Paris fall at Parnasse
Both sides took some time to get going, each aware of the other's quality and opting for an initial sounding-out phase. Our players nonetheless managed to make the break early, thanks to a penalty save from Thierry Omeyer and a powerful finish from Luka Stepancic (5’: 1-3). They managed to hang onto this lead for several minutes (8’: 3-5), but The Green Team were never far behind (10’: 6-7).
Nîmes take the upper hand
That changed soon enough, however, as the home side cut the lead to one goal and then equalised on several occasions. The capital club looked to the excellent Uwe Gensheimer, who twice put them back in front (14’: 8-9). But that wasn't enough to stop the home side, who appeared to have got the measure of the match. Elohim Prandi put his side ahead (17’: 10-9) and then Mohammad Hisham Sanad put them two goals to the good (19’: 11-9).
Titi keeps a lid on it
The Rouge et Bleus' front line were up against an in-form 'keeper in Rémi Desbonnet (17 saves) but, fortunately, Titi also hit his straps and pulled out a magnificent double save reminiscent of his screamer in Aalborg. However, with his side going a man down on several occasions, Titi was obliged to leave his line and the Nîmes forwards took full advantage to break free (24’: 14-10), not letting up before the half-time buzzer sounded.
Half-time score: 16-13
No better after the break
As is customary, the two sides swapped ends after the break, but that was the only difference between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. Desbonnet pretty much everything Paris sent his way, and it took the pin-point accuracy of our wingers, Uwe Gensheimer (34’: 18-15) and Benoît Kounkoud (37’: 20-16), to prevent the gap from getting even wider. Injured but not out of the match, Nikola Karabatic launched his side's rebellion with a fine strike (40’: 20-17).
Paris step it up
It was Paris' backline who responded to the call first, leaving the Nîmes forwards much less space. The forwards then stepped up as well and the home side's lead began to dwindle. Édouard Kempf, on the counter (45’: 23-20), and Uwe Gensheimer, twice (47’: 23-21; 49’: 23-22), got the capital club right back on track as the dying stages approached. And that was the moment Niko chose to produce a powerful finish to get the match back on level terms (50’: 23-23).
As was the case last season, Zvonimir Serdarusic's men managed to claw back a big deficit. They could even have gone one further and got the win had they been slightly sharper in front of the implacable Desbonnet. At the other end of the court, things weren't much different and a number of technical errors meant that the match remained neck-and-neck (55’: 24-24). Spurred on by their fans, USAM finally came out on top in the final moments when Jérémy Suty beat Titi one-on-one (57’: 25-24) and Prandi struck from distance.
Final score: 26-24
Despite an impressive comeback in the middle of the second half, Paris Saint-Germain Handball fell to Nîmes and dropped their first Lidl StarLigue points of the season. Meanwhile Montpellier took full advantage, besting Saran (32-29) to leapfrog Paris into top spot on the table.
The Parisian scorers:
Uwe Gensheimer (7 goals), Nikola Karabatic (6), Mikkel Hansen (3), Benoît Kounkoud, Nedim Remili (2), Luka Stepancic, Sander Sagosen, Edouard Kempf, Jepser Nielsen (1).
The Parisian 'keeper:
Thierry Omeyer 14 from 36 (38%)