Montpellier rout FTC, as Sporting deliver exciting comeback against Irun
Montpellier HB delivered a historic performance, scoring the third-largest number of goals in a single game in the history of the competition to take a 43:29 win against FTC.
Their future opponents in the quarter-finals, Sporting CP, however, had to sweat through an aggregate win to make it to the next phase. Eventually, the Portuguese side protected the lead they built up in the first half and clung by the skin of their teeth, to seal a 61:58 aggregate win against Bidasoa Irun.
LAST 16, SECOND LEG
Sporting CP (POR) vs Bidasoa Irun (ESP) 34:28 (15:12)
Sporting CP win 61:58 on aggregate
Sporting’s amazing pool of young talent emerged once again in clutch moments on the big stage, as the Portuguese side mounted an impressive comeback in the second leg against Bidasoa Irun. Sporting’s excellent start, 6:2 after nine minutes, set the tone for the entire game and put them 1 goal ahead on aggregate. The contest stayed close on aggregate, but the Portuguese side eventually clinched a 34:28 win to progress to the quarter-finals of the second-tier European competition for the first time since the 2013/14 season
Left back Martim da Costa really shined, scoring 10 goals, seven of which came in the second half, but his brother Francisco and fellow left back Salvador Salvador also chimed in with 11 goals between them. Bidasoa mostly relied on Jon Azkue, who had an outstanding performance, with 10 goals from 11 shots.
Three goals was a difficult margin to come back from, it was a mountain to climb and we confirmed it during the 60 minutes, in which CD Bidasoa equalised the match almost all the time. Two teams with similar ideas, a very rich match tactically.
Montpellier HB (FRA) vs FTC (HUN) 43:29 (23:11)
Montpellier HB win 79:59 on aggregate
In the first leg, Montpellier used a flawless second-half performance to create a six-goal win, but this time around, in front of their own fans, the French side took it to another level and scored the third largest number of goals in a single match in the history of the EHF European League Men. Despite missing influential left wing Hugo Descat, Montpellier took advantage of strong outings from Kylian Villeminot, Jaime Fernandez Fernandez and Karl Konan, who combined for 11 first hand goals, and an excellent display from goalkeeper. Charles Bolzinger, who saved 10 shots for a 50 per cent efficiency, to create a 23:11 lead at the break. It was more of the same in the second half as the French side ushered in all of their players to seal a 43:29 win. Two wins in two games against FTC saw Montpellier cruise to the quarter-finals, continuing their bid to win their first European trophy since lifting the Machineseeker EHF Champions League in 2018.