Szeged salvage important away point against Montpellier
In a clash of two potential EHF FINAL4 contenders, a three-goal lead with four minutes to play was not enough for hosts Montpellier Handball to secure an opening EHF Champions League group A victory against Pick Szeged.
Thanks to an eighth strike from Szeged’s Champions League debutant Sebastian Frimmel, the Hungarian side deservedly earned a point.
- After five victories each and one draw in previous encounters, the overall balance between Montpellier and Szeged remains equal after Wednesday's 29:29 draw
- Szeged had a flying start, easily pulling ahead to 5:1, mainly thanks to counter attack goals, while Montpellier were below par in attack in the initial stages
- the hosts had their wake-up call after trailing 7:3 and levelled the score for the first time at 11:11. From that moment on, the match was on edge
- Montpellier were ahead 29:26 in the 56th minute, but four errors meant that they did not score again
- Frimmel was the top scorer of the match with eight goals, including the equaliser at 29:29 in the 59th minute
Canayer and Pastor provide a constant presence on the bench
Both Montpellier and Pick Szeged's head coaches have longevity on the bench. Having steered Montpellier to more than 40 trophies, including two Champions League titles, Montpellier head coach Patrice Canayer is in his 28th straight season at the French club.
Since 2013, Juan Carlos Pastor has been head coach at Szeged, and as Xavi Pascual (2009 to 2021) left Barça to join Dinamo Bucharest, the Spaniard is the second-longest serving coach among the 16 current EHF Champions League participants. Pastor steered Szeged to two Hungarian league trophies and an EHF Cup victory in 2014, when they beat Montpellier in the final.
We started well and edged the first half, but I think the second half was more complicated and even. Overall, we can be happy with the point won here in this great hall against a very competitive Montpellier team. We didn’t use all of our squad — some players need resting.