PSG edge Dunkerque in an all-French tieArticle
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PSG come away with a one-goal win in a tight encounter in this Last 16 head-to-head

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PSG edge Dunkerque in an all-French tie

With Hansen and Omeyer on their best form, Paris Saint-Germain showed their experience in the dying minutes to clinch a one-goal win over their French rivals in the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League.


Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) 23:22 (15:15)
46:43 on aggregate to PSG

In a sold-out hall, it was PSG who got off to the better start.

Two saves from Omeyer right at the beginning set the tone, and Mikkel Hansen was also on his best form. Finding gaps from the backcourt, the Dane was well assisted by Honrubia, who didn't miss a thing on the left wing.

After 15 minutes, PSG were leading 9:7. But this good period had to come to an end.

Thanks to some two minutes suspensions for their opponents, Dunkerque players started to find their rhythm and pulled it even at 12:12 after 23 minutes and after two fastbreaks by Theophile Causse, the visitors had every reason to believe in qualifying, leading 15:13 two minutes before half-time.

Two goals by Marko Kopljar and Honrubia made things even before the whistle, and both teams went to the dressing room tied 15:15.
The beginning of the second half turned out to be the game's turning point. Two suspensions for Dunkerque players allowed PSG to score three times in a row, and Kopljar gave his team the biggest lead so far in the game, 18:15 after 35 minutes.

After that, PSG concentrated on controlling the pace of the game.

Hansen was precise enough on seven meters to keep the lead, as was Omeyer between the posts.

However, Dunkerque took the opportunity to put the pressure on once again.

A couple of saves by William Annotel put Dunkerque ahead seven minutes from the whistle (22:21).

But this last minute rush proved to be not enough, and a last-minute (23:22) goal sealed PSG’s qualification.
Of course, Patrick Cazal wasn't happy with the results: "In the first leg, we could have had a draw and lost by two goals, and tonight we missed too many shots in the final stages of the game. This is the difference between a team who plays at this level for the first time and one that has players used to it."

Philippe Gardent, on the other side, praised his players for "their concentration and their dedication to the defensive project. We defended hard in both games, and our key players hit the mark just when they needed to. We'll have to be better in the next round, facing even better teams than Dunkerque."

Top scorer for PSG was Mikkel Hansen with nine goals, while Baptiste Butto hit the net eight times for Dunkerque.

TEXT: Kevin Domas / bc