Despite narrow loss Kielce reach quarter-finalsArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: the Polish side's four-goal advantage proved key as Kielce see out a tough and scrappy encounter to progress

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Despite narrow loss Kielce reach quarter-finals

After the exhilarating duel teemed with many ups and downs, Montpellier are the first team this season in the VELUX EHF Champions League to defeat the Polish Champions. The two-goal victory, however, was not enough to grant the French side a quarter-final berth after the score of the first leg read 29:25.


KS Vive Tauron Kielce (POL) vs Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA) 31:33 (14:15)
Kielce win 60:58 on aggregate

In the second leg of the duel Kielce had a four-goal advantage from last weekend to rest upon. Even though the advantage was marginal, it turned out to be enough as the French could not make up the difference.

Both teams, however, started the match at a frantic pace which showed in some nervous play from both teams. Fumbling from both sets of players gave way to a high number of counterattacks. After one such action, Dragan Gajic gave his side a two-goal lead (5:3), but Kielce responded and the sides were scrapping goal for goal.

Diego Simonet took the weight of the game on his shoulders and was the most active shooter for the French side (with six goals in the first half). In the Kielce ranks the scores were coming from Denis Buntic who woke up after he missed three shots at the beginning of the game - he also had six goals to his name and top scored for the home team.

In the last moments of the first half the tempo slowed down considerably and the pivots found themselves in some space. Thanks to a goal from Issam Tej in the last minute, the guests made their way to the changing room with a one-goal advantage.

The score after the break was opened by the brilliant Simonet. He and his Slovenian teammate Borut Mackovsek pushed their side ahead after seven minutes of the second half as Montpellier went into the lead (20:16). It was wing players Reichmann and Strlek who kept Kielce in touching distance at this point.

A turning point in the match came when Marin Sego saved a penalty shot by Dragan Gajic at 24:21. After that the Polish Champions scored twice in the row to narrow the gap to one goal.

With twenty seconds left on the clock, Diego Simonet netted to make it 33:30 as the game finished with a man-to-man full court press. Kielce scored last making the final score 31:33.

After the duel the couch of Kielce, Talant Dujshebaev, was shocked by the local journalist's disappointment with the loss: “Come on, people! We lost the game but we won the overall duel!”

“I’m really proud of my boys. They are my idols as they were fighting until the end today!”

The Argentinian Simonet was disappointed: “We lost the tie. But what I’m most sad about is that actually we lost it on our home court”.

He was accompanied by his coach, Fabrice Grasset: “We lost the overall tie which we should have won. I am frustrated because we came here with a plan to make it to the quarter-finals.”

TEXT: Magda Pluszewska / bc