Victory in Saint-Raphaël puts Paris five points clear

Match reports

Paris Saint-Germain Handball came away with a big win over Saint-Raphaël (38-45) in their Liqui Moly StarLigue Round 14 clash on Saturday. Here's a look back at the match.

Les Rouge et Bleu travelled to the Palais des Sports J-F Krakowski on Saturday to take on Saint-Raphaël in Liqui Moly StarLigue Round 14. Raul Gonzalez's men were keen to continue their unbeaten run in the league against an opponent the enjoy facing, but who have made a solid start to the season and are within striking distance of the European places.

In a lively start to the match, the Parisians struck first, with Elohim grabbing an early double (2': 1-2). Buoyed by a capacity crowd, Saint-Raphaël applied themselves in attack and managed to make the first break of the match (5': 4-2). The goals continued to flow in the opening minutes, and the capital club quickly levelled the scores thanks to a brace from Luc (9': 7-7). The Dutch international then restored his side's lead as the first quarter of an hour drew to a close (13': 10-11). However, the side from the Var region gave it their all and again managed to build a two-point lead (18': 14-12).

Raul Gonzalez's men then took advantage of a temoporary end-off for Saint-Raphaël to take control of the match (22': 15-16). Elohim (six goals) put Paris ahead for the first time in the first half with a superb powerful shot (25': 16-18). After that, the men from the capital extended their lead thanks to a magnificent finish from Mathieu Grébille on the counter, which forced the home side into a time-out. However, Les Rouge et Bleu took advantage of every mistake made by the Provençal side and took control of the game as the first half drew to a close (29': 18-22). At the end of an intense first half, Paris were in the lead (30': 20-23).

After the break, the Parisians showed their seriousness to maintain a comfortable lead (37': 25-29). Although the pace slowly dropped from the heights of the first half, the capital club took care of business and extended their lead heading into the final 15 minutes (43': 29-34). Even whenthey were a man down, Les Rouge et Bleu could count on Andreas Palicka, who put in another outstanding performance (14 saves), to stop the home attack. Elohim scored his ninth goal of the match just as the match enetered the final ten minutes, forcing the home side to call another time out (49': 31-37).

After a period of complacency marked by his men's conceding three unanswered goals, Raul Gonzalez in turn decided to call a time-out. His coaching paid off, as Kamil Syprzak gave his side some breathing space by scoring his 600th Liqui Moly StarLigue goal (54': 36-40). When Saint-Raphaël decided to attack with seven men, Andreas joined the party and scored twice to seal victory for the capital club (57': 36-44). At the final buzzer, Raul Gonzalez's men ran out comfortable winners after a thrilling encounter packed with goals (60': 38-45). Les Rouge et Bleu thus completed some very good business, taking advantage of Nantes' defeat to Aix (37-44) and Montpellier's defeat to Toulouse (33-29) to go five points clear of their nearest chasers. Next Wednesday, Paris travel to Nîmes for their final match of 2023, with the aim of finishing this first phase of the Liqui Moly StarLigue on a high.


(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)