Besiktas ready for group phase debutArticle
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GROUP 3 REVIEW: For the first time the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase will visit Turkey after their national champions prevailed at the Qualification Tournament 3 in Hasselt, Belgium.

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Besiktas ready for group phase debut

FC Barcelona, KIF Kolding København, Alingsås HK, Orlen Wisla Plock and SG Flensburg-Handewitt can look forward to meeting Besiktas MOGAZ HT as the sixth and last team in Group B of the VELUX EHF Champions League group phase.

A convincing 34:25 win in the final of Qualification Tournament 3 in the Sporthal Alverberg in Hasselt, Belgium, on Sunday secured the Turkish champions their first Champions League group phase berth ever.

Norwegian champions Haslum Handballklubb finished third after a just as clear win, 35:26 against hosts Hubo Initia Hasselt.

Qualification Tournament 3


HCM Constanta (ROU) vs Besiktas MOGAZ HT (TUR) 25:34 (12:18)

For the first time in history, Besiktas will be playing in the group phase of the EHF Champions League. That is a fact after the Turkish champions defeated HCM Constanta as clearly as 34:25 in the final of Qualification Tournament 3.

Many people tended to see last season´s EHF Cup semi-finalists Constanta as favourites in the group, but that did not some to bother the Besiktas players at all. After Constanta got the better start and got ahead 4:2, Besiktas took the upper hand and took a 7:4 lead through five goals in succession and later they increased to 12:6.

Constanta managed to reduce to 10:14, but before half time, Besiktas had re-established their six goal lead. And had it not been for two saved seven meter shots by Constanta goalkeeper Rudi Stanescu, things would have been even worse for the Romanian champions than the 18:12 half time deficit.

After the break, Besiktas continued where they had left off before half time, and although Constanta reduced the deficit to five goals, the Romanian champions were never able to perform a real threat to the Turkish title holders.

Instead, Besiktas soon recreated their nine goal lead. At 30:21 with less than ten minutes left, the matter was actually already decided, and as Besiktas stayed focused until the very end, the nine goal distance was also maintained.

“I am extremely happy, because this is a historical achievement for Turkish handball. I cannot remember a Turkish team playing in the Champions League,” said Besiktas coach Mufit Arin.

“Besiktas is building a competitive team. Last year I qualified for the EHF Champions League with Minsk. In that Qualification Tournament we eliminate Besiktas. Now I am standing here with Besiktas, happy to have qualified for the groups,” said Besiktas' Croatian left wing Ivan Nincevic who was his team's most scoring player with six goals.

“We experienced some trouble in the preparation for this season. Therefore our roster is limited, and that is the reason why we could not keep up with Besiktas,” explained Constanta coach Zvonko Shundovski.

“After our good start, their team suffocated us with a huge lead of 12:6. At that stage they had almost won the game,” added Shundovski who had his top scorer in right wing Laurentiu Toma with seven goals.

Third place match:

Hubo Initia Hasselt (BEL) vs Haslum Handballklubb (NOR) 26:35 (8:17)

Haslum got a fine comeback after their 29:20 defeat against Besiktas in the semi-final Saturday, as they defeated the hosts from Hasselt also with nine goals in the match for the third place Sunday.

Haslum were dominating from the start and got up 3:0 in a hurry. After that the Norwegian champions spent the rest for the first half increasing their lead which was already nine goals at half time.

A direct red card for Hasselt playmaker Xander Jackers towards the end for the first half did not make things any better for the Belgian hosts, and in the second half, Haslum managed to hold on to their clear lead which was even increased to 11 goals a few times, before the match ended in a Norwegian nine goal win.

“The third place is really what we were aiming for. Now we can enter the EHF Cup in the third round, and that is really our level. I'd like to reach the group phase of the EHF Cup; it would be a perfect way for my young team to get experience,” Haslum coach Tom Eirik Skarpsno said.

“We were physical at our end after Saturday´s battle against Constanta. But this weekend was a splendid experience for us against all these professional players,” said Initia's Dutch right wing Bart Köhlen who was most scoring player in the match with eight goals, while Sebastian Barthold, Joakim Patriksson and Magnus Søndenå scored five each for Haslum.

Photo: Eddy Vanoppen

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br