GROUP D REVIEW: Bucuresti end their home campaign with an impressive win against ABC/UMinho 35:29, their biggest-ever in the European premium competition.
Sajad Esteki helps Dinamo to historic win
Honouring the Romanian national day holiday today, Dinamo Bucuresti won their last home game in the VELUX EHF Champions League this season, 35:29 against ABC/UMinho, in convincing fashion thanks to an amazing game from new top scorer in the competition this season, Sajad Esteki.
Portuguese side ABC/UMinho extended their losing streak to five consecutive games, and are set to finish last in the group.
Sajad Esteki is now the top goalscorer in the VELUX EHF Champions League, with 68 goals in nine matches, three more than Magnus Bramming
The 26-year old Iranian back scored 14 times against ABC
Romanian side earnt their third win, closing in on Besiktas, who are third in the group
Dinamo’s 20th goal, scored by Mihai Asoltanei, was the Romanian team’s 400th in the VELUX EHF Champions League
Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs ABC/UMinho (POR) 35:29 (20:15)
Despite both teams already eliminated from play-off contention, the motivation was still high for Dinamo and ABC this evening.
Holiday on and off the court
The Romanian side hoped to end their home matches with a win, especially as today was a Romanian national holiday, while the Portuguese champions were hoping to avoid finishing in last place in the group.
While ABC may have had the upper hand after winning the first match this season between the two in Portugal, 34:32, it was Dinamo who enjoyed a brighter start in Bucharest.
The guests had a 3:1 lead, after miscommunication in Dinamo’s defence, but the Romanian side quickly turned the game on its head and never looked back.
With Iranian sharpshooter Sajad Esteki in fine form and eyeing first place in the top goalscorer ranking, the ‘Red Dogs’ jumped to a 12:6 lead, thanks to five goals from the 26-year old left back.
Esteki key for Dinamo
Two free-flowing attacks and a disregard to defence meant that both teams continued to score freely, with Dinamo five goals in front at half-time, 20:15, boasting an outstanding 87% shot efficiency.
Portuguese fight-back, not enough
Braga mounted a swift comeback in the first part of the second half, cutting Dinamo’s lead to only three goals, 23:20, but Sajad Esteki maintained his rhythm, keeping the Portuguese side at bay.
The game was all done and dusted after a 3:0 run in only 43 seconds, with Esteki scoring two goals and intercepting one important ball that saw Dinamo jump to a decisive 29:22 lead.
The Iranian powerful back scored a total of 14 times in his sides’ win and is now the top goalscorer in the VELUX EHF Champions League, with 69 goals, three goals ahead of Danish left wing Magnus Bramming, who is yet to play in Round 9 for his side TTH Holstebro.
Speaking after the match:
Eliodor Voica, Dinamo Bucuresti coach:
“I'm very glad that we won this match for our fans. I would like to thank them for the support that they've given us in all the games. We learned a lot from this experience and we hope to use this experience in the national championship.”
Alin Sania, Dinamo Bucuresti player:
“Everybody was relaxed because it was the national day of Romania, but it was more difficult to concentrate for us.”
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / amc