Good start for defending EHF Cup winners
Frisch Auf Göppingen, who won the Men’s EHF Cup last season, are well on their way to the group phase of this season’s edition of the tournament.
The German Bundesliga side entered the tournament with an away match against Pfadi Winterthur Sunday afternoon and with a 33:30 win in the Eulachhalle of Winterthur, Göppingen got a fine start in the competition.
The match was equal all the way, as the Swiss home team were able to follow their opponents all the way. With less than two minutes, Göppingen were leading by only one goal (31:30), but by scoring the last two goals of the match, the visitors removed the last doubt.
HC Zamet have been the surprise package in the EHF Cup qualifiers so far, but the European glory days of the Croatian team seem to be over now.
After a 34:23 defeat at home to MT Melsungen, Zamet’s group phase dreams have practically vanished.
2050 spectators in the Centar Zamet in Rijeka saw the home team following the Bundesliga side to 5:5, but after a 17:13 German side lead at half-time, Melsungen scored the first five goals in the second half. With a score of 22:13 for the visitors, the rest was a formality.
“I am very content with the result, as well as with my players’ performance. We did what we set out to do and we did for virtually for the entire 60 minutes,” Melsungen coach, Michael Roth, told his club’s website.
A third German team, SC Magdeburg, seem to be heading for the main round as well and also by sending a Croatian team out. Much to the satisfaction of 2477 spectators on home ground in the Bördelandhalle, Magdeburg won 31:22 against RK Nexe, who scored the first goal of the match, but were far behind for the rest of the match.
Danish HC Midtjylland got a fine start to their first ever European campaign, as they drew 29:29 in Russia against Dinamo Astrakhan. The Danish Cup winners could have got much more out of their first European Cup match in history though.
As late as with 10 minutes left, Midtjylland were leading 29:24, but through a great finish, Dinamo matched to get a draw. Midtjylland were leading most of the time during an equal first half, but at half-time, the home team were leading 16:14.
In the second half, the 1300 spectators in the Sportcomplex of Astrakhan saw a visiting team, who were dominating and leading 29:24, before the hosts managed to come back to secure the draw.
“I think we can finish the job during our home match in a week and reach the group phase,” said Midtjylland coach, Morten Secher.
Former Danish international, Kasper Hvidt, seemed to feel ‘right at home’ on his former home ground, the Palacio de los Deportes in Leon, where the now 40-year-old goalkeeper played five years and won the Spanish championship once with Abanca Ademar Leon.
After receiving an enthusiastic salute from the 4200 spectators when entering the court, Hvidt played a crucial part in his current team, KIF Kolding Kobenhavn, winning 27:24. Russian right back, Konstantin Igropulo, also played an important role in the Danish side win by scoring 10 goals.
Finland are about to be represented in the EHF Cup group phase for the first time in history. The Finnish champions, Cocks, took a huge step by winning 30:19 at home against Górnik Zabrze.
Cocks were only leading 13:11 at half-time, but managed to create a substantial distance after the break. It was the left side of the Cocks attack who were the main reason for the Finnish success. Left wing, Teemu Tamminen, scored eight goals and left back, Nico Rönnberg, netted seven for Cocks.
Thirteen goals from right back Ante Esegovic were not enough for Bregenz Handball to win the first leg at home against Futebol Clube do Porto.
After at tie at 14 at the half, the visiting Portuguese side narrowly won 28:27 in Austria and therefore, they have the upper hand before the return match in Portugal’s second largest city next weekend.