Veszprém cruise past Vardar, French joy after Chekhov thrillerArticle
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GROUP C REVIEW: Montpellier win a thrilling encounter in Checkhov while Veszprém beat Vardar to strengthen their lead in the group

Veszprém cruise past Vardar, French joy after Chekhov thriller

MKB-MVM Veszprém took full points in this VELUX EHF Champions League Group C match with a huge win over Vardar, the home side putting in a great performance in Veszprém, meaning they remain unbeaten thus far. Medvedi and Montpellier went toe-to-toe for 60 minutes after the visitors emerged as winners thanks to a last second goal by Diego Simonet.

VELUX EHF Champions League Group C

MKB-MVM Veszprém (HUN) vs HC Vardar (MKD) 32:24 (16:10)

The re-match of two VELUX EHF FINAL4 contenders started in a frantic atmosphere. However, despite László Nagy's absence the home side settled and took a comfortable lead – partly helped by the horrible achilles tendon injury suffered by Blazenko Lackovic.

Veszprém took firm control of the game, the Hungarian champion’s defence was as solid as it was in Skopje last week, likewise the home side was outstanding when moving forward.

Vardar found it very difficult to cope with the relentless pace of the game and looked helpless against Veszprém's wall of defence and the parading Roland Mikler, while Christian Zeitz and Momir Ilic in red found Árpád Sterbik’s net again and again.

Veszprém found themselves six goals ahead at the break and the margin grew to eight shortly after. Alex Dujshebaev and Timur Dibirov kept the home side in touching distance with some trademark magic goals but Veszprém never let the visitors gather any real momentum.

As the game wore on Vardar struggled to keep up with Veszprém as they extended their lead with a handful of Carlos Ruesga goals while Mikler remained excellent between the posts. The home team saw out the game and extended their unbeaten run with a comfortable win, Vardar remain second in the group but Löwen, who play in Celje on Sunday, can move past the Macedonian outfit with a win.

Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA) 33:34 (17:16)

Montpellier arrived in Chekhov with the intention of making up for the point they had lost last week against Medvedi. Medvedi, on the other hand, were hoping to register their first win in the competition.

The teams took up where they left off in France, goals were plentiful from both sides. Medvedi relied on the outstanding duo of Alexander Dereven and Dmitry Zhitnikov while Dragan Gajic and soon-to-be-hero Diego Simonet came up with the goods for the French outfit.

The Russian backcourt shooters finished with 17 goals between them but the French marksmen were even more prolific, bagging 21 goals. Neither of the teams managed to get ahead by more than two or three goals and the battle continued right until the end.

The Russian side gave the ball away giving Diego Simonet enough space to score the winner for the French side with two seconds left on the clock.

Montpellier strengthened their hold on fourth spot in the table with six points, while Medvedi remain last with a single point.

TEXT: Mártha Bence / bc