Unstoppable Burka leads Motor through Porto to the group phaseArticle
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GROUP 2 REVIEW: The Ukrainian champions beat FC Porto in the final of the Qualification Tournament 2 and clinched the spot in the group phase for the second year in a row.

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Unstoppable Burka leads Motor through Porto to the group phase

HC Motor Zaporozhye have completed the list of the Group D participants in the VELUX EHF Champions League as the Ukrainian champions beat FC Porto from Portugal 30:26 in the decisive final game of the Qualification tournament 2 in Hard, Austria. The shooting skills of Motor's left back Sergii Burka proved to be instrumental for the win of the Ukrainian club as the 208 cm tall player scored nine times in this battle of two last season's group phase participants.

Zaporozhye qualified for Group D and due to security concerns EHF have previously decided that they will play their home matches in the Palace of Sport arena in Kiev.

Here, the opponents will be Polish champions KS Vive Targi Kielce, French champions Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral, as well Swiss title holders Kadetten Schaffhausen, plus two runners-up from their national leagues last season: Hungarian side Pick Szeged and Denmark’s Aalborg Handball.

In the preceding match for the third place the Italian champions Junior Fasano suffered the second double-digit defeat in as many days and after they lost in the semi-final to Motor 20:36, they ran short also against the tournament's hosts Alpla HC Hard.

Through the victory 36:25 the Austrian champions secured a direct place in the third round of the EHF Cup, while Fasano have to start in the second round. They will face the winner of a first round tie between Israeli Maccabi CASTRO Tel Aviv and Romania's club HC Potassi Tudra.

Qualification tournament 2:


HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs FC Porto (POR) 30:26 (17:12)

Burka's goals supported by a combined dozen from Sergyi Onufrienko and Olexandr Shevelev helped Motor to create a commanding five-goal lead before the half-time break. The Last 16 participants of the previous season held the lead firmly in their grip for the rest of the game and can look forward for the second season in a row, while Porto have to settle for the third round of the EHF Cup.

"This win was was very important for our further development. This season we have no fixtures in the Ukrainian championship. I'm proud of our players. they fight like gladiators. I think Porto lost a lot of force in the match against Alpla. We were more fresh today. I like the game of Porto and I think they deserve participating in the Champions League," Motor's coach Sergey Bebeshko said.

"It was a good game. We need fights like this and it was one of the reasons to play the Champions League and get good opponents in this season. We got what we wanted and we are happy now," Burka explained.
"We were poor in defence and had a lot of turnovers in the first half. We could not do enough against Burka, Onufrienko and Aflitulin. Many of our throws were without preparation and we also struggled in the transition phase going from defence to attack," Porto's coach Ljubomir Obradovic admitted.



Third place match:

Junior Fasano (ITA) vs Alpla HC Hard (AUT) 25:36 (11:18)

The home team concluded the tournament on a high note cruising past Fasano, although the clear victory was just a small remedy for their semi-final setback against Porto. While the captain Roland Schlinger led Hard with six goals, Zelko Beharevic was the Fasano's top scorer again scoring nine times.

For Junior's coach Francesco Ancona was the tournament in Hard very special as he played his last European Cup game in Hard as well five years ago. "This tournament was a great opportunity for our players to prepare for the domestic championship," Ancona said after the game.

"We wanted to reach the third round of the EHF Cup and we have made it in a very convincing fashion. The team followed my warning of not taking this game for granted," coach Markus Burger said for the official website of Hard.

"After our Friday's defeat to Porto we changed a few things and it worked much better tonight," Alpla's left wing Michael Jochum added.

Photo: Walter Zaponig

TEXT: EHF, Igor Grachev / br