Kielce waste big lead, but still get a hopeful resultArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: The Polish champions will pack four-goal cushion for their trip to Mannheim as they beat Rhein Neckar Löwen 32:28.

Kielce waste big lead, but still get a hopeful result

Despite squandering a seven-goal lead, Vive Targi Kielce will still take a promising cushion to the second leg of the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16. After the third team of the previous season beat Rhein Neckar Löwen 32:28 on the home court, the reverse match in Mannheim can go either way on Monday, 31 March.

VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16, first leg:
KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) vs Rhein – Neckar Löwen (GER) 32:28 (17:13)

A piece of really good spectacle was presented for those who took their seats in the Legion Hall. “Rhapsody in yellow” turned out to be a true rhapsody with a variety of tones and huge dose of improvisation performed by some of the biggest names of the European handball.

The game was a festival of various nationalities and their typical traits. Swiss precision against Spanish temperament, Scandinavian technic against Polish creativity and German order against Balkan casual attitude.

Such a combination could only generate a masterpiece, especially when directed by two maestros of handball, Talant Dujshebaev and Gudmundur Gudmundsson.

A touching ceremony took a place right before the match started. The president of the Kielce club, Bertus Servaas thanked Bogdan Wenta for five and half years adventure with KS Vive Targi.

“I have always been, I am and I will be there for you,” promised Wenta.

The first half was a close game only for about five minutes. After this short warm-up Kielce started a concert of shots begun by an impressive action of Uros Zorman and finished with the penalty throw executed by Karol Bielecki. In the ninth minute it was 7:3 for the hosts.

Niklas Landin seemed to be helpless against his rivals, who were constantly finding holes in his teammates defence so he was quite quickly substituted by Goran Stojanovic.

It did not help a lot, but the attack of the Löwen finally turned the alarm mode on as Uwe Gensheimer led their charge.

The visitors managed to reduce the seven-goal deficit to only four goals, what gave them a solid base to fight back in the second part of the game.

After the break it took only a moment for the Löwen to catch up with Kielce (19:19), who started to commit unforced errors.

“They found the right rhythm in that moment, they showed their tough defence and very fast counter-attack what allowed them to come back to the game,” said Slawomir Szmal right after the match.

“For the first fifteen minutes we played very well, that’s a pity we couldn’t keep the pace,” added Krzysztof Lijewski who was the best Kielce scorer with nine goals.

The hosts woke up just in time to regain the four-goal lead at the very end of the match.

“We started very badly and missed some opportunities to win the game, but after all in my opinion the four-goal defeat is a good achievement,” said Ekdahl Du Rietz.

Also the Icelandic coach of the Löwen, Gudmundsson did not lose his good mood: “In the end I’m satisfied. It was very tough game but now we are looking forward to face Kielce at home.”

TEXT: Magda Pluszewska / br