Round of 16 first-leg results
After topping their Velux EHF Champions League group, Paris Saint-Germain Handball skipped the round of 16 (along with Barcelona). Check out all the week's results.
Zaporozhye - Kielce: 33-33
The winner of this tie will face Les Rouge et Bleu in the quarters, so this was the match that all Parisian eyes were on this week. It will all play out in the second leg, as neither Zaprozhye nor Kielce could take the upper hand over the first 60 minutes. On level pegging at the break (30': 16-16)3, neither side gave an inch. The Poles, led by an excellent Alex Dujshebaev (8 from 12), went close to getting a precious win by getting ahead in the final minutes, but Artel Kozakevych's successful penalty on the buzzer kept the suspense at a maximum. The return leg, in Kielce, will be played next Saturday.
Rhein-Neckar Löwen - Nantes: 34-32
Nantes also still have everything to play for, having mixed it almost goal for goal against third-placed Bundesliga side Rhein Neckar-Löwen on Wednesday night. The H got off to the better start, but we overhauled late in the first half (30’: 18-16). Thierry Anti's men chased the match for much of the second half, and managed to stay within striking distance, with Eduardo Gurbindo's late goal getting them within two goals at the half-way point of the tie. The second leg will be played on Saturday in Beaulieu.
Meshkov Brest - Flensburg: 28-30
Flensburg, the other German side still in the running, made the trip to Belarus to face Meshkov Brest. Brest may have only just made I through the group stage, but they have the resources to pose the bigger teams plenty of problems - a duly did so for more than 30 minutes (33’: 16-15). But, little by little, the favourites pulled clear, with Rasmus Lauge Schmidt (8 from 11) turning in a strong second-half performance to go as far as eight goals clear one point (51’: 21-29). However, the home side's fightback at the death gave them every reason to hope for the best in the return leg in Germany on Sunday.
⏹ Yes! After an equal first half our guys turned the game and show a really strong and powerful performance. Full focus on the quarterfinals for the game in Flensburg! 👀— SG Fle-Ha (@SGFleHa) 23 mars 2019
_________#MESSG 28:30 #SGPower 💙❤#MoinMoinEurope pic.twitter.com/xsQllSEOul
Zagreb - Vardar Skopje: 18-27
Fourth in the last edition of the competition and winners in 2017, Vardar Skopje are now an established force in the Velux EHF Champions League. Even the most sceptical critics are now convinced, following their exceptional performance away to Zagreb on Saturday night. The Macedonians, who have future Parisien Dainis Kristopans (5 from 6) in their ranks, also had 'keeper Dejan Milosavljev in fine form, were never in danger. At the break, the outcome seemed fairly certain (6-14), and Vardar are certainly in the driver's seat for a place in the quarter-finals.
Wisla Plock - Szeged: 20-22
Although they were outsiders faced with Paris Saint-Germain Handball's nearest group-stage rival Szeged, Wisla Plock didn't take it lying down on Sunday. Indeed, right up until the last ten minutes, it was the Poles who led the dance (49’: 18-16), but they let up the pressure only slightly and, in the space of a few moments, Joan Canellas, Mario Sostaric, Zsolt Balogh and Richard Bodo completely turned things around. The Hungarians are now favourites ahead of a return leg on home soil on Saturday.
Sporting - Veszprém: 28-30
Just like Wisla Plock, Sporting came close to scoring a an upset win, but Veszprém - who were knocked out in a shock loss to Skjern at this stage last season - managed to avoid a repeat. For the first 50 minutes, Kentin Mahé and his teammates struggled somewhat and were forced to chase the game (48’: 24-21). However, like compatriots Szeged, the Hungarians hit hard in the final stages to win by two goals - an advantage that could see them through in the return leg.
Round of 16 second-leg fixtures:
- Kielce - Zaporozhye: Saturday 30 March, 16:00
- Veszprém - Sporting: Saturday 30 March, 17:00
- Nantes - Rhein-Neckar Löwen: Saturday 30 March, 19:00
- Vardar Skopje - Zagreb: Saturday 30 March, 19:30
- Szeged - Wisla Plock: Sunday 31 March, 17:00
- Flensburg - Meshkov Brest: Sunday 31 March, 19:00