Nantes overcome three-goal deficit to draw Zagreb
The struggle for the qualification places in VELUX EHF Champions League Group B will be a tough one, as HC PPD Zagreb and HBC Nantes demonstrated on Saturday night. The French side secured a point — something they had been not able to do in Zagreb season and came back every time despite being down twice. While Zagreb have six & lsquo; rsquo & Le H ; currently count eight points in their account.
HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 27:27 (12:12)
The first game between the two groups was a face-off between two successful defences, and the beginning of Saturday night’so game was the same. Following 10 minutes the score was 2:2 and Zagreb was trying to discover the goal for nine minutes without influence. Nantes started to make the most of the openings in the locals’ defence, finding Dragan Pechmalbec online. But as soon as Lino Cervar chose to change rsquo & his team;s defensive system, Nantes started to struggle.
Scoring only in over eight minutes, last year’s Champions League finalists watched their competitions split away, with goals from Gregor Potocnik and back-court gamers Ivan Srsen. Zagreb even had an opportunity to create two minutes to a edge but did not make the most of it. Two missed shots and long-range goal from Nantes keeper Arnaud Siffert just before the buzzer meant the two teams were level at half-time (12:12).
The slow rhythm satisfied the Croatian hosts flawlessly, enabling a advantage to be once again claimed by Zagreb. Whilst Srsen was having zlatko Horvat was unstoppable on the left wing. With 20 minutes to perform, the natives had a choice on the two points (18:15). But Nantes centre back Claire decided that his team could not let go so early and, with three successive goals, made things all square with 10 minutes left on the clock (21:21).
The minutes watched the two teams playing seven-against-six, with Zagreb’s Arber Qerimi demonstrating his efficiency passing his players the ball. As the score was made by David Balaguer even before Damir Bicanic missed the chance for success seconds before the end but that wasn’t enough for the two things.
“I want to congratulate my players on the performance in both first and second half. I am honestly sorry we did not figure out how to benefit from the leads we’ve needed in both halves but ultimately we have what we have and can be satisfied with this point against Nantes,” said Zagreb trainer Lino Cervar after the game.
TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg