Kielce book their quarter-final ticket
After an equal first half, Industria Kielce took full control in the crucial match against Aalborg Håndbold. Thanks to the final 33:28 victory, the team of head coach Talant Dujshebaev will skip the play-offs and book a ticket straight to the quarter-finals as they will finish no worse than second in the group. With 20 points on their account now, no other team can finish any higher than third in the group. The Danish side remain on nine points in fifth position after their seventh defeat of the season.
In a fully equal first half, Kielce were ahead to start, but in the 20th minute Aalborg edged ahead. For the remainder of the half they took the lead five times, but always with only a one goal advantage.
Lukas Sandell and Arkadiusz Moryto were the top scorers of the first half with four goals each. Both goalkeepers did not have much impact in the first 30 minutes, but Kielce’s Andreas Wolff clearly improved after the break, boosting his side with 11 saves in total.
Eight super-strong minutes on both ends of the court were enough for Kielce to break a 17:17 tie and pull ahead easily for a 25:19 lead. Moryto, Artsem Karalek and Igor Karacic were on fire in that crucial period and kept Aalborg from using their traditional best weapon - counter-attacks. Due to Kielce’s high scoring efficiency, the gap remained almost the same until the end.
Five Kielce players scored four or more goals, topped by Arkadiusz Moryto with six strikes, giving him 70 in total for the season.
Kielce make it to their seventh quarter-final
For the seventh time since the 2012/13 season, Kielce have qualified for the quarter-finals of the EHF Champions League. Five of the previous six times, they advanced to the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne, failing only once - in 2018 against PSG - in the round of the last eight teams. After their defeat at Kiel last week, the Polish champions put every effort into this crucial match against Aalborg - and now will skip the play-offs and head to the quarter-finals for the second season in a row.
You can always lose when in an arena with an atmosphere like this and when you play against such a great team. But, I am not happy with our style of play today. We missed too many chances to score.
I have never played in the quarter-final phase of the EHF Champions League and I am very excited about that. It's better for the team to skip the play-offs and move directly to the next round.