Motor make huge step towards play-offs
After taking the points from Celje in the last round, HC Motor took their second away victory in a row in the EHF Champions League group phase.
The Ukrainian champions remain on course for sixth position and the play-offs with four points, passing Celje and Nantes to go temporarily fifth.
Zagreb are still without points at the bottom of the group with six straight defeats.
HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs HC Motor (UKR) 23:24 (13:13)
- Zagreb started well, leading 9:6, before Motor re-started their engines and came back, with the Croatian side leading for the last time at 10:9
- Though Motor were constantly ahead after the break, their biggest gap was just two goals
- Motor goalkeeper Maxim Vyunyk saved a Zagreb penalty with five minutes remaining at 21:20, and shortly after Barys Pukhouski made the lead two
- Pukhouski and Lithuanian Aidenas Malasinskas were top scorers for the victors with five strikes each, David Mandic netted six for Zagreb
Motor's new away strength
A thrilling 32:31 win at Celje and now a 24:23 victory at Zagreb has made HC Motor jump for joy. In November 2016, the Ukrainian side had their last two away victories in a row, snatching the points from Braga (Portugal) and Nantes (France). From November 2018 until victory at Celje on 28 October, they had not won any away Champions League match for two years.
At home, Motor’s only matches this season were against Barcelona and Veszprém - so quite hard to win. Their next match is a return against Zagreb at home.
It's a great win but there is not much time to celebrate because we have to do everything we can to prepare for the second leg, but the trip back home is going to be a lot easier now.