|03.12.2016, 23:40||◄ last page|
GROUP A REVIEW: The Oilers took the 24:24 draw against THW Kiel and in the MOTW, FC Barcelona Lassa secured the section’s top spot, after beating Paris Saint-Germain Handball in an epic clash.
Patient chase gives Plock a draw against Kiel, Barcelona head into winter break in pole position
Another surprise from Orlen Wisła Płock! The Oilers took the 24:24 draw against THW Kiel in Sparkasse Arena, proving that the result from three weeks before was not as accidental as it seemed at the time. The result brought them an important point in the context of maintaining their sixth position in Group A, while tied for third place, the Zebras stayed put watching their rivals gaining another point with them.
During the Match of the Week, FC Barcelona Lassa treated their passionate fans to a memorable evening, after a 35:32 home win over Paris-Saint Germain Handball, in a heavyweight clash that lifted the Spanish side to the group’s pinnacle. The contest featured an array of household names and was decided in the last 10 minutes, when the home side pulled away thanks to superior attacking.
THW Kiel (GER) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 24:24, 15:9
Such matches show how unpredictable sport is! Just like Zagreb managed to come back in the game against Rhein-Neckar Lowen two days ago, Orlen Wisla Plock, despite huge difficulties over 45 minutes of the match, managed to fight for one very important point against THW Kiel. Thus, the German team failed to take revenge from the match three weeks before.
Prior to the game, Piotr Przybecki warned that a lot would depend on Domagoj Duvnjak’s disposal. It seemed that from the very beginning, the Croat wanted to mark his presence on the court, opening the match by scoring twice in a row. But that was only a little prelude to the heavy symphony of goals that the Zebras composed for the guest as a welcoming gift to Sparkassen Arena.
Huge domination of Zebras led by Domagoj Duvnjak
For seven minutes, the Oilers did not manage to score a goal, losing the ball in the positional attack, which was ruthlessly used by the hosts in the counter-attack. Neither time could their own coach, nor a penalty opportunity, could help them, as Niklas Landin did a good job between the posts. Finally, Lovro Mihic found a way to the German goal, but it was already 5:1 for THW. In the course of the first half, the hosts extended the lead up to seven goals with huge contributions of Domagoj Duvnjak and Rune Dahmke.
Even though the Oilers’ defence was not as bad in general, the Polish runners-up were powerless in the attack. Their simple mistakes and some throws targeted directly at Landin did not leave too much to do for Rodrigo Corrales. Thanks to his attitude and periodic pick-me-ups from his teammates, the first half finished with a six-goal lead for THW Kiel 15:9.
Patient chase brings the Oilers the draw
After the break the Oilers, woke up and decided to take the matter into their own hands. The signal was given by Gilberto Duarte, who reduced their deficit to 15:11. Wisła Płock had even the chance to come closer, but then Tiago Rocha did not utilize his two ‘100% situations’ - a penalty and a one-on-one situation, thus Kiel soon came back on their tracks.
The game accelerated its tempo. The guests were pushing in their aggressive defence and step-by-step, it was bringing results. After scoring four goals in a row, the boys of Przybecki reduced their loss to 22:19 and six minutes before the last whistle, they were only one goal behind the Zebras (24:23). Domagoj Duvnjak was amazing during the match, but appeared to start having problems with defeating the guests’ goalkeepers – both Corrales and Marcin Wichary. Finally, thanks to the patience and the last eight scoreless minutes of THW, Orlen Wisla Plock managed to fight the draw 24:24, which gave them one very important point.
Barcelona, the winners of nine titles in the continent’s premier club competition, prevailed after a baffling tactical decision by PSG Coach, Zvonimir Serdarusic, to confine his top scorer Mikkel Hansen to penalty-taking backfired in no uncertain terms.
The match got underway after Barcelona’s former playmaker, Nikola Karabatic, received a standing ovation from the home fans and the Frenchman wasted no time in reminding them how crucial he was in helping the Spanish side to their last VELUX EHF Champions League title in 2015.
Karabatic pulled all the strings for Paris-Saint Germain Handball at both ends of the court in the first half; scoring and dishing out assists in attack, while also acting as a defensive pillar.
With Barcelona’s top scorer Kiro Lazarov subdued early on and Wael Jallouz carrying the brunt of the weight in attack, PSG used their deep roster to devastating effect as they engineered a 9:6 lead midway through the opening period.
Barcelona were able to get back on level terms at the interval, however, as their goalkeeper Moreno Perez de Vargas pulled off a string of superb saves while the inexplicable absence of Hansen, who was a mere spectator except for taking seven-metre penalty shots, began to hamper PSG’s attacking options.
Barcelona jumped into the driver's seat in the second half, as Lazarov rediscovered his scoring touch and the home side quickly carved out a two-goal advantage (18:16), which set the tone for the rest of the rip-roaring contest.
With visiting goalkeepers struggling to contain the Macedonian left back and his team mates, PSG had to play catch-up for most of the second period and at one point it seemed they might come away with something from the Blaugrana Arena, when a 4:1 streak allowed them to tie the score at 25:25 midway through the second half.
That, however, was as good as it got for them. With Hansen still on the bench and the young Nedim Remili enduring a torrid evening, as he missed all his seven shots from the floor -- having netted 9 goals in the reverse fixture between the two teams -- there was no way back for PSG after they fell behind again.
The irrepressible Lazarov kept hammering in the goals from all angles and the support cast chipped in whenever his movement opened up space on either flank, leaving the visitors with an impossible mission to plug all the holes.
The writing was on the wall for PSG after Valero Rivera gave the home side a 29:26 lead and they had little difficulty in maintaining it until the final whistle, when the home crowd erupted in joy.
Lazarov finished as the game’s top scorer with nine goals from 11 shots, while Jallouz added six from nine attempts for Barcelona. Immaculate penalty-taking allowed Hansen to finish with seven goals for PSG and the versatile Karabatic scored six, but the Dane’s absence in open play ultimately proved costly for the visiting team.
TEXT: Magda Pluszewska/Zoran Milosavlijevic/tm