Wisla whirlwind blows away tame VardarArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: The Polish runners-up engineered a commanding six-goal lead in the first leg of their VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 tie against Macedonian rivals Vardar.

Wisla whirlwind blows away tame Vardar

The brilliant Alex Dujshebaev saved Vardar from an even more emphatic defeat at Orlen Wisla Plock, scoring 10 goals including a long-range piledriver on the buzzer to give the Macedonian side an outside chance of overhauling the deficit in the return leg.

The game appeared to have taken a different course after the visitors took an early 3:0 lead but spectacular saves by both Wisla goalkeepers, Rodrigo Corrales and Marcin Wichary, turned the contest on its head as the home team carved out a nine-goal lead in the closing stages.


Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs HC Vardar (MKD) 32:26 (14:12)

The first leg between these two teams fully lived up to expectations as Orlen Wisla Plock and HC Vardar produced a magnificent contest, paving the way for an equally absorbing reverse fixture in the Macedonian capital.

Led by Alex Dujshebaev and Timur Dibirov, Vardar silenced a fervent home crowd in the opening exchanges as the duo carved out a 3-0 lead which turned out to be short-lived.

Roared on by their incredibly vociferous fans, Wisla turned the tide as their Spanish goalkeeper Rodrigo Corrales started to pick off Vardar’s shots like ripe cherries while a balanced attack, in which several players shared the scoring workload, started exploiting chinks in Vardar’s armour at the other end.

Having kept the deficit down to two goals in the first half, the visitors were swept away after the interval as Wisla’s quick transition of the ball left Vardar’s defence in tatters while Marcin Wichary, the home team’s second-choice goalkeeper, saved three penalties.

In no time Wisla were 21:13 to the good as rugged defending cost a couple of Vardar players two-minute suspensions, leaving the effervescent Dujshebaev pretty much to his own devices.

It seemed the home team would have one foot in the quarter-finals when versatile pivot Kamil Syprzak gave them a 31:22 lead in the closing stages, but Wisla took their feet of the gas pedal in the last five minutes and paid the price.

Although Corrales stopped pretty much the bulk of everything Vardar threw at him, he could not parry Dujshebaev’s missiles and the prolific 22-year old right back handed Vardar a lifeline with a breath-taking goal on the buzzer, beating his compatriot with a thunderbolt which could turn out to be decisive after the return leg.

Vardar will undoubtedly be buoyed by the same kind of frenetic support that carried Wisla on Saturday, but to overhaul the fast-flowing Polish outfit the Macedonian giants will need to play much tighter defence which looked porous and vulnerable in the first leg.

Serbia winger Ivan Nikcevic led Wisla’s effort with six goals, Romanian Valentin Ghionea scored five while Michal Daszek, Mariusz Jurkiewicz and Kamil Syprzak chipped in with four each.

Apart from Dujshebaev, Russian winger Timur Dibirov put in a decent performance for Vardar with five goals and the high-scoring duo will be their team’s best hope of turning the tie around in Skopje.

TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / br