PSG qualify for FINAL4, despite home draw against ZagrebArticle
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MATCH REVIEW: For the first time in history, PSG Handball qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4, despite the draw at home to RK Zagreb.

PSG qualify for FINAL4, despite home draw against Zagreb

PSG had the best start in the game, with Thierry Omeyer ready to win. His saves allowed Samuel Honrubia and Nikola Karabatic to excel during fast-breaks and after 11 minutes, Paris was leading 6:3.

But then Zagreb decided they weren't going to make it easy for their opponent and narrowed the gap. Passes to the lineplayers, Tin Kontrec and Leon Susnja, were successful and soon the two teams were even 11:11 after 22 minutes. Unfortunately for HC Zagreb, this run would not last.

After scoring four goals in a row, Paris went back to the dressing room at half-time with a three-goal advantage at 16:13.

The impression to begin the second half was that PSG had already their heads in Cologne. With Mikkel Hansen on the bench, Noka Serdarusic chose the option to give some playing time to William Accambray, but in the absence of Danish scoring machine, his team's play was less efficient.

On the other hand, Zagreb was pressing with their lineplayers, and appeared quite successfully, as well. Ten minutes after the break, both teams were once again even (20:20).

Zagreb even took the lead, thanks to Stipe Mandalinic and Luka Sebetic from outside shoots. Leading 27:25 with only 12 minutes remaining, it looked like the Croatians would be the first team to win on Parisian soil this season. To prove a point, Sebetic gave his team a three-goal advantage (31:28) with only four minutes from the end.

But PSG was not about to lose this game in front of their fans and called all their forces  to battle. Mikkel Hansen scored three times in the final minutes and with that, PSG managed to tie the score at 32:32. Winning by an aggregate of 60:52, for the very first time, the Parisian squad qualified for the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

Noka Serdarusic, PSG coach, confirmed that his team was already focusing on the FINAL4, but gave Zagreb credit for a very strong game. He added, "Being in Cologne means that we belong to the four best teams in the world, but we won't be able to play there how we did today or we'll face a huge disappointment."

Veselin Vujovic, the coach for HC Zagreb, believes that "PSG is the favourite in Cologne because they have the best players and the best coach. With regards to the game itself, the result might have been a little bit different if we hadn't lost by so many goals at home last week."

TEXT: Kevin Domas/tm