Nantes win Group D after easy win against ABCArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: A win for Nantes against ABC means that the French side win the group and set up a play-off against Naturhouse La Rioja

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Nantes win Group D after easy win against ABC

With their future resting solely in their hands, HBC Nantes thoroughly disposed of ABC/UMinho in the last game of Group D to comfortably win a group they dominated from the start of the competition.

The French side will meet Naturhouse La Rioja in the play-off, with a ticket to the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League waiting for the winner. That spot will be determined after a doubleheader in the first two weeks of March.

After a dominating win against Dinamo Bucuresti, Besiktas Mogaz HT completed their best season to date in Europe's top competition, finishing third in the group with 11 points.

  • Nantes will meet Naturhouse La Rioja, the second-placed team from Group C, for a place in the Last 16 of the competition
  • Motor Zaporozhye will play tomorrow without any pressure, as Nantes’ win sets up the Ukrainian side for a game against Montpellier in the play-off
  • With their fifth win this season, Besiktas finished third in the group, their best-ever season in the VELUX EHF Champions League
  • Dinamo’s lack of depth and experience was the Romanian side’s undoing, as the “Red Dogs” ended fourth, with three wins and two draws


ABC/UMinho (POR) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 29:34 (13:18)

There were no advanced mathematics involved in the final game of the group for HBC Nantes. The answer was simple: if they beat ABC/UMinho, the French side would win the group.

Despite a break of almost two months, Nantes dominated the game against the Portuguese champions from start to finish.

Without top goal scorer Nuno Pereira, who left for Creteil this winter, ABC’s offensive concepts lacked speed and creativity, while Nantes took advantage of their opponents’ woes.

Experienced players like Dominik Klein and world champion Guy Olivier Nyokas proved to be nearly unstoppable, as Nantes produced a 67 per cent shot efficiency in the first half to open a 18:13 lead at half-time.

Straightforward win for Nantes

With the Portuguese defence unable to stop Nantes, the French side soon enjoyed a seven-goal lead, 22:15, which proved to be decisive as the time ran out.

A 4:1 run for ABC kept the hosts in the game, but their turnover prowess was their undoing, as Nantes managed to capitalise on their opponents’ mistakes and score easy goals through Klein and Nicolas Tournat on fast breaks.

The guests did their best to avoid a Portuguese comeback, with Klein, David Balaguer Romeu and Nyokas leading their team to a comfortable win.

The French side did not disappoint in their maiden VELUX EHF Champions League season, with eight wins in total.

Following an impressive start to the group phase, ABC faded towards the business end of the group. Today's result sees them finishing last after a six-game losing streak that began with a loss to HC Motor Zaporozhye in November.


Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) vs Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) 29:27 (14:12)

The memory of Besiktas Mogaz tying the game in the last second in the first leg was lingering for Dinamo Bucuresti, as the Romanian champions ultimately paid the price of their lack of experience and focus.

Both teams were out of contention for the play-offs after disappointing away games, but they were motivated in the closing game of the group, with third place still in play.

Dinamo failed to manage to channel their inner fury in the first 15 minutes, with a flurry of turnovers and defensive mistakes seeing Besiktas off to a 8:4 lead.

As Besiktas was cruising to an easy win, Dinamo toughened up their defence and reduced the lead to only one goal, 10:9, with a 3:0 run, thanks to a seven-minute stint without a goal for the Turkish side.

A 7:3 run to throw off the second half saw Besiktas earn an unassailable 21:15 lead.

Dinamo with no answer for Pribak

More composed in attack and stingier in defence, Besiktas kept their cool as Nemanja Pribak and Ramazan Döne ran riot over Dinamo’s defence.

In the end, the Turkish champions earned a 29:27 win, stopping a comeback by Dinamo.

With an impressive 11-point tally, the Turkish side capped off their best ever performance in Europe's top competition. Besiktas won four of their five games at home, adding to one away win against ABC/UMinho and the earlier draw against Dinamo.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / jh