Metalurg take part two with second half blitzArticle
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MATCH OF THE WEEK REPORT: The 'away' side upset favourites Vardar to take a huge step towards the Last 16

Metalurg take part two with second half blitz

The second Skopje derby in the VELUX EHF Champions League brought another remarkable game in the "Boris Trajkovski" hall.

HC Metalurg forced a huge turnaround in the first 15 minutes of the second half to break Vardar and celebrate a 26:18 (10:12) win in Group C.

With this triumph Metalurg jump to second place in Group C with eight points, one more than PSG and two ahead of Vardar.

Metalurg needed just 15 minutes in second half to show their strength and potential and reminisced old memories from last season when the Macedonian team had one of the strongest defences in the competition. The guests went on a 7:1 run and with a lead of 18:13, had done more than enough to win.

There was excellent support from their "second goalkeeper", Rade Mijatovic, with eight saves in 17 minutes and finished match with 11 saves in total.

"We entered this game much more relaxed, even though we know what atmosphere to expect. Once more we have shown that no one should write anyone else off.

"If we lacked enthusiasm and spirit in the first game, we showed more than enough this time. We were much better and had a good connection throughout the team.

"My teammate Darko Stanic set a high standard for goalkeepers in the past and I was inspired by him. It is very hard to be good in matches like this. I would like to congratulate to my players because they helped me a lot in defence,” said Mijatovic.

Metalurg coach Lino Cervar decided to gamble with the inclusion of Filip Mirkulovski. The centre back is still not fit enough, but was able to play at least 10 minutes.

Vardar made two changes in their squad. Instead of goalkeeper Aldave Malumbres, Petar Angelov was brought in and the injured Alexey Rastvortsev made room for Luke Rakovic.

In the first half Metalurg scored first, but were then behind until they drew level at 10:10 after 28 minutes.

The first half was all Vardar, with Metalurg simply trying to stay in touch. A 12:10 lead at half-time. They should have pushed on from there and a complete collapse in the second half was far from expected.

"I would like to congratulate Vardar for a fair and correct game. It was a really good handball atmosphere.

“We were the winners on this occasion and I have to congratulate to my players for great discipline and fight,” said Metalurg coach Lino Cervar.

Renato Vugrinec and Naumce Mojsovski lead the scoring with eight goals each in the match, and Pavel Atman scored at crucial times with his four, while Vardar's most effective player was Timur Dibirov with five goals.

Both sides are still very much in contention for Last 16 places and continue their campaigns next week with Metalurg hosting Wacker Thun and Vardar head to FC Barcelona.

TEXT: Goran Antevski / cor