Dunkerque win qualification showdownArticle
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GROUP D MATCH REVIEW: William Annotel inspires his side to their first Last 16 qualification and with it ensures that all three French teams will be present in the knockout phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League

Dunkerque win qualification showdown

Dunkerque qualified for the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League for the first time in the club’s history by defeating Kadetten Schaffhausen in the decisive match.

VELUX EHF Champions League Group D
Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral vs Kadetten Schaffhausen 29:25 (14:14)

Although the Swiss champions began the game the better side, leading 2:0 after four minutes, the two teams could not shake the other off in the first half, which ended all-square at 14:14.

Just like in the first half, Schaffhausen came out of the dressing room with extra motivation, and soon took their chances to lead by three goals.

However, thanks largely to William Annotel, who was in goal ahead of Vincent Gérard, and his defence, the home side found their rhythm and began to take control of the contest.

After 43 minutes played, Dunkerque held a four-goal lead at 22:18. Seeing their chances of qualification vanish before their eyes, Schaffhausen threw everything at their opponents and managed by reduce the gap to only two, with line player Anton Mansson, who scored six times overall, leading the charge.

But it was Annotel, once again, who shut up shop and with an in-flight goal on a fast-break in the final minute saw Dunkerque seal the four-goal victory, 29:25.

Of course, Annotel was very pleased with the victory: “We are making history of the club right now, but we'll realise this later on.

“We built our success on defence and fast breaks in the second half, and didn't quite get scared when Schaffhausen came back into the game in the last ten minutes.

“We know the Last 16 game will be against a big team, but we'll take whoever comes in front of us.”

TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor