Brest make local fans happyArticle
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GROUP 1 REVIEW: The tournament's hosts beat Tatran Presov in the deciding match for the spot in the group phase.

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Brest make local fans happy

After six years HC Meshkov Brest secured the berth in the group stage of the European top flight again. The Belarusian champions beat Slovakia’s Tatran Presov 26:24 in the final match of the Qualifying Tournament 1 of the VELUX Champions League in Brest.

Also on Sunday in the 3rd place match, Serbia’s RK Vojvodina won against Targos Bevo HC from the Netherlands 30:25.

Qualification Tournament 1


HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs. Tatran Presov (SVK) 26:24 (12:12)

For Tatran, Belarusian teams have become a stumbling block. Last year, the perennial Slovak title holders missed the qualification for the VELUX Champions League group stage after losing at home against Dinamo Minsk. And this time, the players from Presov could not beat HC Meshkov Brest.

The game was very open, captivating and full of emotions. In the first half, marked by the excellent saves from the goalkeepers Ivan Pesic and Jakub Krupa, Tatran were constantly leading with one or two goals. But by the half-time, the hosts managed to level the score.

Early into the second half, Brest seized the initiative. Thanks to Pesic’s saves and good combinations in attack their advantage grew with every minute. However, at some point Tatran showed character and came back from 18:23 to 23:24, which made the last minutes thrilling. The Slovaks had their chances, but when at 23:25 Oliver Rabek missed a penalty throw one minute from time, the victory of Brest was sealed.

Dzianis Rutenka was the best scorer of Brest with six goals, just as many as was made by Radoslav Antl from Tatran.

"I am thankful to my players who did their best. They fought for every ball and stood up for each other. We are coming back to the group stage after six years. It is very important for the club and for myself," said the head coach of Brest Zeljko Babic.

Last time HC Meshkov played in the group phase of the VELUX Champions League in the 2007/08 season.  Now in Group A they will meet Germany’s THW Kiel, Macedonia’s HC Metalurg, Croatia’s HC PPD Zagreb, Spain’s Naturhouse La Rioja and France’s PSG HB. Tatran will play in the EHF Cup third qualifying round.

Third place match:

RK Vojvodina (SRB) vs. Targos Bevo HC (NED) 30:25 (15:11)

Serbian champions RK Vojvodina beat the Dutch Targos Bevo HC to finish third in Brest and qualify for the EHF Cup third qualifying round.

From the very start the Serbian champions showed more class and experience. However, young Dutchmen managed to stay in the game for a long time. Their best players were the goalkeeper Bart Ravensbergen who made some good saves, and the left wing Jeroen van den Beucken, one of the three van den Beuckens in the squad of Targos Bevo. On his 22nd birthday, he managed to score as many as 11 goals.

Still, Vojvodina was a more balanced team. Just like in the semi-final against Tatran Presov, their top scorer was the 32-year-old Uros Elezovic who made six goals once again. His effort was supported by partners, and although the lead of the Novi Sad team was under threat at some moments, they had enough class to clinch the victory.

The consolation prize for Targos Bevo HC will be the birth for the EHF Cup second qualifying round, where they will meet the winners of HV KRAS/Volendam vs. HC Topolcany.

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / br