First wins for Granollers, Saint-Raphael and YstadArticle
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REVIEW: Granollers, Saint-Raphael, Ystad and CSM Bucuresti take their first points in the group phase in the Men's EHF Cup.

First wins for Granollers, Saint-Raphael and Ystad

Fraikin BM. Granollers recorded their first win in Group A of the Men’s EHF Cup when they defeated Aalborg Handball 31:25 in Denmark – but the victory came only after they were close to losing a clear lead again.

Saint-Raphael Var Handball took a hard-fought 31:29 home win against SKA Minsk in Group C, while Ystads IF made an impressive comeback to defeat Helvetia Anaitasuna 32:31 in Group D.

Also in Group D, CSM Bucuresti earned their first point through a 25:25 draw at home against Chambery Savoie Handball.

Aalborg Handball (DEN) vs Fraikin BM. Grannollers (ESP) 25:31 (11:15)

In the first group match at home against Dinamo Bucuresti, Granollers let go of a 10-goal lead to lose the match 29:28. This Saturday in Gigantium Arena, Aalborg, the Spanish team came close to losing another clear lead.

Granollers were leading by seven goals, but the home team reduced the distance to just one before the visitors ultimately decided the matter in the own favour.

Granollers got the far better start and quickly moved in front to 7:1. No matter how far Aalborg pushed their defence forward, Granollers managed to create fine scoring opportunities while benefiting from numerous technical mistakes on Aalborg’s part in defence, which earned the visitors several goals on counter attacks.

Granollers held a decisive seven-goal advantage at 11:4, and it took Aalborg coach Jesper Jensen two time-outs in the first half before his team began to minimise the deficit.

In the second half, the Danish supporters found new hope as the hosts came within one at 22:23, but it was not enough and in the end, Granollers proved to be the better, smarter team on the day.

“Our approach to this match was completely unacceptable. If I could explain it, I could make millions as a psychologist,” said Aalborg’s Swedish left back Emil Berggren. “Of course, we have many injuries, but still, we should have brought much more energy into the match.”

Saint-Raphael Var Handball (FRA) vs SKA Minsk (BLR) 31:29 (17:16)

Saint-Raphael managed their first win in the group phase, but they had to work hard for the two points in Palais des Sports JF Krakowski.

Minsk, who opened their group phase campaign with a 31:27 win at home against Pfadi Winterthur, appeared eager for another win and started the match in France better, leading 3:1 early on.

But Saint-Raphael soon took over, and created a three-goal difference at 8:5 and 9:6 before Minsk came back to equalise at 9:9 then claimed the lead again at 11:10.

The home team fought hard, taking another three-goal advantage only to see their opponents reduce the difference to just one goal at half-time.

The second half developed the same way, with Saint-Raphael being three goals up time after time, only to see Minsk equalise again and again.

By the final whistle however, the hosts had managed to stay two goals up and win the equal game.

Left wing Raphael Caucheteux scored seven goals for Saint-Raphael, while centre back Aliaksandr Padshyvalau and left back Uladzislau Kulesh scored five each for SKA Minsk.

Ystads IF (SWE) vs Helvetia Anaitasuna (ESP) 32:31 (13:17)

Kim Andersson was back in his old role as a shooter when Ystad made a fabulous comeback from several five-goal deficits to claim their first win in the group phase.

The 33-year-old former EHF Champions League winner with THW Kiel has been bothered by a shoulder injury for parts of the past four years, but this Saturday in Österporthallen in Ystad, the experienced right back returned as a goal-getter, scoring nine goals from 11 attempts.

This meant a lot to Ystad on a day where their talented 19-year-old left back Lukas Nilsson was not successful with his shots.

When the match began Anaitasuna quickly created a 3:0 lead before Ystad found their rhythm.

The first period and start to the second half were fairly equal, though the visitors were five goals up several times before Ystad started their impressive comeback, which gave them a one-goal win at the end.


“We were surprised by their fast attacking play. We knew they played fast, but it went even faster than we expected,” Ystad coach Sebastian Seifert said. “However, we managed to reduce the deficit goal by goal by taking things easily.”

“I am satisfied with our effort, especially in the first half,” said Anaitasuna´s coach Juan Apezechea. “We wanted to find our play, because it has not been so good in Spain. [But] I am not satisfied with the result, of course.”

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Chambery Savoie Handball (FRA) 25:25 (12:12)

CSM earned their first point in the group phase when they shared the points with Chambery after a very close and equal match in front of 2020 spectators in Sala Polivalenta Ioan Kunst Ghermanescu in Bucharest.

The teams took turns at leading by one goal for almost the entire first half, and it took 27 minutes before either could create a two-goal difference.

The two-goal score line occurred for the first time when Melvyn Richardson made it 12:10 for Chambery, but at half-time it was all equal again at 12:12.

The equality continued after the break, but now it was CSM´s turn to lead by two goals, on several occasions. But when the final whistle blew, the score was equal again.

For both sides it was the left back that were the top scorers. Croatian Damir Bicanic scored nine goals for Chambery; one more than Spanish Javier Humet Gaminde and Serbian Sasa Marijanac scored for CSM.

“I am happy with my players, they managed to play very well from the first to the last minute,” said CSM coach Zvonko Shundovski.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cg