Last-second goal hands Montpellier win over Kielce
It was not easy, it was definitely not pretty, and it was not for the faint of heart, yet Montpellier secured a superb victory against PGE Vive Kielce in the VELUX EHF Champions League Match of the Week after left back Mohamed Soussi scored the winning goal with two seconds left on the clock.
The 25:24 result means that Montpellier are now third in the group, with 13 points – one more than Kielce, who are relegated to fourth with the loss.
after being eliminated from the group phase last season, Montpellier have secured a Last 16 berth with three rounds left thanks to this Match of the Week win
the French side snatch the two points, despite having an unexpected 49 per cent attacking efficiency
Montpellier left wing Hugo Descat is the top scorer, with 10 goals – enough to earn him the Player of the Match award presented by Select
the French side host Meshkov Brest next week, while Kielce welcome Porto
MOTW: Montpellier HB (FRA) vs PGE Vive Kielce (POL) 25:24 (12:14)
Consistency is key in the VELUX EHF Champions League and neither Montpellier nor Kielce have shownenough this season. Yet, ahead of the round 11 clash, the two sides were in a fight for third place in the group and this matchup was always going to be interesting.
Hosting the Match of the Week for the second time this season, Montpellier had a strong start of the game, jumping to a 5:2 lead. But after a 3:0 run for Kielce, the match was level and the two sides went toe to toe.
The Polish team had four EHF EURO champions on the court, but missed Croatian playmaker Igor Karacicdue to an injury. His absence was there to be seen, with Kielce lacking the creativity that Karacic usually provides in offence.
The Polish champions relied too much on right back Alex Dujshebaev, however, another 3:0 run helped them open a 11:9 gap. Although the visitors had a superb 72 per cent shot efficiency, they were let down by the six turnovers in the first half.
Another 3:0 run for Montpellier prompted the fourth lead change of the game, with left wing Descat inflawless form, scoring five goals from five shots in the first half. But Kielce ended with their own 3:0 run, the fourth of the game, to take a 14:12 lead at the break.
Three consecutive saves from Kielce goalkeeper Andreas Wolff were quickly followed by three goals from Descat, who was relentless in attack, to put Montpellier back in the lead, 16:15. From that point on, Kielce never reclaimed the upper hand, but Montpellier also failed to open a gap larger than two goals.
Montpellier’s goalkeepers Marin Sego and Kevin Bonnefoi made the difference with five saves in the last 10minutes of the match. It was Tunisian left back Mohamed Soussi who ultimately sealed the deal, however.
With the pressure on, Montpellier had the last attack and timed it to perfection. Soussi scored the final goal with two seconds left on the clock, with a powerful shot that saw Wolff without reaction between the posts.
“I’m satisfied to have won this match. Games against Talant’s [Dujshebaev] teams are always a tactical battle as well as being a hard physical contest,” said Montpellier coach Patrice Canayer following the game. “We were strong in both defence and attack in the money time at the end.”
The 25:24 win meant that Montpellier leapfrogged Kielce in the standings, with the French side moving intothird place with 13 points, one more than Kielce.Author: Adrian Costeiu / cg