Szeged falter in Poland, while Dunkerque squeeze past Motor in the final secondsArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: Reigning EHF Cup winners suffered their first defeat, while Polish champions recorded the second win despite losing Jurecki early in the match. Meanwhile, Dunkerque succeeded at Kiev leaving Motor emptyhanded after two rounds.

Szeged falter in Poland, while Dunkerque squeeze past Motor in the final seconds

Kielce got their deserved victory after a brilliant second half performance in the derby match in Group D. Compact defence and patience in attack proved to be the key in an another impressive display, and the Polish champions are continuing their perfect run this season.

French champions Dunkerque achieved their first victory of the European season in Ukraine in the dying moments of the match against Motor, who are left emptyhanded after two rounds and will again kick themselves after a poor finish.

KS Vive Tauron Kielce (POL) vs MOL-Pick Szeged 37:32 (18:17)

It was a tight and physical match at the beginning though. Szeged managed to get slightly ahead in the opening minutes (4:2 after eight minutes), only for Kielce's 5-1 zone to improve and the teams were neck and neck.

Although Michal Jurecki was sent off in the 15th minute after a clumsy foul on Dean Bombac, that did not affect the home team at all. While nearly all of Kielce's players that appeared on the court managed to score, Szeged were mainly dependent on Zsolt Balogh and Bombac (9 goals total respectively) to provide goals. The scoring percentage was high on both sides in the first half (62% vs 77%).

The Polish champions took advantage of being a man up four minutes before the break and took a three-goal lead (17:14), but the visitors bounced back quickly following a couple of good saves by Jose Sierra - the half-time score was tight again (18:17).

Kielce started the second half with intent, and Szeged's coach Pastor had to quickly call his first timeout in the 39th minute. The score was 24:19 for Kielce, who didn't relent.

They converted their defence to 6-0 and it proved to be almost impenetrable. Szeged finished poorly and when the home team went seven goals up after two consecutive goals with a man down (31:24 in the 49th), it was apparent that Szeged were facing defeat.

They tried with a 5-1 defence, but to no avail and all they could muster was a four-goal deficit in the last minute.

"It was very a good match and I think we also showed a good play, but in the second half we made a lot of mistakes. It is a minimum what we must and should play. In the next game we will show even more," Szeged coach Juan Carlos Pastor said.

"I am extremely proud of my players and our game. But I must say that our opponents played better than in their first match in the group with Zaporozhye," Kielce coach Talant Dujshebaev said.

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) 21:23 (10:9)

It started well for the hosts, with a 2:0 lead, but Dunkerque bounced back quickly with a 3:0 partial score. Both teams relied on the 6-0 defence and it soon became obvious that goals will be a cherished commodity in this tight encounter. Both back lines lacked rhytm and there were far too many 1-1 play attempts from both teams to produce clear shooting chances. Coupled with a solid goalkeeper perfomance on both sides - both Annotel and Stochl were above 50% in saves in the first half - and the result was bound to be low at the interval (10:9 for Motor).

The crowd in Kiev saw more of the same in the second half. The opponents were neck and neck. A two-goal advantage was the best that anyone could muster (16:14 to Dunkerque in the 45th minute). There was a lack of concentration at shooting, many balls hit the posts, passing was inaccurate and it was close until the very end.

Stetsyura leveled the score from Motor at 21:21 three minutes before time, but the Ukrainian team failed to capitalise after a Stochl save, and Guillard put the French champions infront in the penultimate minute (22:21). The hosts were pushing for an equaliser, but Onufryienko's shot was wide and Dunkerque sealed the victory in the last attack.

TEXT: Grega Sever / br