Nantes squeeze past Dinamo, Besiktas biggest-ever win, Motor on trackArticle
«Go back

GROUP D REVIEW: HBC Nantes top the group with Besiktas one win behind and Motor another further down thanks to all three dispatching Dinamo, ABC/UMinho and Holstebro

Nantes squeeze past Dinamo, Besiktas biggest-ever win, Motor on track

While Besiktas and Motor earned dominant home wins over Holsterbro (36:27) and ABC/UMinho (27:23) respectively, Dinamo and Nantes produced a closely contested game which saw the French side take back the lead in the final 10 minutes and win 27:26 to achieve their fourth consecutive win in the group.

For the likes of Dinamo and ABC/UMinho, there is now no room for error in the second part of the group, with their tally of four points pegging them back.

  • Besiktas’ previous best wins were by a two-goal margin against Alsingas (2014), HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb (2015) and ABC/UMinho (2016)
  • Nantes lead the group with nine points, while Besiktas are second, with seven points and Motor third on five
  • The French side continued their impressive offensive displays, with a 71% shot efficiency
  • Motor’s second home win of the season came after a game in which the Ukrainian side never lost the lead


Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) vs TTH Holstebro (DEN) 36:27 (15:16)

After three successive defeats, the importance of the game against Besiktas could not be overstated for Holstebro.

The Danish team found life in the VELUX EHF Champions League strenuous, but Holstebro were adamant they could overcome their previous defeats and change the outcome of the European season.

Seven goals for Bramming in the first half

Motivated, focused and lively Holstebro produced their best performance in the first 30 minutes against Besiktas, as the Danish side employed their usual breathtaking attacking play, supported by a better-than-usual defence.

There was no shortage of drama, with six lead changes in the first 18 minutes, after both team exchanged several technical faults and bad passes. It was Holstebro who managed to open the first three-goal lead in the 28th minute, mainly thanks to Magnus Bramming’s flawless performance, as the current top goal-scorer of the VELUX EHF Champions League scored seven goals in the first half.

Danish collapse in the second half

An 8:2 partial that started in the last minute of the first half and extended through the 38th minute was the start of Holstebro’s undoing. The notoriously unreliable defence and a plummet in the attacking efficiency from 65% to 56% percent saw Besiktas take back the lead and jump to a 20:18 lead, thanks to Ramazan Döne and Nemanja Pribak; the same go-to players from the last matches.

Only one goal scored by Holstebro between the 33rd and the 48th minute left the guests without any chance to come back, as Besiktas jumped to a six-goal lead, 25:19. Holstebro collapsed in the last ten minutes, in which their defence did not try hard enough, while Ramazan Döne and Faruk Vrazalic were unstoppable, finishing the game with 8 and 6 goals respectively. While Besiktas’ previous four wins came by a combined seven goals, this time the Turkish side enjoyed a nine-goal success against Holstebro, who are seeing the chances of progressing slimming from game to game.

Said after the game:

TTH Holsterbro Head Coach, Patrick Westerholm:  
“We did well in the first half, but then failed to respond their 7-0 run in the second half. I am really dissappointed with the score and hope to make up for it future games.”

TTH Holsterbro player, Simon Ellergaard:
“The simple mistakes and penalties we made in the second half  cost us the game. We need to be more focused in the games ahead.”

Besiktas Mogaz HT Head Coach, Müfit Arın:
“We struggled to display our usual game in the first half, but thanks to our defence and determination, the second half was a completely different story.”

Besiktas Mogaz HT Player, Ramazan Döne:
“After a poor first half, we got back into the game in the second half and took advantage their mistakes. We must be more consistent in the future games.”

Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 26:27 (15:11)

Dinamo’s lack of wins in the last two matches did not put out the fire in their fans’ hearts, who came in numbers and helped their team go nip and tuck with Nantes.

However, the French side earned their fourth win in a row and improved their chances to progress to the next round, after a 27:26 win.

Nantes in early trouble

After a disappointing start two rounds ago against Besiktas, Dinamo were forced to play catch-up and finally snatched a point against the Turkish champions. The lesson was learnt by Eliodor Voica’s players and Dinamo enjoyed a brilliant first 20 minutes, that saw the “Red Dogs” take a 12:8 lead. With Sajad Esteki again in fine form, the hosts relied on Grigoras’ saves that produced a flurry of counterattacks, finished by pacy wings Asoltanei and Cimpan.

The French comeback

While Nantes tried to mount a comeback, the French side did not find their rhythm from the previous four rounds, with Klein, Gurbindo or Claire failing to score against an impressive Grigoras. But everything changed after half-time, with an alreadt witnessed Dinamo collapse taking place. Undermanned by a two-minute suspension, Nantes’ big guns came out firing, having a 3:0 partial, and tied the game at 17, with 20 minutes remaining on the clock.

Amazing efficiency for Nantes during crunch time

With only five goals scored in the first 19 minutes of the second half, the “Red Dogs” looked like they were out of steam and Nantes were there to take advantage. A string of saves by Dumoulin, including a 7-metre throw from Asoltanei, saw the French side take the lead in the 50th minute, 21:20. While Dinamo’s defence was far from what they showed in the first half, the hosts managed to stay in the game thanks to Sania and Sandru, the latter scoring all his five goals in the second half. However, the French side’s experience and impressive shot efficiency – 71% for the whole game and not one shot missed in the last eight minutes – were enough for Nantes to snatch their fourth consecutive win, 27:26.

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs ABC/UMinho (POR) 27:23 (13:9)

Their bad start against Besiktas forced Motor to climb a mountain in the last round of VELUX EHF Champions League matches as they lost narrowly, despite drawing level so a revised game plan against their Portuguese opponents today was needed.

ABC stopped by Motor’s defence

The Ukrainian side immediately benefitted from the different approach; passes went direct to their wingers and this, combined with centre back Barys Pukhouski slowly coming back to last season’s form were the main reasons that Motor jumped to a 7:3 lead after 13 minutes.

The Motor defence was also stellar containing one of the best attacks in the competition to just nine goals in the first half, but the hosts’ shot efficiency plummeted too, with a modest 52% accuracy that provided 13 goals, but it was not enough to move clear as a partial 4:1 run from the visitors brought ABC back into the game.

No chance for ABC

While ABC’s attacking efficiency improved in the second half, the Portuguese side could not rely on Nuno Pereira’s powerful shots as the left back had an off night, scoring just five goals from 10 shots.

Motor did enough to maintain their advantage from the first half with veteran right back Sergey Shelmenko virtually unstoppable by ABC’s defence beaten five times by Pukhouskias his side went on to take the game 27:23.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu/tm/amc