Second win against Kielce earns PSG ticket to CologneArticle
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QUARTER-FINAL REVIEW: PSG finish the job started with a six-goal win in the first leg, recording a home victory in the second-leg quarter-final to secure their third straight participation at the VELUX EHF FINAL4
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Second win against Kielce earns PSG ticket to Cologne

After winning by six in the first-leg VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-final in Poland, Paris Saint-Germain Handball recorded a second victory on Saturday, 35:32, in a packed home arena. Though Kielce did their best to turn the tables, leading by three at the beginning of the game and then again by two in the middle of the second half, they ultimately fell short, giving PSG the opportunity to travel to Cologne for the third season in a row.

“We knew Kielce would want to turn things around and we were prepared for a tough fight. We didn’t play well at the beginning, but we improved quickly,” said PSG right back Nedim Remili. “In the end, we’re really happy to go back to Cologne once more, and this time, we want to lift the trophy.”

• PSG win the two-leg quarter-final with a nine-goal aggregate advantage to become the first confirmed semi-finalists
• It is the fourth victory for Paris against Kielce this season
• In a battle of right backs, Nedim Remili scores nine for Paris and Alex Dujshebaev nets five for Kielce

Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs PGE Vive Kielce (POL) 35:32 (17:15)
PSG win 69:60 on aggregate

Leading by six on aggregate at the beginning of the game, Paris seemed not to know what to do with their advantage: Full-on attack as if the first leg never happened, or simply keep the lead intact without giving their opponents too much?

Kielce had the better start, preventing Paris from scoring for the first three minutes. A fast break from Blaz Janc gave the visitors the first true breakthrough on the score board, 4:1. The Polish side retained the same advantage for the first part of the opening half, making the best of Parisian turnovers to score fast-break goals.  

But while Paris were clearly shaken, goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer kept his teammates’ heads above water with some important saves. Kielce could not increase the gap, and once Paris found their rhythm, a 3:0 series pulled them in front to 11:9 after 20 minutes. Nedim Remili and Mikkel Hansen were particularly effective with long-range shots, leading PSG to a two-goal advantage at the half-time break.

The second half was a tense affair: Head to heads, two-minute suspensions, tough defence – everything was set for a thriller. Kielce did everything in their power to reclaim the upper hand on the scoreboard. Eight minutes after the break, the visitors took charge thanks to two goals in a row from Alex Dujshebaev – and when, after 41 minutes, Kielce were still ahead, 23:21, everything was still to be decided.

But, with the same assurance they displayed in the first leg, Paris finally won the battle. Rodrigo Corrales was impenetrable between the posts, while Kielce coach Talant Dujshebaev changed his line-up with little effect.

As the final whistle neared, line player Jesper Nielsen and Remili drew Paris level then led their team to a decisive breakaway. When youngster Edouard Kempf pulled the home side in front by five with four minutes to play, it was clear PSG were on their way to Cologne once more.

“I want to congratulate Paris, they were the better team again tonight. We played a lot better than in the first leg, and I'm proud of my players,” said coach Dujshebaev. “Tonight, we had the opportunity to have a better advantage at the beginning, but we missed too much. We’ll try to come back better next season to go to the FINAL4 again.”

TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg