Russian Bears earn second victory, Motor dominate MetalurgArticle
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GROUP D REVIEW: Sporting never led in a game in which Medvedi impressed with their offensive prowess, while Motor beat Metalurg easily

Russian Bears earn second win of the season

Chehovskie Medvedi proved they may have something going on with their second win of the season against Sporting. In the second match of Group D, Motor, having already secured a play off berth, claimed a convincing win in Skopje against Metalurg.

  • Maxim Kuretkov was Medvedi's best scorer, with eight goals
  • Line player Tiago Rocha scored nine times for Sporting
  • Chehovskie and Metalurg are level in fifth place with five points
  • Sporting are fourth, with six points
  • Motor recorded their biggest win of the campaign


Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs Sporting CP (POR) 30:27 (16:13)

There was only one objective left for a young Chekhovskie team as round 9 got underway - to avoid finishing in sixth place for the second year in a row.

However, the ambitious Sporting were also trying to end their first season in the VELUX EHF Champions League after a 16-year hiatus on a high.

Therefore, it was no surprise that both teams employed a free-flowing rhythm, as their high scoring efficiency took the score to 9:8 after only 14 minutes.

While line player Tiago Rocha always found the space between the opposing defenders and scored six times for Sporting, it was still the Russian side who ran the show, jumping to a 16:13 lead after 30 minutes.

A 5:2 run to throw off the second half saw the Bears tightening the grip on the game. The lead proved to be unassailable, as Sporting could only cut the gap to two goals, with Medvedi prevailing 30:27.

Chekhovskie's head coach Vladimir Maximov said afterwards: "Our fans have long been waiting for a Champions League victory at home."

His goalkeeper Dmitry Pavlenko added: "The match was a copy of the previous match in Portugal. The first time the hosts led with a good margin, and in the second half the hosts relaxed and the guests overtook. Only at that time we overtook and were guests, and today we changed roles. It's good that we kept the advantage until the end of the match and were able to win."

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) 22:30 (11:16)

Motor Zaporozhye secured a fine win against HC Metalurg, who gave little resistance against the more quality opponent. The Ukrainian side were sure of a second place finish abefore this game, but a convincing win and a good performance against Metalurg will be a boost ahead of the end of the group matches and upcoming playoff.

It was a rather chaotic display from the hosts in the opening minutes. Their defence could not stop Motor’s effective back court play while the offensive line struggled against the agile defence of Motor.

Coach Aleksandar Jovic clearly clarified the home team’s problems during an early Metalurg time out, saying: “We are not aggressive enough in the back. No compactness.”

Motor’s goalkeepers Anton Terekhov and Viktor Kireev saved three seven-metre throws in the first half to help the Ukrainians build a five-goal lead at half time.

In the final seconds of the first half Metalurg missed the chance to come close. Darko Dimitrievski´s goal was disallowed only for Evgenyi Buinenko to score Motor’s 16th. Dimitrievski found his form in the second half, but even his five goals, witnessed by former Metalurg coach Lino Cervar, could not make a difference for the hosts.

Motor increased their lead throughout the second half as the Macedonian club looked defeated. There was very little determination and fighting spirit to make things more difficult for the opposition. Motor coach Patryk Rombel had the opportunity to give playing time to all his 13 outfield players, with 12 of them scoring at least one goal.

Jovic said Motor's win was "absolutely deserved".

"Motor dominated us during the whole game in both ways, attack and defence," he said. "We played very badly in defence and also in attack, we made a lot of technical mistakes. I feel very bad because we didn’t fight until the end of the game. We have a very young team and some players need to realise that they have a lot of playing time, but they didn’t justify their minutes."

Rombel said Metalurg had surprised Motor in the fourth round, when they drew, but had prepared better for the return bout.

"We knew that we were going to have a tough match in Skopje. Metalurg surprised us in the first match with their game "7 on 6", but we trained for this match to stop their game and got the expected result," Rombel said.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu & Tomas Cuncik/jh