Paris take derby honours
Three days after their Velux EHF Champions League win in Nantes (31-35), Paris Saint-Germain Handball were back in action, this time in the Coupe de France's last 16, away to Tremblay. But, just like in the league a few months ago (30-25), it was said that it would be no easy match for Paris, the competition's reigning champions.
Right from the off, it was an evenly matched encounter. While Les Rouge et Bleu, with Luc Abalo once again in great form, were on the front foot (7': 4-5), they couldn't manage to break clear (12': 6-7). Even when our right-winger put his side two goals to the good - in spectacular fashion (17': 9-11) - they quickly found themselves on level terms once again (21': 13-13). Worse, Paris' attacking machinery seemed to break down minutes later, stymied by the hermetic Darko Arsic. Tremblay made the most of this period to streak in to the lead (28': 17-13). Just before the break, however, France internationals Nikola Karabatic, Nedim Remili and Lucio took it upon themselves to reignite the match (30': 17-16).
In the second half, although Raul Gonzalez's men looked to have come back with a better approach (33': 18-18), they were quickly on the back foot once again, (36': 22-19). However, they decided to something definitive about it in the final 20 minutes but really the difference was made in the space of 180 seconds: that's how long it took Uwe Gensheimer to score a double and for Nikola Karabatic to level matters (40': 22-22). The psychological advantage switched camps and Nedim surfed the wave to put Paris clear in front (45': 25-28; 47': 25-29). But the suspense wasn't completely over, with Samuel Honrubia and Patrice Annonay looking to remind their former teammates that they still have it (53': 29-31). But in the end, Uwe's clinical finishing in the final minutes turned the match once and for all in Paris' favour (32-34).
A Parisian in the match: Luc Abalo
Already in scintillating form against Nantes on Thursday (7 from 8), Luc Abalo once again shone brightly against Tremblay. His side's top scorer with 7 from 10, our right-winger married the precise and the spectacular - notably as he snatched up a deflection from the cross-bar - in mid-air - and unleashed an unbeatable shot before hitting the ground.
The word: Quarters
Thus Paris Saint-Germain Handball continue their run in the Coupe de France. Les Rouge et Bleu, after taking out Dijon and now Tremblay, progress to the quarters. The draw for their next opponent will be held on Monday at 17:30, when they could be drawn against the likes of Nantes, Saran, Dunkerque, Montpellier, Chambéry, Nancy and Aix-en-Provence.
After a two-month absence the capital club will soon be back in action in an official match at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin. On Wednesday, your favourite players will take on Dunkerque in Lidl StarLigue Round 14 action. A match you can watch from the stands!
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)