Besiktas victorious in Skopje, Motor clinch points in PortugalArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: Besiktas Istanbul achieved only their second VELUX EHF Champions League away victory with a storming performance over Metalurg, before Motor followed with a win against their hosts, Sporting.

Besiktas victorious in Skopje, Motor clinch points in Portugal

Thanks to strong goalkeeping by Karem Hendawy and a backcourt trio netting in 20 times, Besiktas Istanbul took their first VELUX EHF Champions League points of the season by beating Metalurg. Skopje remain on zero points after their opening defeat at Montpellier.

After a victory in Round 1, their new arena was not enough to help Sporting CP defeat HC Motor Zaporozhye. Patrik Rombel’s team took advantage of their experience and, with a great performance from goalkeeper Victor Kireev, beat Sporting by eight goals.

• The 31:27 win is only Besiktas's second away win in their history of competing in the Champions League group phase
• Tomislav Nujc and Ranazan Döne are Istanbul’s top scorers with seven goals each
• With 18 saves, Vitor Kireev shines in goal to help Motor control Sporting
• Edmilson Araujo (Sporting) and Igor Soroko (Motor) top score the game, with six goals each
• Sunday’s match was the first European cup game in Sporting’s new arena, Pavilhão João Rocha

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) 31:27 (14:14)

One week after their 26:30 home defeat against Sporting Lisboa, Besiktas showed a great comeback at Skopje. The win was only the club's second-ever group phase away victory, after they took the points from Braga in the previous season (28:27).

Metalurg stood strong for nearly 50 minutes, but finally lacked power and precision in attack.

It was the experienced stars such as line player Tolga Özbahar and back court shooters Ramazan Döne and Nemanja Pribak (a former Metalurg player), who led Besiktas throughout the whole match.

In the final stages, Tomislav Nujc started firing from all cylinders. Together with Döne and Pribak, Nujc formed a trio of back court players who netted in 20 times in total.

Until the last quarter of the match everything was still wide open. The lead had constantly changed in the first half, with a small advantage to Metalurg.

However in the last 10 minutes, Skopje - including their top scorer Halil Jaganjac (nine goals) - lost their patience in attack. Besiktas improved their defence and then decided the encounter with a 5:1 run for the decisive intermediate score of 28:24. The resistance of the hosts was broken.

Sporting CP (POR) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) 23:31 (11:15)

HC Motor Zaporohye started the game as favourites and capitalised on their experience to secure the win.

In the first minutes, Sporting’s 6-0 defence seemed to manage their visitors’ attack, but the equality did not last long.

Motor set the pace and soon started to control the score. Aidenas Malasinskas took responsiblity for changes in pace and organisation of Motor’s attack, while Sporting’s keeper Manuel Gaspar had trouble stopping the shots against him.

On the other side, Kireev saved Rombel’s team many times.

Edmilson Araujo was key for Sporting’s attack and did not let the difference in the score increase by more than four goals in the first half.

In the last second before the break, Janko Bozovic had the change to reduce the difference to three goals on a penalty, but Kireev saved the shot and Motor ended the first period with a four-goal advantage.

“Today, handball is all about defence and counter attacks. We knew that Sporting had really good players in attack and we did our work in the defence to stop them,” said Rombel after the match.


Kireev, Motor’s barrier

In the second half, Rombel’s team continued to control the game. Though Carlos Ruesga tried to speed up Sporting’s rhythm, the Portuguese side’s efficiency was not good enough to turn the game around.

With 14 minutes played in the second half, Motor already had a six-goal advantage. Sporting’s energy started to fade and Araujo was one of the few Portuguese players able to find a way to the goal.

In the end, the Ukrainian team recorded a commanding win.

Following the match, Sporting coach Hugo Canela talked about his team’s difficulties finding the goal: “As everybody saw, they killed the game when they had the opportunity to do it and we didn’t. I don’t know if it was because of their experience that we failed so much, but we missed many chances to score.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen/jh/cg