Flensburg beat Celje with late run
SG Flensburg-Handewitt ended their VELUX EHF Champions League group phase campaign with a hard-fought 29:26 win over RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko on Wednesday.
Flensburg had an up-and-down game, but a late run which prevented Celje score for 10 minutes helped them seal the victory.
Celje can still join Flensburg in the Last 16.
- line player Johannes Golla scored six goals in the first half and eight in total for Flensburg
- Flensburg are sure of finishing fifth at least, and maybe fourth if Aalborg do not beat Elverum this weekend
- Celje could earn their first Last 16 berth in six years if Zagreb fail to win against PSG in Paris
SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) 29:26 (15:12)
Celje could have secured their Last 16 berth with a point against Flensburg, but the German side was also in the hunt for the two points, as they could have moved closer to the fourth spot in the group.
But this was no easy task for the German side. As Flensburg shook off a six-game losing streak in early 2020, they still had trouble scoring.
However, they found a pair of flawless hands in German line player Johannes Golla, who scored six of his team’s first nine goals.
Yet Celje somehow managed to stay close, as two strong defences clashed. But Flensburg steered clear in the dying minutes to take a 15:12 lead into the break.
As the German side stood steady, Celje relied on 18-year old right wing Tim Cokan, who scored five goals.
But a 3:0 run spurred by back Matic Groselj helped Celje tie the game, 23:23, with only 12 minutes to go.
A meagre 50 per cent shot efficiency took Flensburg down, but the German side’s experience and depth proved decisive in the end.
Their own 5:0 run between the 48th and the 58th minute sealed the deal, as Celje failed to score, with missed shots and turnovers piling up.
Flensburg recorded their seventh win of the season, but must wait until Aalborg’s game against Elverum to see if they finish fourth or fifth.
Celje are currently sixth and will progress to the Last 16 phase only if Zagreb do not win against PSG.
"The task was very hard"
Celje coach Tomasz Ocvirk said his team knew that "the task was very hard, because we have young and unexperienced players. I’m proud of them, because they showed a good performance today."
His Flensburg counterpart, Maik Machulla, praised the Slovenian opponents.
"They are young and got the power to go over 60 minutes. They believed in their chances," Machulla said. "We wanted to win the match, that’s what we did, so I am very satisfied."Author: Adrian Costeiu / ew