Nantes fight off Skjern comeback to make VELUX EHF FINAL4 debutArticle
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QUARTER-FINAL REVIEW: HBC Nantes overcame an impressive comeback from Skjern Handbold in the second leg of their quarter-final and are ready for their first VELUX EHF FINAL4.
 

Nantes fight off Skjern comeback to make VELUX EHF FINAL4 debut

HBC Nantes are through to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 for the first time after winning the duel of the quarter-final debutants against Skjern Handbold after a 27:27 draw in the second leg.

However, the French team had to work hard for the aggregate win, as the home team turned a five-goal deficit from the first half into a four-goal lead shortly after the break.

•  Nantes reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 for the first time
•  Nantes lead by five goals three times in the first half, Skjern by four twice in the second
•  Skjern went undefeated through their eight home matches in the competition

QUARTER-FINAL, SECOND LEG
Skjern Handbold (DEN) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 27:27 (12:15)
Nantes win 60:54 on aggregate


Whichever team made it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4, they would be making history.

As things turned out, Nantes were the team to take the final step towards Cologne, but they hard to work harder than they probably expected after their dominance in the first half.

With a six-goal first leg lead, the French side were aiming to settle the result already in the first half at Skjern Bank Arena.

Thanks largely to a stellar performance by Cyril Dumoulin in goal and inventive attacking play, Nantes took an early 6:2 lead.

After several four-goal leads, the visitors increased the lead to five goals, partly due to a series of Skjern mistakes, but the home team managed to reduce the deficit to three goals by the break.

Skjern came flying out of the dressing room, scoring the first four goals after the break to earn their first lead of the match at 16:15 and it took Nantes almost eight minutes to score their first goal of the second period.

Skjern went four goals up at 21:17 and 22:18, at which point, the home team and the vast majority of the 3,264 spectators began to dream of Cologne.

A calm Nantes team came back, however, and as Edurdo Gurbindo reduced the gap to one in the final three minutes, it was clear that the visitors would progress.

Nantes even managed to equalise in the final moments, before celebrating their fine achievement, becoming the second French name in the pot for Wednesday's VELUX EHF FINAL4 draw in Cologne.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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