Kiel complete double over PSG, comeback brings Metalurg their first winArticle
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GROUP A REVIEW: HC Metalurg Skopje earned their first win of the season, Kiel come out on top against PSG

Kiel complete double over PSG, comeback brings Metalurg their first win

THW Kiel defeat Paris Saint-Germain Handball for the second time in six days to leapfrog the French side into the group’s pole position after a fascinating clash of the titans in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

This encounter produced a second classic in a week treating fans in a jam-packed Sparkasse Arena and millions of viewers around the world to a handball feast awash with individual skill akin only to the world’s best players.

Kiel’s second successive victory against the envy of Europe’s club handball came mainly from the source of Spaniard Joan Canellas, the game’s top scorer with nine goals.

Macedonian title holders HC Metalurg celebrated their first win in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League after massive performances by Naumce Mojsovski and Renato Vugrinec, who combined for 21 goals, sank Naturhouse La Rioja.

THW Kiel (GER) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) 33:29 (14:15)  

The group’s goliaths once again came up with a handball extravaganza and proved in no uncertain terms that they are among the prime candidates to reach the FINAL4 and perhaps win Europe’s premier club competition, with Kiel celebrating a second morale-boosting win over PSG.

The German side saved their best for the last 20 minutes, when they swung this titanic clash their way thanks to inspired performances by Joan Canellas and Marko Vujin.

Stung by last weekend’s 27:25 home defeat by the same opposition, PSG held their own well in the opening 15 minutes and led by the excellent Mikkel Hansen, they nosed ahead before the interval as the Dane scored with trademark thunderbolts and dished out assists almost at will.

Their 38-year old goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer also shone between the posts and the dynamic duo kept the visitors ahead early in the second half, when Hansen netted his fifth goal to give them a 17-15 lead.

But Kiel came storming back as they executed a barrage of fast breaks with lethal efficiency, while Canellas and Vujin provided the kind of backcourt firepower which the PSG defence couldn’t deal with.

With Omeyer showing chinks in his armour and Hansen ground to halt after scoring his eight goal to give PSG a 20:19 advantage, Kiel produced a 6:2 run to take the lead.

The home team’s Swedish goalkeepers Johan Sjostrand and Andreas Palicka, notably the latter, came up with several big saves at crunch time and the writing was on the wall for PSG when three goals without reply handed Kiel a 32:27 advantage with time running out for the visitors.

Canellas was the game’s top scorer with nine goals and the unstoppable Vujin added eight for the home side, while Hansen stood out for the visitors with eight but hardly mustered a shot on goal in the last quarter of the game.

Kiel now top the group with 10 points from six games, ahead of PSG who have eight. 

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs Naturhouse La Rioja (ESP) 29:28 (15:16)

The hosts were vying to avenge the 31:26 defeat from last Sunday against the Spanish opponents and enjoyed a great start, as Naumce Mojsovski and Filip Mirkulovski were unstoppable from the 9-meter line to put Skopje ahead 10:8 with 20 minutes gone.

However, an entertaining comeback powered by a eight-minute goal-less Metalurg saw La Rioja in the lead 16:13 just before half-time. 

Both teams found it difficult to break the deadlock in the second half, as the lead changed hands on several occasions.

While La Rioja scored some soft goals, by taking advantage of their efficient counter attacks spearheaded by Garcia Lorenzana, Skopje fought bravely in the backcourt, but Vugrinec and Mojsovski’s efforts almost did not pay off, as the Spanish team was leading 28:26, with only 137 seconds left on the clock.

But the hosts scored the last three goals, in an epic comeback for Metalurg, inspired by Mojsovski, the game’s top scorer with 11 goals. With this win, Macedonian champions take their first two points of their VELUX EHF Champions League campaign.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic, Adrian Costeiu / bc