EHF European Cup 2017/18 - Article - Ten more teams ready for EHF Cup Group Phase
26.11.2017, 17:20◄ last page     

DAY REVIEW: The number of teams in the group phase of the Men’s EHF Cup reached 11 on Saturday, as 10 more teams qualified.

Ten more teams ready for EHF Cup Group Phase

A total of 11 teams know by now that they are going to go on playing in the EHF Cup in the New Year. After Füchse Berlin qualified for the group phase on Thursday, 10 more teams made the cut on Saturday.

After two successive failed attempts, KS Azoty-Pulawy SA can finally celebrate a group phase berth, but it took a thriller and away goals for the Polish side to get through against TTH Holstebro.

Pulawy had won the first leg at home 30:27. Their 32:29 defeat in Denmark sent them to the group phase due to more away goals.

Pulawy were leading by three goals several times in the first half. From 16:16 at half time, Holstebro took several four-goal leads in the last 30 minutes, before the seventh goal from Pulawy´s top scorer Marko Panic made it 32:29 in the last seconds and saved his team’s group phase ticket.

Away goals also decided the tie between Wacker Thun and Alplha HC Hard. Hard were defending a 19:17 lead after a low-scoring first leg in Switzerland. Even though the Austrian side won the return match 23:21, it was their opponents who could celebrate, as Thun are in the group phase due to more away goals.

Danish exits

Denmark will have to find encouragement in the fact that Skjern Handbold qualified for the play-offs in the VELUX EHF Champions League, as Saturday was not good for the Danish EHF Cup teams.

After Holstebro were eliminated, Ribe-Esbjerg followed them out of the competition, as the European debutants lost 26:21 away to RK Nexe.

As Ribe-Esbjerg had only won their home game 29:26, Nexe could celebrate their second group phase berth in history.

“We had the opportunities, but we missed too many of them. We could not afford that, and this is obviously a huge disappointment to us,” Ribe-Esbjerg coach Jan Leslie told the Danish newspaper Jyske Vestkysten.

Duo of French teams through

Nexe will be the only Croatian team in the group phase. The nation´s other team in Round 3, RK Dubrova, did not stand a chance against Saint-Raphael Var Handball.

The French team won the first leg at home 40:29, and in the return match secured another huge victory of 41:31.

The other French team in the last qualification round, Chambery Savoie Montblanc Handball, are also in the group phase, but by the narrowest possible margin.

After losing 25:24 away to Grundfos Tatabanya, Chambery managed to defeat their Hungarian adversaries 23:21 in front of 2500 spectators in Le Phare Saturday night.

Two out of the three Spanish teams in the third qualification round are in the group phase.

Fraikin BM. Granollers followed their 28:21 win at home against Balatonfüredi KSE up with a 27:25 win in Hungary, while Helvetica Anaitasuna eliminated another Hungarian opponent.

Having already won 35:27 away against CYEB Budakalasz, Anaitasuna finished the job by winning 26:21 at home.

The third Spanish team, CBM La Rioja, did win 30:25 at home against SKA Minsk, but that was not enough to proceed, as Minsk won the first leg 36:28 at home in Belarus.

Slovenian success

After drawing 27:27 away, OIF Arendal were hoping to pull the sensation of eliminating ruling EHF Cup winners Frisch Auf Göppingen.

However, the Norwegian team was never even close to creating a surprise. Göppingen were in control from the start, and after leading 15:9 at half time, the German side cruised into the group phase with a 31:21 win.

Slovenia is also sure to have at least one team in the group phase. RD Koper 2013 were down 30:25 after their visit to Poland and Gwardia Opole, but they turned the tables and gained access to the next stage through a 27:21 win at home.

On Sunday, RD Riko Ribnica will be trying to double the Slovenian representation when they try to catch up with Finnish champions Cocks´ 24:17 lead at home in the Sportni center Ribnica.

Saturday also saw a first leg match, as Slovakian TATRAN Presov won 24:21 at home against FH Hafnarfjordur from Iceland. The second leg of that tie will follow next Saturday.

TEXT: Peter Bruun/jh

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