Athens and Turda on course for semi-finals
A.E.K Athens are in a good position to proceed to the Men’s Challenge Cup Semi-finals following their clear 32:25 win at home against Luxembourg’s HC Berchem in the first-leg quarter-final. In the opening half of the match on Saturday, the Greek home team seemed on the way to an even clearer win than the seven-goal result.
It did not take A.E.K. long to create a six-goal lead, 8:2, but the visitors managed to decrease the gap to four (17:13) before half-time. At the beginning of the second 30 minutes, Berchem intermittently reduced the distance to only three goals, at 17:14 and 18:15, before the hosts increased their lead again.
Challenge Cup 2016/17 runners-up AHC Potaissa Turda also have a strong chance to move on to the semi-finals, although their position is not quite as favourable as that of Athens. On Saturday, the Romanian team won the first leg 29:24 at home against FyllingenBergen.
The Norwegian visitors enjoyed the better start for an early lead of 4:2, but it did not take Turda long to turn the tide, and at half-time, the home team were only narrowly in front at 12:11. In the second half, Turda added another four goals to their advantage, which gives them a clear edge ahead of their visit to Norway’s second largest city next Monday.
11 goals from left back Elledy Semedo made an important contribution to AM Madeira Andebol SAD’s chances of proceeding to the semi-finals. The Portuguese side drew 27:27 away against Russian Dynamo-Victor in the first leg on Saturday. Challenge Cup top scorer Anton Otrezov increased his season tally to 63 when he contributed nine goals for Dynamo.
Madeira were dominant early in the first half, but after the hosts fought back to a two-goal half-time deficit at 12:14, Dynamo managed to secure a draw. Still, Madeira have the edge ahead of the return match at home on Saturday.
So far, the quarter-finals are not going particularly well for Russian teams in general. While Dynamo-Victor are taking a draw with them to Portugal, SKIF Krasnodar will have to fly to Iceland for their second-leg clash two goals behind IBV Vestmannaeyjar.
The situation could have turned out even worse for Krasnodar than the final result of 25:23. Vestmannaeyjar were quick to pull in front 7:1, but after trailing 15:10 at half-time, Krasnodar managed to draw level at 21:21 with 12 minutes left. In the last 10 minutes, however, the visitors created a narrow distance in their favour again.