Skjern remove the wasps' stingArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: Danish side take third position at the EHF Cup Finals thanks to their goalkeeper Sören Pedersen in a close match against Velenje
»2014-15 Men's News

Skjern remove the wasps' sting

Like in the premiere of the EHF Cup Finals 2013 in Nantes, a Danish club finished with bronze. After Team Tvis Hosltebro two years ago, this time it was Skjern Handbold in Berlin. However, the team of head coach Ole Norgaard had to break an extremely resistant opponent in Gorenje Velenje and the final result does not reflect the rundown of the game.

EHF Cup Finals, 3/4 placement match:

Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN) 22:27 (13:12)

Rarely has a 3/4 placement match of a final tournament seen a greater atmosphere. Both fan sides and the neutral spectators created plenty of noise and a great backing for both teams. In the initial 15 minutes Velenje were boosted much more by this atmosphere. Thanks to the eight saves of goalkeeper Benjamin Buric (in total 16) and the creative ideas of playmaker Stas Skube they had full control of the match, leading 10:5.

But things changed completely. Skjern's defence and goalkeeper Sören Pedersen improved, while Velenje lost their confidence and rhythm completely. The Danes, who had to replace their towering shooter Nikolaj Markussen due to a back injury, reduced the gap goal by goal, while the “wasps” did not score for twelve minutes. The score was level at 10:10, before Michal Skyba ended the goalless period of Velenje. After a tale of two different halves in the first half, Velenje were ahead 13:12 at the break.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Velenje kept the lead, partly with a three-goal advance, with relative comfort. Still both goalkeepers were the pillars of power in a match now on the edge and full of speed and unforced errors on both sides.

When Lasse Mikkelsen netted his fourth goal, the result was level again at 19:19 in minute 46, and as Velenje missed their next two shots against Pedersen, the Danes took their first lead at 20:19, thanks to Henrik Möllgaard.

Although they had suffered plenty in two intense matches against physically stronger opponents within 24 hours, Velenje did not give up, but constantly Pedersen stood in their way.

Finally the deal was sealed for Skjern, when Daniel Svensson struck for his fifth individual goal to make it 23:20, five minutes before the end, followed by the a finish from Rene Toft Rasmussen.

We are quite satisfied to beat a good opponent. It was a tough game for us as Velenje were running very fast, which made it difficult for us. But we managed to improve our defence and Velenje only scored three times in the last 15 minutes, this was the key," said Skjern coach Ole Norgaard.

The only win Velenje could take was the top scorer title for Skube, who added four goals in the placement match to end the EHF Cup season on 81 strikes.

"It was a hard tournament for us, but it was nice to play Füchse and Skjern, two good teams. We started well, but then we had some black holes, when we did not score. Skjern improved the defence, and thus we lost," said Skube.

Top scorers in the match were Möllgard, Morten Christensen, Svensson (all Skjern) and Mario Sostaric with six goals each.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor