|11.09.2008, 14:11||◄ last page|
The Italians need a six-goal victory at home against Crvena Zvezda.
Casarano believe in success against Crvena Zvezda
Italian clubs have never passed the group phase of the Champions League. They reached altogether nine times this round of the competition since 1993 when the Champions League was launched.
It means that Italy – a country making improvement every year, still without great handball traditions – had no team in the group phase on five occasions including the last two years…
Accordingly Italgest Casarano and all the handball fans in Lecce in Puglia region are looking forward to the second leg of the Champions League Qualification Round 1 against Crvena zvezda from Serbia.
The first match in Belgrade finished with a home victory (26:21), which means that Casarano will need to win with at least six goals (or five if the Serbian champions will not score more that 20 goals).
“We believe we can do it,” this is the common thought of all the players and the coaching staff of Italgest Casarano after the first game.
The Italians played a good first match, they were behind by three goals at half time (13:10), that was the difference after 15 minutes of the second half, but Crvena zvezda managed to increase the lead to 26:19 and had the chance to beat the rival with the big goal-difference.
Still, Casarano scored two goals in the final minutes to keep the chances alive.
“We played a good first game. But we have to forget the first match, we are focused on the Saturday’s game. We must think positively. We know we are still not out of this competition and we believe in our abilities,” said Francesko Trapani, coach of Casarano.
Casarano are preparing well against Crvena zvezda. The coaches are doing their job and the club also does everything to host a big number of supporters. They even arranged buses for the fans from Casarano to Lecce, where the entrance will be free.
“Since we returned home we analysed the mistakes made in the first match and in the remaining two days we will work hard to eliminate them. On Saturday we expect a warm welcome in the hall from our supporters,” added Francesko Trapani.
In the mean time, Casarano signed a new player. Damir Opalic, 34-year old Croatian middle back also holding an Italian passport. Opalic arrives from the Spanish side Algeciras. The players, however, can’t play against Crvena zvezda as it is notpossible to register a player between the matches of the same round.
Finally, the Italian champions have a new president from Wednesday – the famous TV star Gianni Ippoliti.
“I hope I can do it and that I can coordinate this job with my other professional obligations,” said the new president of Italgest Casarano.
photo on top: © Carmen Panico, www.italgestpallamano.it
TEXT: Saša Jončić