Montpellier continue winning streak, Motor claim important points against BesiktasArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: Porte scores the late winning goal for Montpellier as the French side make it six wins in six matches, while Pukhouski’s season high score seals Motor’s victory in a crucial battle for second spot

Montpellier continue winning streak, Motor claim important points against Besiktas

Montpellier HB stayed on top of VELUX EHF Champions League Group D after clinching a win over Sporting CP in the last seconds of an unexpectedly difficult match on Saturday night, while HC Motor Zaporozhye claimed what might be the most important win of the Ukrainian teams’ campaign.

• Motor take a major step towards securing Group D’s second play-off spot
• Barys Pukhouski records his season best with eight goals for Motor
• Montpellier make it six out of six after overcoming Sporting CP
• Valentin Porte scores Montpellier’s winning goal with three seconds remaining

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) 28:22 (12:11)

The Ukrainian Champions took an important step toward securing second place in the group thanks to a convincing win over Besiktas.

Döne goals

It was a close encounter in the first half, though the hosts started stronger. Ramazan Döne, the main attacking firepower for Besiktas, was back at his best as the Turkish side managed to narrow the home side’s lead to one goal at half-time.

Improved defence

Led by reliable Gennadiy Komok, Motor improved their defence to build on their lead early in the second half.

Döne was well marked and it was extremely difficult for Besiktas to find space in the back court. Nemanja Pribak and Döne were forced to play through the line player or fire shots from difficult positions.

Counter attacking threat

Counter attacks were a major weapon for the hosts, especially after Besiktas lost many balls under the pressure of the Motor defence.

One man that stood out for Besiktas was goalkeeper Karim Hendawy. The Egyptian international made several crucial saves from close range to keep the hopes of the visitors alive throughout the game.

But Motor did not allow any potential comeback, unlike in the previous meeting between these sides in Istanbul, and finished with a comfortable victory.

Montpellier HB (FRA) vs Sporting CP (POR) 33:32 (16:17)

One of the most in-form teams at the moment, Montpellier HB, extended their winning streak to six with a rather dramatic victory over Sporting CP.

"I’m very pleased to have won this match against a very good opponent. The crowd saw an intense match," said Montpellier coach Patrice Canayer. "We had problems reading the game, notably in defence, where we lacked commitment. They came with a strong plan, stuck to it and caused us problems. This was a real Champions League battle against a club which is multi-sport, but whose handball section is on the rise. We need to progress further defensively. Individually we have quality but we need to improve tactically."

A tough test

Few would have thought Sporting had a chance to gain points from this game. But positive team spirit combined with concentrated tactical display and quality defence from the visitors meant it took 60 minutes of hard work for Montpellier to prevail.

Nikcevic tallies 11

Frankis Carol was the main attacking threat from the back court, while Ivan Nikcevic was the man to watch out for on the wing. With their help, Sporting CP fought back to level the score in the second half only for game to be decided in the final 10 minutes.

Hero Porte

Nikcevic scored the last three goals for Sporting CP, all from penalty throws, but Montpellier had the final attack in the game and took full advantage of it. Valentin Porte scored the winning goal with three seconds remaining on the clock.


Montpellier made their record six wins from six matches in the group phase and lead Group D comfortably with 12 points – four points clear of Motor Zaporozhye. Sporting CP are fifth in the provisional standings with four points.

Montpellier are now two wins away from equalling their longest winning run in the competition, recorded in 2016/17.

TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / cg