|12.03.2017, 19:54||◄ last page|
GROUP B REVIEW: Macedonian giants Vardar celebrate their 100th appearance in the VELUX EHF Champions League with a hard-fought home win over Kristianstad, sending Zagreb into the knock-out rounds.
Vardar beat Kristianstad to send Zagreb into Last 16
IFK Kristianstad’s valiant effort to spring an upset in Skopje and reach the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 fell short after HC Vardar’s Vuko Borozan and goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik repelled the Swedish side's comeback – and brought Zagreb into the knock-out stage with the victory.
Kristianstad launch comeback
Battling to stay alive and in contention for a Last 16 berth, IFK never rolled over. Having fallen behind 13:19 early in the second half, the visitors launched an impressive fightback, which eventually fell just short of their objective to avoid defeat.
Sterbik and Borozan take charge
Vardar coach Raul Gonzales congratulated Kristianstad for their attacking play.
"We started with very solid defence, which forced them to make some technical mistakes and we scored from the counter attacks," he said. "But in the second half we didn’t continue with the same determination, we were little bit relaxed while they played fully motivated."
“I was a little bit afraid, because Kristianstad is an excellent team with a quality players," added Vardar goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik Capar. "I like their attractive style of playing. We won our previous clash in Sweden, we won last year but they were always competitive and they proved this again today.
"For us, this game was similar with our visit to Brest last week. We didn’t have full motivation since we secured the first place, but we knew that we had to play for the fair play."
Kristianstad coach Ola Lindgren praised Sterbik's performance and that of his own team.
"They were in advantage from the beginning until the end of the game. From the other side, we pushed them permanently and I think we were close in some stages, but we never managed to level the score," he said.
"I’m a little bit disappointed for our young team, because we wanted to go to the next round. We didn’t start the game as we planned since we failed to play the first half as we wanted, especially in defence. In the second half we improved a lot, both in defence and in offence and we actually had chances."
TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / cg