Motor make changes after domestic defeatArticle
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NEWS REPORT: 'Mutual' decision sees coach Sergey Bebeshko leave Motor to be replaced by his assistant Nikolay Stepanets.

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Motor make changes after domestic defeat

HC Motor Zaporozhye will head into the New Year with a new look, following a flurry of personnel changes in the last week.

The Ukrainian champions currently sit fifth in VELUX EHF Champions League Group D, and could yet still qualify for the last 16 for a second year in a row.

The Blue and Crimson face an important battle with fourth-placed Aalborg on February 15, but will go into that contest with a refreshed line-up, on and off the floor.

The club decided to dispense with the services of Spanish playmaker Angel Perez and Belarusian international Alexander Titov.

And, after a domestic defeat against rivals ZTR Zaporozhye on December 17, coach Sergey Bebeshko followed the pair out the exit door.

Two days after that reverse - Motor’s first national championship loss since April 27, 2013 - chairman Olimpiy Pokatov took the decision to replace Bebeshko with his former assistant Nikolay Stepanets.

“The main reason why I left Motor is the lack of results,” said the 46-year-old Bebeshko of his departure. “The decision to leave was mutual.

“Our objective was to advance to the Last 16 of the Champions League and, despite a tough situation in our group, we still have a chance.

“But the key moment was the loss to ZTR.

“I have done all tasks that have been in my contract. It was not so difficult to leave the team. I don’t feel guilty, this is sport.

“Until the end of the season I do not plan to train. Now I’m going to stay with my family and relax, and next season we'll see.”

Under Bebeshko, Motor twice reached the Champions League group phase, and last season was the best in the club’s history, as they fell just short of the quarter-finals while winning the Ukrainian championship.

Motor will be in good hands however, as Stepanets previously led the club two seasons ago, taking control on an interim basis prior to Bebeshko’s arrival, and guiding them to their first national championship.

TEXT: Igor Grachov / jh