Fenix defence secures Last 16 spotArticle
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GROUP A REVIEW: Toulouse’s victory at Winterthur also lifts Irun to the knock-out stage
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All four Last 16 spots in group A were confirmed when the final whistle was blown in Winterthur tonight. Fenix Toulouse only needed one point to proceed, but their 30:27 away win at Switzerland was also celebrated by Bidasoa Irun, as the Spanish side now is a confirmed participant in the knock-out stage despite their defeat in Berlin earlier tonight.  

Pfadi Winterthur and TATRAN Presov remain on two points and cannot pass Irun anymore. Having ten points to their name, Fenix consolidated third place, four points below Berlin and Plock. 


Pfadi Winterthur (SUI) vs. Fenix Toulouse Handball (FRA) 27:30 (17:15) 

  • the duel of the former Serbian internationals Goran Cvetkovic (coach, Winterthur) and Danijel Andjelkovic (coach, Toulouse) was decided in the middle of the second half, when Fenix dramatically improved in defence, mainly thanks to Swedish EHF EURO champion Fredric Petterson 
  • Winterthur had turned a 9:11 deficit into a 14:12 advantage, and kept this gap until the half-time buzzer 
  • Moustafa Hadj Sadok (7) and Kevin Jud (5) scored 12 of Pfadi’s 17 goals before the break - and ultimately both were top scorers for their side with eight and seven goals respectively
  • in minute 45, Fenix managed to re-take the lead at 23:22 - and did not give up until the end - but it took until Nemanja Ilic’s goal for 29:26 in the final minutes, until the victory was confirmed 
  • netting eight goals at Winterthur, Ilic now is on 65 strikes as currently best scorer of the European League 

Biggest international success for Toulouse since 1999 

Last season, after a six-year absence from the European Cup competitions, Fenix Toulouse failed in qualifying for the Last 16 of the European League after a crucial defeat against Fivers from Vienna. In the 2014/15 EHF Cup season, they were eliminated in the qualification round against German side MT Melsungen - but now the team of head coach Danijel Andjelkovic managed to proceed to the knock-out stage for the first time since 1999. 23 years ago, Fenix made it to the quarter-finals of the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup - but then were eliminated by Vardar Skopje. If they remain in third, they will face the runners-up of group A, currently SL Benfica, in the Last 16. 

TEXT: Björn Pazen