Szeged record easy away winArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: MOL-Pick Szeged have picked up low-pressure away points in Denmark against an uncertain Aalborg side while Kielce leave it late to grab the win against Zaporozhye


The first surprise in Group D this week was Kadetten’s win over Dunkerque on Thursday. Sunday’s away victory for Szeged in Denmark was not a shock per se; it was the way Aalborg lost that was astonishing. 

It looks like Jesper Jensen’s team’s uncomfortable draw against Kadetten (23:23) in the last round was a sign of bigger worries to come. Sunday’s match saw Szeged control the game almost from the starting whistle, and Aalborg could not level the score.

Group D
Aalborg Handball (DK) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) 25:28 (11:15)

Aalborg started well with a 2:0 lead, before Szeged warmed up and took the lead at 4:2 in the eighth minute. 

The hosts looked disoriented and their 6-0 defence was having some trouble through the middle. They managed to get three suspensions in a short period of time; and all the while Jose Manuel Sierra Mendez was giving them trouble in attack, making nine saves in the first half.

After several unsuccessful attacks for Aalborg, during which they conceded a goal in the 23rd minute despite being two men up, coach Jensen was quite agitated. Even after a time-out his players could not regroup, and Szeged led 15:11 at half-time.

The Hungarian outfit kept the match under control throughout the second half. By the 36th minute, they had increased their lead to six goals (18:12). Aalborg came close a few times, but they made too many offensive errors and Sierra was on the top of his game again (16 saves total). 

With nine goals, Sander Sagosen was the stand-out player for the Danish side. Szeged shot eight times from the penalty line, with Zsolt Balogh (13 goals total) very successful at converting. Aalborg were not awarded a penalty in the whole match.

Five minutes before full-time Szeged was leading 27:21 and it was clear the victory would belong to the Hungarian team – all the hosts could do was narrow the margin. 

Aalborg will travel to Motor Zaporozhye for their next round match. Szeged will host Kadetten Schaffhausen.

KS Vive Tauron Kielce (POL) vs Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) 30:26 (17:14)

Kielce remain with a perfect record after the third round, although their victory over the Ukrainian champions was not as convincing as one would expect. They had to draw on all their quality in the second half to assure another pair of points and leave their reputation untarnished.

Kielce managed to achive a healthy advantage with a 10:6 score in the 15th minute. They had the game under control and slowly widened the margine to five goals (13:8 in the 22nd minute). Both teams had their fair share of mistakes, and the visitors somehow came back with a 3:0 run right before half-time.

Everybody expected for Kielce to dominate after the break, but Motor shocked the crowd with a quick equaliser at 17:17. The Polish juggernaut somehow could not enforce its style of play, and Valentyn Koshovy had a good day between the sticks for the Ukrainians. Kilece would eventually pull away and hold a 3-4 goal advantage, but Motor would always capitalise on the hiosts' mistakes and come back into the game.

When the visitors caught up once more in the 54th minute it was 26:26, the nerves was palpable. But Motor once again lost the points in the final minutes.

They threw away two consecuitve penalties; one was saved by Marin Šego and the other one bounced of the bar. And when Krzystof Lijewski (seven goals in total) struck for 29:26 four minutes later, the hosts could breathe a sigh of relief. 

"We played a good match, but at this moment Vive are a stronger team with a bigger budget. Kielce have got greater expierence in the Champions League," said Motor coach Sergey Bebeshko.

"It is always to face an opponent who has been misjudged as a weak team. Motor proved they are no outsiders in this group and I have to thank all my players they remained focused until the end," Kielce coach Talant Dujshebaev said.

Kielce will go into Round 4 away to Dunkerque, while Motor host Aalborg.

TEXT: Grega Sever / cg