Kiel seal place in final despite slow start
The Danish Cup winners from TTH Holstebro were able to keep up with favourites THW Kiel for quite a long way in the first AKQUINET EHF Cup semi-final on Friday evening, but by the end, THH had to let go and accept that the favourites were too strong.
A strong performance by Niklas Landin in goal and a deeper squad were the main differences.
- Holstebro were leading for the first eight minutes
- Kiel´s largest lead in the match was seven goals
- Kiel’s switch to a 5-1 defence formation played an important part in their win
AKQUINET EHF CUP FINALS SEMI-FINAL 1
TTH Holstebro (DEN) vs THW Kiel (GER) 26:32 (14:16)
THW Kiel lived up to the expectations from their fans in the Sparkassen-Arena-Kiel and qualified for Saturday’s final, but it took them longer than they probably expected to create a deciding lead against a well-prepared and heroically fighting Holstebro team.
Through solid defending in combination with good goalkeeping by Sebastian Frandsen, Holstebro managed to take the initiative at the start. With a continuous fast centre, they were also able to put the Kiel defence under a certain pressure.
This enabled the Danish team to get an early 3:1 lead, and even though Kiel got up 13:9 and 14:10, the difference was only two goals at half-time.
Kiel coach Alfred Gislason continued to rotate his team as he had been doing throughout the first half, and slowly, the resources he saved that way started to pay off.
Furthermore, Holstebro had trouble with their fellow Dane Niklas Landin in the Kiel goal, and even though Simon Gade, who had replaced Sebastian Frandsen, did fine in the Holstebro goal, it was Kiel's game the rest of the way.
Much to the satisfaction of the crowd - except for the 300 Holstebro fans - THW got seven goals up, before Holstebro managed to reduce the gap by one goal at the end.
Kiel right wing Niclas Ekberg said afterwards: "The match turned out pretty much according to our plan. We knew that we were up against a fast team, and we had to get used to that. After spending the first half more or less adjusting to that, I think the match went as expected."
Holstebro goalkeeper Simon Gade said Kiel's switch to a 5-1 defence formation caused his side problems
"I actually think we had the opportunities to win this game, but we made too many technical mistakes, and it also played a part that they changed their defence into a 5-1 formation. We never really got to grips with that," he admitted.
Photo: © Axel Heimken
Author: Peter Bruun/jh