Fantastic Chupryna earns Presov comfortable win, Sporting take victory on home soilArticle
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GROUP C REVIEW: Igor Chupryna shines to help Presov secure a fine win over Besitkas, before Sporting CP cruise to a big victory over Metalurg

Fantastic Chupryna earns Presov comfortable win, Sporting take victory on home soil

Slovakian side Tatran Presov returned to the VELUX EHF Champions League with a comfortable win over Besiktas Mogaz in their opening group match as Ukraine national team goalkeeper Igor Chupryna made the biggest impact, helping Presov secure points against the odds in Turkey.

In the second match on Saturday, Sporting CP cruised past HC Metalurg after a tight first half to secure a high-scoring victory in their VELUX EHF Champions League Group C opener.

• Tatran Presov prevailed in the match of the two 14-time champions of their respective countries
• Goalkeeper Chupryna made the difference on the court with 11 saves
• Tatran increased their head-to-head record against the Turkish side to 3:0
• Carlos Ruesga and Fabio Chiuffa inspire Sporting to a high-scoring win with six goals each
• Metalurg prove a tough test for their Portuguese hosts only in the first half

Besiktas Mogaz HT (TUR) vs Tatran Presov (SVK) 22:28 (10:13)

With neither side able to take control of the match in the opening period it took Roman Tsarapkin’s strike in the eighth minute to give the Slovakian champions the lead - an advantage they would hold onto throughout the game.

Combined with five fine saves from their goalkeeper Igor Chupryna, this was the edge the visitors needed despite the best efforts of Ramazan Done keeping the hopes of Besiktas alive throughout the first half with four goals. But the home side's lack of competitive handball was obvious as they lacked confidence and efficiency in the final phase of their attacks.

Presov profited from back court goals and despite bad defending in the central area, Chupryna made Besiktas' attack look toothless. Chupryna was excellent in one-on-one situations from the line and, most importantly, he delivered when the team needed it the most.

Mufit Arin's Besiktas team could not pick up the momentum after the break as Presov controlled the game, who then increased their lead midway through the second half as they were played more compactly than their opponents and had more options on the bench to rotate their players.

Tolga Ozbahar had the most to say for the hosts, but his four goals were not capitalised on thanks to three two-minute suspensions which halted the progress of his side. Presov's dynamic rhythm was interrupted later though when Jakub Hrstka was disqualified for a foul on Ozgur Sarak, but the Turkish champions were unable to respond with the final period fully under control of Slavko Goluza's team.

"Unfortunately, we did not execute well both defensively and offensively today," said Besiktas' coach Mufit Arin after the game. "Our opponents kept the game under control from the start and did not allow us to get back into the match. Their defence and goalkeeper played an excellent game."

Sporting CP (POR) vs HC Metalurg (MKD) 34:26 (13:13)

The atmosphere in Pavilhao Joao Rocha reflected on the important occasion that was the return of the VELUX EHF Champions League to Lisbon. The most western city of the group phase witnessed a quality match of two very different halves to conclude Group C’s action on Saturday.

Though they are starting the season without big names in their roster and with realistic ambitions to match, Metalurg provided a tough test for coach Hugo Canela’s team.

Metalurg coach Danilo Brestovac did a good job preparing for the Sporting game, since Metalurg had the upper hand throughout the first half, but five from the Sporting wing Pedro Solha helped keep the hosts level at half-time.

Sporting increased their intensity in the second half, improved the efficiency of the back court and capitalised on well-playing wings – suddenly, it was difficult for the visitors to keep up. A number of technical faults and deadly fast breaks killed the game, with Sporting adding goals till the last whistle sounded.

The vocal fans, singing throughout the 60 minutes, were an additional boost for the on-fire Sporting players. Experienced Spanish centre back Carlos Ruesga stood out with six goals for the home side, but the impact from the wings, namely Fabio Chiuffa and Ivan Nikcevic, was crucial to the success.

TEXT: Tomas Cuncik/amc/cg