Victory - and a reunion
Paris Saint-Germain Handball were aiming to take their first EHF Champions League points of the season on Thursday evening as they played host to Elverum in their Matchday 4 clash. An important evening in terms of points, but also and for one opposition player in particular...
As was the case against Toulouse last week, when Edouard Kempf returned to Coubertin for the first time, the evening began with a tribute. United as one, Coubertin gave a rousing chorus of thanks to Luc Abalo, who was returning to Paris for the first time since his departure to Norway this summer. After eight seasons in the capital, which included seven Lidl Starligue titles, the French international received a very warm welcome from his former (but enduring) supporters.
Once the match began, Lucio didn't take long to find his feet. In spite of Paris's strong start, punctuated by a magnificent kung-fu from Nikola Karabatic (4': 3-1), our former right-winger proved that at 36 years of age he has lost nothing of his genius with a beguiling finish behind his back (7': 4-4).
Oh non @lucabalo pas toi ! pas maintenant... bon allez, on avoue ce but était magnifique. Un tir dans le dos à l'aveugle qui permet à @ElverumHandball de revenir à un but ! 4-3 pic.twitter.com/KAIJNCWAvg— PSG Handball (@psghand) October 15, 2020
A warning that Les Rouge et Bleu did not take lightly as they closed ranks defensively. Thanks to a solid rearguard and an inspired Vincent Gérard, our team did not concede any more goals for almost 10 minutes and took advantage of the opportunity to widen the gap (14': 8-4). But the Norwegians weren't going to take it lying down! Well led by an untenable Luc (who was given another tribute in the 19th minute, his old number), they came very close to levelling it up, prompting Raul Gonzalez to call a time-out (20': 10-9).
20': Après une 19ème minute d'acclamation en faveur de l'ancien n°19 @lucabalo les Parisiens posent un premier temps-mort alors qu'@ElverumHandball revient à un but 10-9 #PSGELV pic.twitter.com/KsSt123OXO— PSG Handball (@psghand) October 15, 2020
This did the trick and the capital club carved out a bit of breathing space, but still had to contend with opposition 'keeper Thorsten Fires, who continued to shine (24': 13-10). At the break, the Parisians led by four lengths but knew there was still plenty of adversity to come.
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4 buts d'avance et un @mikkelhansen24 en 🔥 avec 6 réalisation à son compteur personnel ! @lucabalo19 s'est déjà illustré par un but dont lui seul à le secret. Un beau spectacle pour le moment à Coubertin #PSGELV #Paris #PSG #PSGHand #Sport #Handball #ChampionsLeague #EHFCL
After the break, newcomer Elohim Prandi showcased his power with a brutal double (33': 20-16). Our left-back was everywhere and also set up Kamil Sypzark with a beautiful no-look blind pass.
However, the match remained as tight as ever (38' : 21-19). The two side went blow for blow and while Paris managed to remain in front, the visitors were never far behind (42': 23-21). To see Les Rouge et Bleu make the break, we had to wait until the last quarter of an hour. Success in attack and defence returned and, in the space of a few minutes, they carved out a seven-point lead, thanks mainly to more fireworks from Elohim.
At the start of the last ten minutes, the result seemed beyond doubt (51': 31-23) and, right through to the final buzzer, Paris Saint-Germain Handball maintained their its eight-goal lead and claimed their first two points of the European campaign!
After the match, there was a final tributeLuc Abalo, immortalising him in Coubertin's Hall of Fame!
(Crédits : TeamPics/PSG)