Motor earn important draw, Sporting takes convincing winArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: Sergey Shelmenko was Zaporozhye's hero after tying the game against Chekhovskie Medvedi with two seconds left, and Sporting clearly outscored Besiktas

Motor earn important draw in dying seconds

With their hopes of qualification all but over, after losing the first five matches of the campaign, Chekhovskie Medvedi surprised their opponents for the second week in a row, this time drawing against Motor Zaporozhye 30:30.

A time-out well taken by Motor with eight seconds to spare helped the Ukrainian side come up with the play which earned them the draw.

With nine points after seven games, Zaporozhye boast a four-point advantage ahead of Metalurg and Besiktas in second place, both teams with a game in hand, while the Russian side remain in last place and will not be progressing to the play-offs.

Sporting knew it has to keep both points in Portugal when hosting Besiktas, and they did just that with a clear 34:27 win.

·       Dmitrii Santalov was Chekhov’s best scorer yet again, with 10 goals
·       The six-point difference between Motor and Chekhovskie means that the Russian team is out of contention for a play-off berth
·       Motor next play Sporting, who took a convincing win over Besiktas


Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) 30:30 (15:17)

Buoyed by last week’s win against Metalurg, the Russian bears were trying to ignite a winning streak to end their campaign on a high after losing five times in the first five games.

But a more experienced Ukrainian side took control of the game early, boasting a 7:4 lead after only nine minutes.

With one of the worst defensive records in the VELUX EHF Champions League, the hosts could hardly stop their opponents, who mixed their attacks and were threatening from all positions as eight players scored in the first half.

A 63 per cent shot efficiency in the first half was enough to put Motor in front at half time, 17:15, while back Dmitrii Santalov confirmed his good recent form, putting six past the Ukrainian side in the first 30 minutes.

Motor ran into a dry spell after the break, scoring only three times in the first 14 minutes of the second half, allowing Chekhovskie to take the lead, 21:20, with the attacking prowess shown by both teams in the first period nowhere to be found.

The Russian side held the lead up until the dying seconds of the game, but Motor had the possession with eight seconds to go. A play devised  in a time out for right back Sergey Shelmenko was enough for the guests to score with two seconds left and claim a point.

Sporting CP (POR) vs Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) 34:27 (17:12)

The Portuguese side recorded a very important win, which keeps them in the play-off race as they move onto third place.

Sporting's attacking department deserved the praise after the match against Besiktas. Pressure from the back court from Frankis Carol and Edmilson in combination with the skills and experience from Ivan Nikcevic helped the Portuguese side build a lead early on.

Pedro Portela added necessary danger from the right wing as Sporting were elastic in the offensive combinations, using the width of the court effectively.

Aljosa Cudic added important saves as Sporting's defence improved and built on their performance from the Montpellier game last week.

With the loud support of their enthusiastic fans, Sporting held onto the high level of play throughout the full 60 minutes. Besiktas were impatient as they failed to find the rhythm, falling behind firmly in the second half. Ramazan Döne was the only player to match the highest criteria with seven goals as he confirmed his status of the best scorer of the Turkish side, and best scorer of the match.

Besiktas have now been four matches without a win. Besiktas lacked offensive organisation and produced far too many technical faults.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cor, ew