Montpellier overcome shock to beat CeljeArticle
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GROUP C REVIEW: Celje had a four-goal lead at half-time but Montpellier won the second half by 10 goals for their first win.

Montpellier overcome shock to beat Celje

Celje shocked Montpellier in the first half but – just like against Vardar in the first round – could not hold on to their lead and the much-improved Montpellier won the second half with ease.

Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA) vs Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) 35:29 (14:18)

It was not the first time this season that Montpellier came up with an awful start and this time Celje took full advantage of the French team’s sleepy start. The Slovenian champion was as fast as ever and the home side found it extremely hard to cope with the pace of the visitors, whose solid defence provided the groundworks for their fast counter-attacks.

Celje had a four-goal lead at the break and since the game was under the visitors’ control Montpellier were in trouble.

"We gave our all today but we must start our matches differently in order not to tire ourselves out too soon," Vid Kavticnik, Slovenian right back of Montpellier warned.

However, a completely different match started in the second half. The French team become more precise, their defence stood solid and the young Celje side lost concentration when the French ran over them.

"The red card of Poteko changed a lot of things for us at the start of the second half. We didn’t play as well in attack and defence, whereas Montpellier did what they needed to do to get a deserved win," Celje captain Luka Zvizej admitted.

Dragan Gajic and Mathieu Grebille proved decisive as the home side scored no less than 21 goals in the second half. Montpellier won the game of two opposing halves but once again Celje proved their worth. The visitors need to work on their balance as they are capable of playing wonderful handball but are unbalanced and have the tendency to throw away their much-earned lead too easily.

"I think it was a good performance tonight. The slow starts to our matches against Nantes and Celje are not down to a lack of motivation by the players who give their all on the court. We still need to progress but our key players took their responsibilities and were decisive. To win by six goals against a very good Celje is a good performance and should give us confidence for the next matches," Montpellier coach Patrice Canayer said.

TEXT: Bence Martha / br