|15.02.2009, 18:40||◄ last page|
The Hungarians pay tribute to Marian Cozma by winning a battle against Ademar.
Veszprém overcome tragedy
However, this game was not only about the two points or about the Main Round ranking table. The players, fans and the club of Veszprém lost the Romanian Marian Cozma exactly a week ago in a tragic incident in a restaurant where the player was stabbed to death.
As the manegement and players of Veszprém decided to play the Champions League game according to schedule and not to postpone, the players had little time to mourne their friend.
As Lajos Mocsai, coach of the team, put it: ”We had six trainings this week, three of them acceptable preparation for this level.”
The players travelled to Romania for the funeral of Cozma on Friday by plane and they had to be mentally and physically ready for the game on Sunday.
The fans paid their tribute to Cozma with a silent march through the city of Veszprém just before the game. Thousands have joined and arrived to the sports hall with 45 minutes before throw-off.
Before the game
The game began in a special atmosphere. Fans dressed in black, farewell message to Cozma and a present from Ademar. Both teams entered the court in applause – even if it was unusually respectful for all athletes. And of course, as every other game, it began with a minute of silence.
Fight for the two points
Veszprém and Ademar have fought a tough and fair battle. It was interesting to see the reactions of the players in every situation where usually you get arguments or some quarell. This time it also happened, but a friendly handshake also followed.
The hosts started better and held on to the lead in the entire first half. At one point they even took a five-goal difference, which was quickly equalised by Ademar.
Goalkeeper Peric was in a superb form once again and Eklemovic and Vujin were dangerous whenever they had the ball.
Then came Perez, G. Iváncsik and Eklemovic and the hosts could keep the two points at home with a 28-26 at the end.
Tears of the winners
Winning is not always easy to take. While the full house of Veszprém Aréna gave all the players standing applause, some of the players burst in tears.
The fans and the players celebrated together and dedicated the victory to the late Marian Cozma.
Veszprém coach Lajos Mocsai is never short of words, but today he also struggled to talk about handball:
”This was a very difficult task and we could only face it because these are highly intelligent players. The game today had to send a message with the means of sport.
”It is sad that such a tragic event had to show people what a fantastic value Marian Cozma was as a person.
”The team played for each other today and I have to thank the fans who joined the 'Peace March’ through the city.
”The game today ended with a Catharsis and though I took part at many World Championships and Olympic Games, this match today will remain the most difficult and most memorable handball game of my career.”
Photos: Courtesy of www.sporthirado.hu
TEXT: Balázs Nemcsik reporting from Veszprém