Athens keep hopes alive; CSM in control
CSM Bucuresti have given themselves a very good chance to follow in the footsteps of fellow Romanian side AHC Potaissa Turda and qualify for the Men’s Challenge Cup Final, after a solid victory in Russia.
In the other semi-final, A.E.K. Athens also kept their hopes to reach the final for the second year in a row alive with a fine finish in Portugal.
CSM with the upper hand after odd game
CSM Bucuresti came away with a win after a rather odd away game against HC Neva SPb.
The Romanian team won 26:24 after a match, in which the teams took turns at scoring goals in series.
In the first half, six CSM goals in a row saw them open a 10:5 lead, but the home team answered with an 8:0 run to lead 13:10 – only to see the visitors hit back again with nine straight goals.
In fact, it took the Russian hosts more than 10 minutes to score their first goal after the break and although they narrowed the gap throughout the second half, they could not prevent a two-goal defeat, which leaves CSM in pole position ahead of the return match in Bucharest next Saturday.
Three late goals allow A.E.K. to hope
Scoring the final three goals away against AM Madeira Andebol SAD may turn out to be crucial for A.E.K. Athens in terms of keeping their hopes of reaching their second straight Challenge Cup Final alive.
With four minutes left of the match in Funchal, Madeira were leading 27:19, but A.E.K. managed to reduce the deficit to 27:22 before the final buzzer.
The guests struggled in front of goal from the start and it took them nearly seven minutes to score their first goal of the match.
At this point, Madeira were already leading 3:0 and the home team stayed ahead for the rest of the first half, although the distance was only two goals, 12:10, at half-time.
During the second half, however, Madeira took control and with four minutes left, the Portuguese hosts held their biggest lead in the match, 27:19, before A.E.K. managed to score the last three goals, which gives them a bit of hope for the second leg in Greece on Saturday.Author: Peter Bruun / cor