On Sunday evening, Paris Saint-Germain Handball put their Coupe de France title on the line in a tough quarter-final clash away to Montpellier. After having a delicate start to the season, Montpellier have had a great start to 2019, even climbing to second place on the league table behind Les Rouge et Bleu.
Despite a string start (8’: 4-6), the Parisians were forced to chase the game for most of the first half (16’: 8-7). The capital club were dominated largely because they struggled to find solutions faced with he Montpellier defence, a fact that led them to take their shots as late as possible and often straight at Vincent Gérard (23’: 12-10). The scoreline continued to tilt in favour of the home side despite some strong work from Uwe Gensehimer and Nedim Remili (27’: 16-12) and, a little before the break, Raul Gonzalez opted for a change to a seven-man attack. A judicious choice as, after strikes from Mikkel Hansen and Sander Sagosen, Paris Paris were within two goals of their hosts as the half-time buzzer sounded (16-14).
Although Mikki continued to hit the target as the second half began (36’: 20-19), the second half didn't start well for Paris and MHB streaked out oil front once more (40’: 24-20), a considerable lead that our side had a few chances to chip away at (45’: 25-22). Unfortunately, each move that could have got us back into the match ended with loss of possession or a blocked shot (50’: 29-26), but the suspense was there right at the end despite the game looking over five minutes from time (56’: 31-27). Uwe struck on the counter to get his side right back into it (58’: 31-30), but the continued efforts of Thierry Omeyer and Henrik Toft Hansen, in the final minute, proved in vain as Paris Saint-Germain Handball fell by the narrowest of margins at the final buzzer(32-31).
The Parisian in the match:
Despite the defeat, Uwe Gensheimer turned in an excellent performance to top-score for Paris with 7 from 8 (only Valentin Porte, with an eight-goal haul, did better). In amassing this tally, he hit on the counter, from the wing and front he penalty line.
Les Rouge et Bleu may have lost one of the titles they won last season, but will soon have a chance to defend another. With no league match this week, their next objective will be to hang onto their Coupe de la Ligue title. To do so, they will need to prevail in the Final4, on 16 and 17 March in Le Mans. On the programme: Ivry in the semi-finals and then, if victorious, a place the final against the winner of Saint-Raphaël and Montpellier.