Paris through to the quarters
On Saturday evening, Paris Saint-Germain Handball began their Coupe de la Ligue title defence with the visit of Dunkerque to the Dunkerque au Stade Pierre de Coubertin. A no-nonsense Rouge et Bleu side got the job done 34-23, claiming a place in the competition's quarter-finals.
Although perfection doesn't really exist, Paris' start to the match came extremely close. Thierry Omeyer (22 from 44, 50%) shut out the visitors for the first six minutes, winning all his duels be they from point-blank range or the nine-metre line.
At the other end of the pitch, the Parisian forwards did their jobs perfectly and carved out an imposing early lead (6’: 5-0). The situation continued throughout the first half, the northerners unable to find solutions faced with our tight-knit defence and a Titi who could do no wrong (16’: 11-3), paving the way for Luka Stepancic to put Les Rouge et Bleu ten goals to the good with a long-range strike (20’: 15-5).
Soon afterwards, Benoît Kounkoud bagged a quick-fire double (25’: 17-8) before Henrik Toft Hansen hit the last goal of the first half to see the capital club go into the break with a healthy lead (20-12).
After the change of sides, the show continued and Mikkel Hansen didn't waste any time in finding the back of the net with his 100th goal in the competition (31’: 21-14). Meanwhile, Thierry Omeyer wasn't satisfied with his imperious first-half performance and decided to turn scorer (34’: 22-15) before getting back to basics and saving a penalty from Florian Billant (38’: 24-17). The second half proved more exciting than the first, with Dunkerque proving much more clinical in front of goal, notably through Haniel Langaro (43’: 25-19). But it wasn't enough to bother the Parisians, who once again went ten goals in front when Dylan Nahi latched onto a long pass from Titi to score on the counter (48’: 29-19).
In the final moments, with the result beyond doubt (53’: 31-22), Sander Sagosen struck twice to put the icing on an accomplished win (34-23).
Dominant from the off, Paris Saint-Germain Handball controlled the match brilliantly, leaving Dunkerque little chance. Two-time reigning champions Paris are now in to the quarters! They will find out against whom they are to face off when the draw for the next round is held on 24 October.
The Parisian scorers:
Sander Sagosen, Nedim Remili (5 goals), Benoît Kounkoud, Henrik Toft Hansen, Mikkel Hansen (4), Uwe Gensheimer, Luka Karabatic, Luka Stepancic (3), Kim Ekdahl du Rietz, Dylan Nahi (1).
The Parisian 'keeper:
Thierry Omeyer: 22 from 44 (50%).