GROUP C REVIEW: Bidasoa came from five goals down in the second period to hand Eurofarm Rabotnik another painful one-goal defeat in Sunday’s first VELUX EHF Champions League clash
Irun extend perfect run with second-half comeback
It was heartbreak once again for HC Eurofarm Rabotnik, as they failed to hold on to a second-half lead for the third consecutive game in group C of the VELUX EHF Champions League 2019/20.
In a match that mirrored the team’s contrasting fortunes this season, Irun made it three wins from three in their first season back at this level in 23 years, while debutants Rabotnik were yet again unable to convert a good performance into points.
Early blow for Rabotnik as Mirko Radovic receives a straight red card in the seventh minute
The Macedonian side hold a half-time lead and let it slip for the third successive game
Irun’s third consecutive victory puts them joint-top of the group alongside Sweden’s Sävehof
Sergio de la Salud leads scoring for the hosts, with nine goals – a feat matched by Vladislav Ostroushko for the Macedonian club
Bidasoa Irun (ESP) vs HC Eurofarm Rabotnik (MKD) 26:25 (11:14)
The guests’ hunt for their first victory got off to a terrible start. Mirko Radovic received a direct red card in the seventh minute and, thanks to three goals from Chilean Rodrigo Salinas, Bidasoa opened an early 5:3 lead.
Rabotnik were unfazed, however, and a 3:0 run midway through the half gave them their first significant lead of the match. The Macedonian side powered on from there, taking a 14:11 lead into the dressing rooms.
Having seen their half-time leads crumble before them in the opening two rounds, the Rabotnik were in no mood to allow that to happen again. When the match resumed they came flying out of the blocks to extend their lead to 16:11.
It took the hosts almost five minutes to score their first of the second half, but once they did, it sparked a run of quickfire goals. When Adrian Crowley made it a one-goal game on the 40-minute mark, it was clear Rabotnik coach Stevce Alushovski was fearing the worst.
Following 10 minutes of nervous play and goals traded between the sides, Irun grabbed hold of the contest, with a pair of Sergio de la Salud goals giving them a 22:20 lead with seven minutes left on the clock.
Vladislav Ostroushko fired Rabotnik back within one goal with his seventh of the day in the final minutes, but Bidasoa Irun kept their cool to claim their third win and join IK Sävehof at the top of the group.
TEXT: Chris O’Reilly / cg