Montpellier snatch point in MOTW thrillerArticle
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GROUP B REVIEW: Montpellier snatched a point in the dying seconds against Porto in MOTW, while Kielce right back Alex Dujshebaev scored 11 goals in their impressive 34:33 win against Veszprém

Montpellier snatch point in MOTW thriller

Games can be entertaining and pump up your adrenaline even when they are low scoring, and this is exactly what happened in round 6's VELUX EHF Champions League Match of the Week.

After nine lead changes, an early comeback from Porto and some amazing saves from the two goalkeepers, Porto extended their unbeaten run on their home court to nine games, but their former player, Gilberto Duarte, tied the game for Montpellier with three seconds to go, 23:23, and saved a point for the visitors.

Elsewhere in group B on Saturday, Alex Dujshebaev stole the show in a rematch of last season's semi-final between PGE Vive Kielce and Telekom Veszprém HC. The Kielce right back produced another vintage display to help his side earn a superb win against the Hungarian powerhouse, 34:33.

  • Duarte, who played for Porto for nine years, scored six goals in the MOTW and was named player of the match
  • Kielce (second) are tied with Montpellier on seven points in group B, while Veszprém (fourth) and Porto are both on six points
  • Kielce avenged last season’s semi-final loss against Veszprém, when the Hungarian side took a 33:30 win
  • Alex Dujshebaev top-scored for Kielce with 11 goals

MOTW: FC Porto Sofarma (POR) vs Montpellier HB (FRA) 23:23 (11:10)

Porto’s home good form was well documented, having earned all five of their points this season on home court, and hosting Match of the Week would surely added to their poise and grit against Montpellier.

Indeed, Porto scored the first goal, but a strong Montpellier defence got the better of Porto in the next six minutes. Former Porto player Gilberto Duarte scored twice in the empty net to build a 5:0 run for Montpellier, who cruised to a 5:1 lead. But a well-taken timeout from Porto’s coach Magnus Andersson kick-started a comeback for the Portuguese side, who tied the game, 7:7, after 14 minutes.

Taking out the goalkeeper and playing seven on six was risky for Porto, but the Portuguese side got their share of luck with three empty net misses from Montpellier. In attack, Porto did their job – and they held an 11:10 lead at the break.

Montpellier’s attack scored five goals in the first seven minutes and only five in the next 23 of the first half, causing their shot efficiency to plummet to 48 per cent, but the French side’s defence kept them in the game.

There were six lead changes in the first 20 minutes of the second half, with neither able to open a two-goal gap. Porto’s Alfredo Quintana and Montpellier’s Marin Sego worked wonders in goal, and every mistake was duly punished.

But when Porto lost defensive stalwart and best scorer Victor Iturriza to a red card in the 50th minute, it appeared that it was an uphill struggle for the Portuguese club.

Yet the Portuguese side grabbed the lead once again and had an attack with 30 seconds left. However, even with Valentin Porte out due to his third suspension, the hosts could not capitalise on their advantage.

Former Porto player Gilberto Duarte intercepted the ball and scored against his former team-mate Quintana to hand Montpellier a point, leaving the Dragao Arena stood in silence with the scoreboard tied at 23:23.

FC Porto coach Magnus Andersson was still proud of his team, despite the match ending in a draw.

“It was a really tough game. Everybody knows that we had some strong players injured, and I did not have the whole team. It’s really bad to lose one point at the end of the game. But I can only be proud of my team," he said.

Montpellier left back Jonas Truchanovicius complimented Porto and Portuguese handball after the match.

“This match was difficult for both teams, we knew it was going to be a physical and tuff match - there’s no surprise there. FC Porto they have quality, (and) they are moving really fast and progressing in a really good way. Portuguese handball is really beautiful to watch,” he said.

PGE Vive Kielce (POL) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) 34:33 (17:17)

When two strong attacks meet, the potential for many goals skyrockets, so it was no surprise that the first half ended in a high-scoring 17:17 stalemate. There were no fewer than five lead changes in the first 30 minutes, as the two teams alternated superb moments with some huge misses. The two defences made some stops, but they generally struggled to contain their opponents – and the attack efficiencies read 68 per cent versus 74 per cent.

Veszprém’s depth largely kept them afloat over a long period of time, with eight different players scoring in the first half, while Kielce right back Alex Dujshebaev was in flawless form, scoring four goals from four shots.

There is probably no coach who knows Talant Dujshebaev better than his former player, David Davis, as the legendary Kielce maestro had Davis as a player between 2005 and 2013 at Ciudad Real and Atletico Madrid. But there was nothing that Davis could do to stop Kielce in the second half, despite throwing everything he had in the mix.

Veszprém tried almost everything but still fell short. Although right wing Dragan Gajic led the line, scoring seven goals, and backs Tönnesen and Rasmus Lauge Schmidt had good shooting days, once Kielce took the lead in the 33rd minute, 19:18, they were in control of the game.

Another vintage display from Alex Dujshebaev, Davis’s former team-mate in Ciudad Real, was on the cards, and the Spanish right back scored 11 times in total to lift his side past Veszprém. The Polish side led by four goals, 29:25, but, ultimately, they only managed a 34:33 win – their third win of the season.

The Hungarian side have lost both away games this season, which could prove a troubling pattern, especially as Kielce have leapfrogged them in the standings, with seven points.

"For the fist time in a history we won at home against Veszprém. We can be fully satisfied with that result, said PGE VIVE Kielce coach Talant Dujshebaev.

Telekom Veszprém's coach, David Davis was not pleased with his side's start. "Andreas Wolff and his saves in second half were the key to today result," he added.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / jw