Montpellier take top spot; Chupryna save earns Presov winArticle
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GROUP C REVIEW: Montpellier went top of the table, while a crucial save by their goalkeeper Igor Chupryna earned Presov an important win at Chekhovskie.

Montpellier take top spot; Chupryna save earns Presov win

Montpellier made an important step towards the elimination round for Groups C and D by beating Metalurg 30:24 in Skopje and taking top spot in the group, at least until Saturday evening.

Earlier Thursday, Chekhovskie Medvedi fought back from seven goals down (16:23) in the second half against TATRAN Presov but were denied a draw when Presov goalkeeper denied Dmitry Kovalev moments before the final whistle, securing the team from Slovakia a crucial 28:29 win - their first in an away game.

  • Montpellier grab top spot in group after Skopje win

  • Experience prevails over youth in first away win for Montpellier

  • Presov take crucial points from Chekhov thanks to fantastic Igor Chupryna

  • Presov already have more points on their tally than after whole 2015/16 campaign

  • First away win in head-to-head between Chekhov and Presov

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs Montpellier HB 24:30 (10:14)

One might call coach Lino Cervar's team young, but the Metalurg players feel privileged to be part of the elite competition. Despite the lack of experience, they could keep up with French powerhouse Montpellier for long spells in the game.

Nemanja Obradovic matched the opposition with 10 goals but lacked the support from his team mates. It prompted him to take too much responsibilities on his shoulders as he started shooting from unprepared positions.

First away win

Montpellier are struggling this term on away grounds, however today they made coach Patrice Canayer happy.

Supported by Vincent Gerard and Nikola Portner, Montpellier showed a solid team spirit as 11 players put their names onto the score sheet, including Gerard with an empty net goal.

Unlike in their previous matches Montpellier were consistent this time. Matheiu Grebille levelled Obradovic with 10 goals, but Montpellier were a threat all over the court.

The Macedonian team lacked goals from Taleski to add to ObradovicĀ“s tally. In the crucial moments quality prevailed on the French side, as there were no signs of slipups.

Montpellier won both halves and showed improvement as their summer signings are starting to deliver.

Post-match statements:

Patrice Canayer, Montpellier coach: "Metalurg played a very tough match, we knew that it would be hard to play here in Skopje. But I think we deserved this victory."

Jure Dolenec, Montpellier right back: "We had a lot of problems in the first half. Metalurg is a young team that play good handball, but I think we played better today and deserved to win."

Nemanja Obradovic, Metalurg centre back: "Montpellier was a favorite before the game, and they showed why they are candidates for the first two positions in our group."

Lino Cervar, Metalurg coach: "We played one good half. We controlled the game in that period, but we lost concentration and energy in the second half. We got carried away by emotions."

Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs TATRAN Presov (SVK) 28:29 (13:18)

The Slovakian champions take an important win from Chekhov to close the edge to the top of the group. Presov are on six points C with a home match against Montpellier next week.

Great effort despite defensive absences

Presov were forced to cope with big injury blows to their defensive system. Captain Radovan Pekar missed the game due to injury while Viacheslav Sadovyi spent most of the match on the bench.

On the other side, Chekhov played without Alexander Chernoivanov. The Russian attack was rather static with a lack of surprising moves.

Halfway through the first half, Presov were up by six goals so the home team realised they must change the defence to 5-1 or even 4-2. Defending Oliver Rabek one on one in the back court was essential.

Successful in quick transition

Chekhov played without classic lefties, and Dmitrii Santalov was the only strong force from the back court. Presov were successful in the quick transition forward and the second attacking wave worked better than on Chekhov's side.

More than 12 minutes without a goal in the second half was a step back for Presov. However, thanks to the great Chupryna in goal and the lack of attacking efficiency on the home side, Presov were always a small step ahead.

Chupryna's saves against Roman Ostashchenko and Santalov in the final minutes of the game were crucial, but the best was to come when Chupryna magnificently denied Chekhov captain Kovalev in the last seconds of the match.

TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / ew