Paris stay on top in Toulouse

On Wednesday night, Paris Saint-Germain Handball hit the road for the first time in the league season, heading to Toulouse's Palais des Sports André Brouat looking to maintain their grip on top spot in the Lidl StarLigue Round 3 clash (27-34).

Luka Stepancic sets the tone…

Looking to maintain their unbeaten home record, the Fenix lit up the early exchanges through an in-form Jordan Bonilauri (2’: 2-1). In response, the Rouge et Bleu looked to Luka Stepancic who fired a quick 3 from 3 to give the capital club the match's first break (10’: 6-8).

… Uwe Gensheimer and Luka Karabatic follow suit!

Zvonimir Serdarusic's men took the match by the horns and worked to keep it that way. As he did in the same fixture last season, Uwe Gensheimer thrilled the fans with a superb spin-shot (13’: 7-9) before firing home from the seven-metre line (15’: 8-10). Even when the home side pulled level thanks to Alvaro Ruiz Sanchez (16’: 10-10), our players quickly got back on top, Luka shooting a double to get the Parisian juggernaut moving forward once again (20’: 11-13).

Paris cut loose before the break

This short-lived scare served only to spur Paris on, with all their attacks converting into goals and the gap between the sides growing steadily. Luka Stepancic gave his side the match's first three-goal lead (20’: 11-14) before Mikkel Hansen worked a neat one-two with Uwe before conjuring up a solo run that ended in another goal (25’: 14-17). In the end it was the German international (seven goals in 30 minutes) who put an end to a well controlled first half.

Half-time score: 15-21

A well-oiled machine

The Rouge et Bleu, wearing their yellow away kit, started the second half as they ended the first: with the foot to the floor. Uwe was no exception, scoring the first goal of the second term from a very tight angle (33’: 16-23). Paris showed plenty of cutting edge but also plenty of style, notably when Nedim Remili came up with a splendid pass for Luc Abalo, who converted the assist and left the Fenix in the dust (37’: 18-25).

The defence clamps down

As has been the case since the beginning of the season, the Parisian back-line were in extremely strong form. The six defenders worked extremely hard and provoked several turnovers. However, even when these hard-working lads were beaten, Toulouse still had to get past Thierry Omeyer. Easier said than done when faced with a living legend of the sport. Faced with Titi, Pierrick Chelle saw his penalty go wide (43’: 22-28), while at the other end, Lucio scored twice to keep Paris Saint-Germain on the front foot (50’: 25-31).

Experience pays off

With fewer than ten minutes to go, the outcome seemed crystal clear, and the match dipped somewhat, with plenty of fouls and some sloppy play from both sides. However, neither Titi, facing up to Bonilauri (57’: 27-33), nor Daniel Narcisse, the match's final scorer, were culpable as they concluded the Parisian win in Toulouse.

Final score: 27-34

Paris Saint-Germain Handball claimed a third win in three league matches and duly remained on top of the Lidl StarLigue standings. Their next outing comes on Saturday afternoon, in Germany, for their Velux EHF Champions League Round 3 clash with Flensburg.

The Parisian scorers:

Uwe Gensheimer (11 goals), Luka Karabatic (5), Luka Stepancic, Sander Sagosen (4), Luc Abalo, Mikkel Hansen (3), Nikola Karabatic (2), Nedim Remili, Daniel Narcisse (1).

The Parisian 'keepers:

Rodrigo Corrales: 4 from 18 (22%)

Thierry Omeyer: 5 from 17 (29%)

(Credits: PSG)