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News / BHL Newsletter: European matches brought no success

Baltic Handball League

2019.11.18 12:13

BHL Newsletter: European matches brought no success

If BHL clubs are thriving in their respective domestic competitions, then European success keeps waiting. All four clubs who were in action last week over three European cup competitions, lost their matches.

BHL champion Cocks Riihimäki had a two-game winning streak in their brand new Cocks Areena, having beaten MT Tatran Prešov and Sporting Clube de Portugal in previous home games of the EHF Champions League. But it was group leaders CD Bidasoa Irun, who was coming to visit on Sunday.

Four defeats out of four in Europe

Cocks had an easy domestic win on Wednesday, beating Åbo IFK 39:24 (Nils Kreicbergs and Aleksandar Gugleta 7 goals), but on Sunday struggled with several players injured or ill. It took almost nine minutes to score the first goal and in the end Bidasoa run away with a 28:18 win (Teemu Tamminen 5).

"We had a lot of issues before the match. Players are out and some are not fully fit – especially the playmakers. We were handicapped, but kept in the game for the first half. We talked a lot about discipline, but lost a little bit of that after the break. I still have to thank my boys, they fought well as long as they had energy left," said Cocks head coach Gintaras Savukynas.

Three-time BHL champion SKA Minsk had a mighty opponent in the EHF Cup and they put up a good fight against German giants Rhein-Neckar Löwen, but lost 32:28 at home (Yulian Hiryk and Siarhei Shylovich 7). "We had a plan, but managed to fulfill perhaps 70 per cent of it. We should have played better at home," commented SKA's head coach Ihar Papruha.

ZTR Zaporozhye arguably has the best chance of advancing from the four clubs still in contention in European competitions. The Ukrainian league runner-up also lost, but in an away match and only by three goals, as Hungarian club Grundfos Tatabanya KC was 27:24 better (Oleksandr Tilte 6).

Latvian champion ZRHK Tenax Dobele also suffered a three-goal defeat in the EHF Challenge Cup, but did so at home. They lost to Romanian side AHC Potaissa Turda, the winner of the competition in 2017/18 by 38:35 (Aivis Jurdžs and Maris Veršakovs 7).

Three BHL clubs in the Estonian Cup Final Four

In Estonia, it was a cup week and three out of four BHL clubs cleared their way to the Final Four of Estonian Cup, to be held on 7-8 December in Põlva. Cup-holders HC Tallinn beat their own reserve team Raasiku/Mistra in the second leg of the quarter-final 37:18 (Markus Oliver Mädo 7).

In an all-BHL clash, Serviti Põlva defeated Viljandi HC by a surprisingly big margin after a 6- goal win in the first leg and took a 40:14 victory (Tõnis Kase 8 – Hendrik Koks 5). HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper beat Coop Põlva twice last week, 32:12 at home (David Mamporia and Sigmar Seermann 8) and 35:16 away (Uvis Strazdinš 11).

In Lithuanian league, two BHL clubs met and Dragunas Klaipeda recovered impressively from a rare defeat the week before. The domestic title-holders took a 21:11 half-time lead against Granitas-Karys Kaunas and eventually won 35:26 (Žanas Gabrielius Virbauskas 9 – Tadas Bučinskas 7 goals).

VHC Šviesa Vilnius had an easier day, as they beat Varsa-Stronglasas Alytus 41:27 (Tomas Bernatavičius 9). If Dmytro Artemenko scored 17 goals last week for ZTR in Ukraine, then Aliaksei Haisa came close on Wednesday, as the Belarussian playmaker scored 15 goals in Celtnieks Riga's 53:26 Latvian league win over ASK/LSPA Riga.

On photo: SKA Minsk were up against German giants Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the EHF Cup. (Photo: SKA Minsk).