Paris falter before the break
A slow start
The Rouge et Bleu took several minutes to get into the match and this slow start cost them, with the home side quickly streaking ahead (7’: 6-2). However, the capital club conjured a reaction and lifted their game in every sector. A six-minute shut-out and a double from Nikola Karabatic were enough to get Paris back on level terms (11’: 6-6).
Mano a mano
And that was when the match kicked off in earnest. Both sides knew that this clash was a pivotal moment in the season and gave their all in order not to miss the boat. Thus, when Niko put his side ahead, Vid Kavticnik quickly equalised (13’: 7-7), and when Mohamed Mamdouh got his side back in front, the France international and Sander Sagosen quickly levelled matters (20’: 10-10).
Montpellier make the difference
The scoreboard kept ticking over, with Thierry Omeyer for Paris and Vincent Gérard for Montpellier doing their best to swing the momentum in their side's direction (22’: 11-11). Despite efforts from Mikkel Hansen (26’: 14-13) and Luka Karabatic (29’: 16-14), it was the home side who proved more inspired and who were in the lead at the break.
Half-time score : 17-14
Paris on the front foot!
Paris' difficulties continued as the second half began and Montpelier took full advantage (34’: 19-15). Zvonimir Serdarusic then made the move to a seven-man attack - a tactic that worked well as his players found space in the opposition's defence. Chief among them was Nedim Remili, who hit a quick-fire triple to once again set the match on an even keel (43’: 26-26).
The duel continues
The hunter became the hunted as Paris took control of the match after Uwe Gensheimer converted a counter-attack into a goal (46’: 22-23). But it wasn't enough to break clear of a clinical MHB side. Both attacks were in ruthless form, raising the suspense to almost unbearable levels as the final minutes approached (50’: 26-26).
Frustrating final phase
This trend lasted for several minutes - until Patrice Canayer's men made the difference on the counter, Jean-Loup Faustin finishing into an empty net to put his side two goals clear (54’: 30-28). Although Dylan Nahi did his best (58’: 32-30), it wasn't enough and Paris fell in the final instants.
Final score: 33-30
Paris Saint-Germain Handball lost out in the final stages of a hard-fought match against Montpellier. The MHB did extremely well out of the win, staying atop the Lidl StarLigue standings and extending their lead over Paris to six points. But nothing is settled at this half-way point of the season! The sides will meet again at the end of February, but before then, there is the winter break and the Euros in Croatia in January.
The Parisian scorers:
Mikkel Hansen, Nedim Remili (7 goals), Nikola Karabatic, Sander Sagosen (4), Luka Karabatic (3), Uwe Gensheimer, Benoît Kounkoud (2), Dylan Nahi (1).
The Parisian 'keepers:
Thierry Omeyer: 5 from 24 (20%), Rodrigo Corrales: 1 from 11 (9%).