Mission accomplished ahead of Europe
VICTOIRE DES PARISIENS ! TrÃ¨s belle prestation des Rouge et Bleu qui ont maÃ®trisÃ© ce match de bout en bout ! Un succÃ¨s 33 Ã 26 qui donne 8 points d'avance au #PSGHand sur leur adversaire du soir ! pic.twitter.com/Unbq8Q8WVW— PSG Handball (@psghand) April 20, 2019
It was a difficult opening for Paris who led, but struggled to get into their game, and were regularly denied by their future teammate Vincent Gérard (7’: 3-2). But Montpellier struggled to hit the target themselves and provided several turnovers as Paris skipped clear (13’: 5-3). Paris' defence was for something... Viran Morros and Rodrigo Corrales kept a lid on the league's top scorer Melvyn Richardson (20’: 10-5). The Spanish pair were on song and Paris streaked clear on the scoreboard (25’: 13-6). Despite a poor finish to the first half, where Gérard made a string of saves, Les Rouge et Bleu led at the break 14-10.
The Montpellier defence continued to improve after the restart and the gap closed considerably (35’: 17-15). But like so often, the capital could count on two of their leaders, Nikola and Luka Karabatic. The brothers held their nerve in front of the national team goalie to steady the ship (40’: 22-17). The other Bleus followed the lead: Luc Abalo and Nedim Remili kept MHB at a distance (48’: 27-21). Our right-back produced a wonderful lob (50’: 28-21), and then a powerful finish into the top corner (52’: 30-23). Les Rouge et Bleu controlled the final minutes as Thierry Omeyer won several duels (55’: 31-24), while the youngster Robin Dourte, scored the final goal of the match (33-26).
A MAN IN THE MATCH: LUKA KARABATIC
Luka Karabatic was excellent against his former club. Excellent in attack where he scored from all six of his efforts, he also started several counterattacks and got through a mountain of work in defence.
THE WORD: CONTROL
Against last season's runners-up and one of the serious rivals for the French championship, Les Rouge et Bleu were never really threatened. The capital club only trailed in the third minute of the match (0-1), before Uwe Gensheimer (top goal scorer with 8) set the champions on their way. With five matches left to play, Paris are eight points clear of Montpellier.
After doing the job in the league, Paris can now focus on their European challenges. Next Saturday, the team travel to Poland to take on Kielce in the first leg of their Velux EHF Champions League quarter-final. The return leg will be played on 5 May at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin. Sander Sagosen and Co. are just one step away from a fourth consecutive appearance in the Final4 in Cologne.