Late rally not enough for DunkerqueArticle
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GROUP D MATCH REVIEW: Szeged escaped with a narrow victory in Dunkerque on Saturday, leaving the French side at the bottom of the table

Late rally not enough for Dunkerque

Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral remain at the bottom of the group table following their fifth defeat in this phase of the competition, though the hosts deserved a point for their effort against MOL-Pick Szeged.

It was the mistakes made early in the game that let the French squad down, enabling the Hungarians to escape with a narrow victory that puts them firmly at second place.

VELUX EHF Champions League Group D

Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) 24:25 (12:15)

After a poor start for Dunkerque, coach Patrick Cazal was forced to call a time-out in the tenth minute (3:7). The French champions could not find fluidity in attack and they were also missing their penalty shots.

Jose Manuel Sierra Mendez (17 saves total) was fantastic in Szeged's goal, recording a 50 per cent save rate in the first half. Only a late surge by Dunkerque as the first period came to an end kept the margin at the break from being too wide.

There was more resolve in the home team's approach in the second half. Szeged could not score for almost five minutes, which helped the hosts finally close the score line in the 35th minute (14:15).

Szeged's Dean Bombac (four goals total) loosened the attacking stiffness with a beautiful zeppelin pass to Jonas Källman, giving the Hungarian outfit a much-needed boost. The visitors managed to prevent an equalising goal from Dunkerque, though the hosts came close a couple of times.

Szeged went ahead 25:21 five minutes from time, with Dunkerque's Bastien Lamon receiving a straight red for a clumsy challenge on Niko Mindegia Elizaga. Vincent Gerard (once more brilliant with 18 saves total) responded by saving a penalty by Bombac, demonstrating that the match was far from over.  

Kornel Nagy (six goals total) scored two and Theophile Causse one for a 3:0 Dunkerque run that narrowed the gap to one single goal.

With a minute to go, Szeged had the last attack and managed to maintain it for 55 seconds, before they lost the ball. But five seconds were not enough time for Dunkerque to release a shot, and the points remained with Szeged.

TEXT: Grega Seva / cg