Talant's winning debut sends both Polish teams to Last 16Article
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MATCH REVIEW: All four Last 16 participants confirmed in Group B as Vive's victory at Porto sent both Polish teams through, while Porto lost the last chance.

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Talant's winning debut sends both Polish teams to Last 16

Both Polish teams will be on the starting grid of the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16. Vive Targi Kielce, who were led for the first time by their new coach Talant Dujshebaev, clinched not only their own berth in the knockout stage through a 35:30 win at Porto, but also secured the Last 16 ticket for their domestic rivals Orlen Wisla Plock with still two rounds to play in the group phase.

FC Porto Vitalis followed another top flight's newcomers Dunkerque, who had lost the chance to qualify for the play off 24 hours earlier.

Group B

FC Porto Vitalis vs Vive Targi Kielce 30:35 (14:16)

With only three matches remaining in Group B, FC Porto went onto the court with a chance to qualify, however, Gilberto Duarte’s (9 goals) fantastic performance and Mick Schubert’s six wonder goals were not enough to stop Kielce’s experience, as Piotr Chrapkowski (7 goals) and Karol Bielecki (8 goals) played crucial roles in the Polish win.

Kielce started in great shape, putting the score in 3-0 against the opponent that really struggled defensively from early on. But the visitors’ performance dropped as FC Porto tuned their defence, which allowed them to equalise at 5-5 with just 10 minutes into the game.

Piotr Chrapkowski seemed impossible to stop in the opening moments of the game, as the Polish appeared everywhere on the court, scoring six goals of the nine Polish champions had in the first 15 minutes.

After the "blue" close up on the scoreboard, the away side became more aggressive, more effective in terms of pressure, and also used their experience to win a four goal margin again. Mick Schubert was the one keeping the Dragons close to the Polish side, with a couple of fantastic goals and a clever penalty throws placing, yet they had two key moments to equalise the game again, both wasted due to lack of calm, which resulted in a 14-16 at the break.

Kielce returned from the dressing room looking to end the match quickly, and with Karol Bielecki flying through their opponents defence, it did not take long for them to build an 8-2 run in the first 10 minutes. The blues never quit though, they kept fighting using a lot of movement on attack, along with a bit more speed to cut the lead to 23-26 with 12 minutes left.

There were two opportunities for the home side to reduce the margin to two goals, still even with a high class Gilberto Duarte, they were not able to do it. This allowed Kielce to control the result until the end of the challenge, winning by 30-35.

“I’m very happy with the win, we went against a good team, but it was decisive for us to have a large squad, with all of the players being good options to use. I only had seven trainings with the team, but with the squad we have of course we want to win the Champions League!” Talant Dujshebaev was clear about his ambitions in this competition, yet he knows it won’t be easy to get the title.

TEXT: Carlos J Santos / br