ROUND REVIEW: Romanian SCM Politehnica Timisoara, who are in the Men's EHF Cup for the first time, are ready for the third qualification round, while Croatian Zamet pulled off another surprise.
Romanian EHF Cup debutants proceed after thriller
SCM Politehnica Timisoara have only participated in a European Cup competition once before.
That was as far back as the 2007-08 season, where the Romanian club reached the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup.
This season, they are back in Europe and this time in the EHF Cup.
So far, that adventure has been a success.
In the first qualification round, Estonian Pölvi Serviti were eliminated, and after two thrillers against Norwegian OIF Arendal, Timisoara are ready for the third and last qualification round for the group phase.
After winning 24:23 in Norway last weekend, Timisoara were actually in a fine position to reach the next round, but the return match on home ground turned into a thriller in the second half, where the winners of the Norwegian league last season came close.
At the end, however, Timisoara managed to win by one goal again, 27:26 this time.
Surprise of the round
HC Zamet pulled off the surprise of the first qualification round by eliminating French Creteil. The Croatian side also overcame Round 2, but only through away goals this time.
Zamet lost the first leg at CSM Bucuresti 29:23 last weekend, and the team from the Romanian capital were also on steady course towards the next round in the return match, leading 15:13 at half-time.
However, Zamet made a stunning comeback in the second half and won the match 27:21.
That result sent them through to the third round as they scored more away goals.
Zamet will be followed by another Croatian team RK Nexe to the next round. Nexe had already taken a big step last weekend by winning 30:29 at HC Dukla Praha, and in the second leg at home, they made it all clear with a 30:23 win.
Removing all doubt
S. L. Benfica had set the course for the next round through a 31:26 win at home against Handball Kaerjeng from Luxembourg.
The Portuguese side removed all doubt by also winning the return match, as they won 33:30 in Luxembourg.
St. Petersburg HC were even closer to the third round than Benfica, as the Russian side were leading by seven goals against B. B. Ankara Spor after winning 26:19 at home.
Just like Benfica, St. Petersburg left no doubt in the return match and won 31:27 in Ankara.
Portugal will be represented by two teams in the third qualification round as Benfica will be accompanied by Futebol Clude de Porto, which eliminated RD Koper.
Having won 31:24 at home, Porto were already well on their way towards the next round before booking another win in Slovenia, 26:22 this time.
Füchse Berlin completed their revenge against Chambery Savoie Handball, who sent the German team out of the third qualification round last season.
With their 25:22 away win in the first leg, Füchse had already taken major step, and Sunday afternoon they finished the job. In front of 5,000 spectators in the Max-Schmeling-Halle, Füchse won 24:22.
Alingsas HK won the Nordic derby against Haukar from Iceland, as the Swedish side followed up on their 24:24 draw in Iceland by winning 31:27 at home.
Unlike the first match, Alingsas avoided getting far behind, and through a solid defence and at times brilliant attacking play, they booked the ticket for the next round.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew
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