Strong home displays advance Motor and Meshkov Brest to last 16Article
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KNOCK-OUT REVIEW: Motor Zaporozhye and Meshkov Brest beat La Rioja and Skjern respectively to move into the last 16.

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Strong home displays advance Motor and Meshkov Brest to last 16

HC Meshkov Brest beat Skjern 27:23 the second leg of the VELUX Champions League Group C+D play-offs. After the draw in Denmark (31:31) that was enough for the Belarusian team to advance to the last 16, 58:54 on aggregate.

Elsewhere Ukrainian champions HC Motor Zaporozhye also secured a place in the last 16 overcoming Naturhouse La Rioja in the second leg 39:37, following their 31:30 victory in the first.

HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN) 27:23 (14:11)

In the next round, Brest will play against the second-placed team in Group B. The first leg will be played between 14 and 20 March, while the second leg will take place between 21 and 27 March.

Skjern were in trouble after the opening stages of the game in Brest. The home side demonstrated solid defence, only allowing the Danish side to score their first goal after eight minutes.

By that time Brest were leading 3:0, and they looked confident for the rest of the first half. After 20 minutes, Sergei Bebeshko’s team had a five-goal advantage, and even though they could not maintain, they were comfortably ahead at half-time, 14:11.

In the second half Skjern desperately tried to make a comeback. It seemed that the Danes were about to draw level. The Brest goalkeeper Vitali Charapenka, who had been brilliant in the first half, began to make mistakes. He was replaced by Ivan Pesic, whose saves helped the hosts to regain confidence.

Belarussian international Dzmitry Nikulenkau said: "Today was not only for Brest but for the whole Belarus. It was a real wonderful game and every player contributed to it."

Siarhei Shylovich scored six goals for the Belarusian side, while Lasse Mikkelsen and Lasse Myrhol were the top scorers for Skjern with five goals.

HC Meshkov Brest head coach, Sergey Bebeshkom, said: “It is a historic day for us. Half of our success belongs to our fans who gave us a fantastic support. With that kind of support, we can beat any opponent."

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs Naturhouse La Rioja (ESP) 39:37 (21:16)

Barys Pukhouski, proved to be the key figure over the course of the two legs. After scoring 10 in Spain, he added another 10 in Brovary.

Alvarez Rodriguez sent La Rioja into lead at the end of fifth minute, but Jota Gonzalez's side waited another seven minutes to score another goal.

Jota Gonzalez took a time out at 8:4 after Barys Pukhouski scored, however he was not able to stop the home side's superior attacking force.

Motor lead by five goals lead at half-time (21:16), with high shooting efficiency and strong back court efforts suggested La Rioja were going to struggle to overcome their opponents.

The second half was smartly controlled by Motor. Valentyn Koshovy and Gennadiy Komok made several fantastic saves to keep themselves ahead of La Rioja.

The Spanish club couldn't close the gap. Jota Gonzalez had to throw caution to the win, but even with an extra player, Vigo Gerpe who top-scored for La Rioja with seven, the deficit was too great.

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev, Tomas Cuncik / gs