Granollers upset GOG to send Holstebro to quarter-finals
TTH Holstebro defeated Liberbank Cuenca in Men’s EHF Cup Group C on Saturday to put pressure on GOG for their last match in Group D on Sunday: the team from Godme needed a draw against already-eliminated Fraikin BM. Granollers to grab the last quarter-final ticket.
But GOG could not stand the heat in Spain, and the 34:31 home victory for Granollers made Holstebro jump for joy.
GOG's comeback started too late to turn the match around
TTH (Group C) and GOG (D) both finish runners-up with six points
TTH (+15) have a better goal difference than GOG (+2) and will advance as the third-best second-ranked team
As only three quarter-final pairings will be played, GOG as the fourth-ranked runners-up are out of the competition
Fraikin BM. Granollers (ESP) vs GOG (DEN) 34:31 (19:15)
It was a question of honour for Fraikin BM. Granollers: as the Catalan side was already out of the quarter-final race, they were absolutely eager to finish their international season victorious and to avenge their 34:26 defeat against GOG in Denmark.
"Our young players need this kind of match, we need to put ourselves in these situations as much as possible to improve as a team," Granollers coach Antonio Rama said. "Next week we have the Copa del Rey and it's important to keep this attitude."
The hosts had the full control of the match for almost 50 minutes, as their attack was unstoppable, while both sides had problems in defence.
Backed by six goals of Adrian Figueras, who finished his international season on 60 goals, and thanks to the inspiration and goals of Antonio Garcia, Granollers showed their strongest performance of the group phase.
After the 19:15 score line at the break, Granollers pulled ahead to a six-goal lead (24:18). But this goal was a wake-up call for GOG, which started fighting for their last chance.
With top scorer Lasse Möller scoring nine times in total, GOG reduced the gap goal by goal – and were close to turn the match around at 29:28 with still five minutes left.
However, GOG failed to level the score as Granollers secured their second win of the group phase in the dying minutes.
"We didn't get close enough to win," GOG coach Nikolej Krickau said. "We are disappointed because we don't have the opportunity to go to the quarter-final."
As hosts THW Kiel are seeded through to the AKQUINET EHF Cup Finals on 17/18 May, only three quarter-final pairing will be played. The fourth-ranked runners-up will not advance, and for the second year running, this is a Danish, after Bjerringbro-Silkeborg went out at this stage in 2017/18.
Apart from Holstebro, Saint-Raphael Var Handball and TSV Hannover-Burgdorf are the second-ranked teams proceeding to the quarter-finals, where they will meet FC Porto Sofarma, Füchse Berlin and Grundfos Tatabánya KC as their opponents. The draw for the quarter-finals takes place in Vienna on Tuesday (2 April).Author: Björn Pazen / ew