Kiel rout Metalurg as PSG cruise past MeshkovArticle
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GROUP A REVIEW: THW Kiel secure top spot in their section with a comprehensive drubbing of Macedonian rivals Metalurg, while Paris Saint-Germain Handball eased to a comfortable victory against Meshkov Brest

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Kiel rout Metalurg as PSG cruise past Meshkov  

THW Kiel have cemented their pole position in the group with a match left to play after a first-half thunderstorm blew away HC Metalurg, who were scoreless for a staggering 24 minutes during which the German champions went on a 15:0 run.

Paris Saint-Germain Handball also enjoyed a walk in the park, strolling to an emphatic win over Meshkov Brest which ensured a runners-up finish for the French side while it left the Belarus title holders in dire straits.

Meshkov need a seemingly impossible victory in Kiel in the last round coupled with a La Rioja loss to PSG if they are to advance to the VELUX EHF Champions League knockout rounds.
VELUX EHF Champions League Group A

Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs Meshkov Brest (BLR) 36:25 (18:14)

French giants PSG and their spirited Belarusian rivals produced a vastly entertaining game of handball abundant with incisive attacking play and spectacular goals, as well as a myriad of superb saves from evergreen France goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer.

Needing a win to keep alive any realistic hopes of reaching the Last 16, Meshkov Brest made a bright start and fired on all cylinders early on as they deployed an extra man in attack by benching their goalkeeper while in possession of the ball.    

The risk paid off for the best part of the first half as Serbia pivot Rastko Stojkovic and Slovenia playmaker David Spiler kept finding chinks in Paris Saint-Germain’s armour.

But with the score tied at 10:10 midway through the first half, PSG moved up a gear seamlessly as prolific Danish left back Mikkel Hansen kept unleashing unstoppable long-range missiles to steer the home side into a comfortable four-goal half-time lead.

Stubborn Meshkov launched one last fight back early in the second half when they conjured a 5:2 run to cut the deficit to 22:19, but the gulf in class between the two teams was again clear to be seen after Croatia’s veteran pivot Igor Vori rolled back the years.

Vori scored all his six goals in the second half while William Accambray, Samuel Honrubia, Marko Kopljar and Daniel Narcisse all chipped in as the French outfit ran riot in the last quarter of the game.

But Meshkov, who now need nothing less than a miracle to advance into the knockout stages, bowed out with their pride intact as they kept battling until the end and can take solace from some fine individual performances by Spiler and Stojkovic.

Hansen finished as the game’s top scorer with eight goals while Spiler led Meshkov with seven.      

THW Kiel (GER) vs HC Metalurg (MKD) 35:16 (17:3)

A swift start by Metalurg, which kept the score level in the opening nine minutes, was hardly an indicator of what was coming, as the Macedonian side flattered to deceive and suffered a mauling after the remainder of the first half turned into total one-way traffic.

When Filip Taleski made it 3:3, Kiel were spurred into action and kept their foot on the pedal at full throttle, with goals flying in from all angles as Czech left back Filip Jicha celebrated his return from injury with six goals in the opening period.

With the hosts leading 18:3 early in the second half, Metalurg snapped their 24-minute scoreless streak and then doubled their first-half tally in less than five minutes, making the game more of a contest in the second period.

But the damage had already been done and Kiel appeared to go through the motions in the last 20 minutes although their attacking prowess was still too much for their rivals.

There was never any doubt this was going to be a lop-sided, David-versus-Goliath clash and it showed in no uncertain terms why Kiel are one of the competition’s favourites while Metalurg remain rooted to the bottom of the section with only one win from nine games.

Action-hungry Jicha kept going until the final whistle and finished with a game-high nine goals, while Steffen Weinhold and Patrick Wiencek netted five each for the winners. The battling Talevski and Buvinic had four each for Metalurg, who salvaged some pride with an improved second-half performance.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / bc