Kolding take pole position after tough Scandinavian derbyArticle
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GROUP B MATCH REVIEW: Danish champions had to struggle harder than in their first two group matches to overcome Alingsas HK.

Kolding take pole position after tough Scandinavian derby

KIF Kolding Kobenhavn had to struggle before taking their third successive win in the VELUX EHF Champions League, as they met heavy competition in the Swedish derby against Alingsas.

Not until the last ten minutes of the match did the Danish favourites manage to create a deciding lead against their brilliantly fighting Swedish adversaries.

Alingsas HK (SWE) vs KIF Kolding Kobenhavn (DEN) 19:23 (13:15)

KIF Kolding Kobenhavn are still in pole position in group, now with six points from three matches, but the Danish champions had to struggle harder than in their first two group matches to overcome Alingsas HK Thursday night.

While KIF could send on their strongest outfit once again, Alingsas were still missing their experienced left back Fredrik Larsson who is suffering from a hip injury.

Larsson was on the team sheet, but was only sent on for penalty shots, of which he scored two on three attempts.

However, it was not on the left back position Alingsas had shortcomings. Only 17-year-old Felix Claar (pictured right), usually a centre back, jumped in and did a great job in Alingsas' attacking play. Not having scored a single goal in his team's first two Champions League matches, Claar scored four goals in the first half alone, and five in the match.

Claar and Alingsas's dangerous counter-attacks meant a lot in the first half, in which the Swedish champions managed to put their opponents under heavy pressure.

Actually, Alingsas were leading for great parts of the first 30 minutes, at one point even with three goals, before the visitors managed to stabilise their play and their defence in particular and take a two-goal lead with them into the cabin.

The fact that Kasper Hvidt replaced Marcus Cleverly in the KIF goal played a great part in the turning of the game, but if anyone among the spectators in the Estrad expected that the second half would be a walk in the park for the Danish favourites, they had to think twice.

”We made a lot of mistakes in the beginning and Alingsås had some good fast-breaks. In the second half we had a really good defence, but at the same time we didn’t do much in the offense," KIF coach Aron Kristjansson said.

The Alingsas defence and goalkeeper Mikael Aggefors did a tremendous job in a low scoring second half, and until seven minutes before the end, they still managed to keep the distance down to two goals, before Kolding's experience decided the matter at the end.

"I am proud of my team. This was our best performance so far but unfortunately we didn’t have the margins on our side. We had a solid defence and goalkeeping, but KIF Kolding Kobenhavn was more focused at the end," Alingsas coach Mikael Franzén said.

“Nothing comes easy in the Champions League, and I think Alingsas fought extremely well, but the fact that we could make more substitutions became important, and at the end we left no doubt,” KIF line player Torsten Laen told efhCL.com.

Photo: Tommy Holl, pic-agency.com

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br