'”

The praised Mirko Alilovic added: “Zagreb definitely have potential, I know many of these players from our national team and I really believe they can become one of the best.'”

Group B:

FC Porto Vitalis (POR) vs. Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) 22:21 (13:11)

The final attack brought the first points to Porto. Thanks to a goal in the dying minute, the Portuguese champions made their fans jump for joy against Dunkerque, still on zero points on the bottom of the rankiing. The whole 60 minutes both teams were on the edge, but the French runners-up missed too many chances including five penalty shots what cost them the victory.

Though they were hit by some injuries, Dunkerque had the better start, but when the Porto engine had reached its right temperature, the match turned around. But the host could not manage to cast off their opponents until the final whistle. Tiago Rocha was top scorer by six goals for the victors, who – in contrast to the French team – still can hope for clinching the berth for the Last 16.

KIF Kolding Kobenhavn (DEN) vs. Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 23:22 (13:11)

Six goals of Bo Spellerberg and five goals each of Lasse Andersson and Albert Rocas were some of the keys for the highly crucial but close KIF home victory, others were the performance of goalkeeper Kasper Hvidt and the final and decisive last strike of defence specialist Lars Jörgensen.

Thanks to this win, the Danes are on clear course towards the Last 16 by having six points on their account equal with THW Kiel after their yesterday’s defeat against table topper Kielce.

After their unlucky defeats against Kielce and Kiel, Wisla Plock remained with nothing in their hands for the third time and still only have two points on their tally.

Experienced Jörgensen decided the match with the final goal only a few seconds before the end, while even seven goals of VELUX EHF Champions League top scorer Valentin Ghionea had not been enough for the Polish runners-up.

Talented Lasse Andersson was the key for the strong KIF start, leading by 7:3. But the experienced Poles found the right means later to equalize at 9:9, before Kolding-Kobenhavn again improved to be in lead at the break.

The full second half was a thrilling battle of two equal teams. By equalising again at 20:20 and 22:22 Plock were close to turn the match around, but in the end, they missed too many chances against KIF goalkeeper Kasper Hvidt.

Group C:

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs. HC Dinamo Minsk (BLR) 33:29 (19:17)

Metalurg Skopje have recovered perfectly from the clash at Barcelona the round before. Due to their deserved win against Minsk – their third victory in four matches – they top their city rivals Vardar again and rank second one point below Barcelona, but already three ahead of Paris St. Germain.

Usually defence and goalkeeping are Metalurg’s strengths, but against Minsk it was the attack, as goalkeeper Darko Stanic did not have his best day and was replaced very early. The starting period was equal with changing leads. After the 9:11 Metalurg improved, equalized at 14:14 and took a close 19:17 lead to the dressing room.

Led by back court ace Naumce Mojsovski (top scorer by seven goals) and Ojlevski, Skopje forged ahead to 24:20 – but still nothing was decided, as Minsk stroke back for 25:25. But in the end, experienced Renato Vugrinec (six goals in total) decided then match by scoring the 30:27. Best Minsk shooter was Dziannis Rutenka with seven goals. Russian international Pawel Atman hit the net six times against his former club.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br