Confidence and honour appear in best quotes of the weekArticle
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TOP 5 QUOTES: Coaches and players reflect on this week’s matches as it is crunch time in the VELUX EHF Champions League with only one round left to book Last 16 tickets
»2018-19 Men's News

Confidence and honour appear in best quotes of the week

For those teams that haven’t do so yet: the battle for VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 spots is reaching its summit.

Only two teams have been eliminated for sure. So the penultimate round of the group phase as well as the first leg of the group phase knockout provided handball fans with a lot of drama and excitement over the past few days.

No wonder coaches and players wanted to share their emotions and opinions after their matches. Here are the five best quotes.

5. Oleksandr Kasai, HC Motor Zaporozhye left wing

“It was an honour for me to play against such a team. Those were my first 5 minutes in the VELUX EHF Champions League and I will not forget them.”

The VELUX EHF Champions League is mostly a competition for experienced players. But sometimes a youngster gets the chance to fulfil his dream and play a few minutes. And while Zaporozhye earned a large win against Skjern, Kasai made his debut in Europe’s top flight.

4. Sebastian Skube, Bjerringbro-Silkeborg centre back

“Before the game we would have signed the contract with this final score. We are very pleased.”

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg returned to Denmark with a good result, winning by four goals (26:22) against Orlen Wisla Plock in the first leg of the group phase knockout. This might not mean that they have qualified yet, but obviously the players, like Skube, were happy to have delivered such a performance.

3. Thierry Anti, HBC Nantes coach

“It was important for our team’s mind to play better than we did during the first phase. We used both tactics and some madness to win the game.”

Nantes won their second straight game, beating MOL-Pick Szeged 29:26 in the Match of the Week. Last year’s finalists can still hope to finish third in Group B and according to their coach, they have been playing way better in 2019 than they did last year.

2. Bannour Amine, Dinamo Bucarest right back

“The atmosphere was amazing, worthy of a Champions League match. The supporters from both sides put a lot of heart into the game and they created a great atmosphere.”

Sporting CP and Dinamo Bucarest have some of the hottest fans in Europe, and they all created an impressive atmosphere on Saturday for the first leg of the play-off. Expect more of the same for the return leg in Romania on Thursday.

1. Valentin Porte, Montpellier HB right back

“I’m confident we can believe in ourselves to go through and prove some of our critics wrong.”

A few weeks ago, the defending champions seemed out of contention for the Last 16. But even after their home defeat against group winners Barça Lassa (36:28) this weekend, Montpellier can still qualify with a win against Vardar on Saturday. And captain Valentin Porte is confident his team can rise up to the challenge.

TEXT: Kevin Domas / ew