|03.12.2016, 21:00||◄ last page|
GROUP B REVIEW: Szeged overcame an early deficit to beat Celje comfortably and go top of the section ahead of Sunday's clash between title holders Kielce and Vardar.
Källman shines as Szeged sink Celje to go top
Szeged overcame a slow start against Celje to brush aside their Slovenian rivals 27:22 and leap into the group’s pole position ahead of Sunday’s heavyweight clash between Kielce and Vardar.
MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) 27:22 (15:10)
Szeged headed into the two-month winter break on a high note after a superb performance from their Swedish import, Jonas Källman, gave them a resounding home win over Celje on Saturday.
The visitors from Slovenia made a bright start but a furious 6:0 streak by the Hungarian giants midway through the first half turned the match for good.
Celje held their own well in the early stages as they carved out a two-goal lead (3:1 and 8:6) thanks to some inspired play by Ziga Mlakar, who carried a lot of weight on his shoulders due to the absence of their star player Blaz Janc.
However, a short lapse in Celje’s concentration was all Szeged needed to swing the match their way, scoring six unanswered goals to take a 12:8 lead with a barrage of fast breaks.
Källman was particularly impressive with five first-half goals, with Slovenian Stas Skube netting three from as many shots against his compatriots.
Janc’s absence began to bite at the other end of the court as Celje’s attack was ground to a halt.
Very brief revival
The second half produced more of the same as Szeged held their own comfortably, although Celje enjoyed a very brief revival shortly after the break when they slashed the deficit to three goals (16:13 and 18:15).
Aware that they needed to move up a gear in order to stay in their comfort zone, Szeged did exactly that as they upped the pace and restored their five-goal advantage (22:17).
Both teams seemed to go through the motions in the last 15 minutes as Szeged stayed on course and ran out easy winners, with Celje resigning to their fate.
Källman led Szeged with six goals, while Stas added five from as many shots and Matej Gaber, another Slovenian playing for the Hungarian side, chipped in with four.
Celje winger Luka Zvizej led all scorers with seven goals from seven attempts, Borut Mackovsek netted five and Mlakar finished with four.
Juan Carlos Pastor, Szeged coach: "We have won a very important match today. We made several mistakes in the first 20 minutes but the defence got together. The attitude was excellent today, but we have to improve the discipline on court."
TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / ew