Wings stand out on both sides in Nantes' first win
Both sides lost their opening matches of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League season, but on Thursday, HBC Nantes had the greater will to win compared to Pick Szeged. Thanks to 10 goals by left wing Valero Rivera and a strong second half, the French side took their first points and a well-deserved 35:30 victory.
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Pick Szeged (HUN) 35:30 (17:15)
- Szeged started better in the first half, but had their last advantage at 9:8, before Nantes turned the match around – although two goals was the biggest gap
- with Valero Rivera on fire after the break, Nantes pulled ahead to their first four-goal advantage at 23:19
- in the end, Rivera won the duel of the top scoring wings against Szeged’s Bogdan Radivoievic by 10 goals to nine
- finally, a double strike for 34:29 from Baptiste Damatrin-Bertrande, who scored all his three goals after the 51st minute, decided the match
- former Szeged player Jorge Maqueda scored two goals for his new club Nantes
Age does not matter for Valero Rivera
At the age of 37, Spanish left wing Rivera is still in perfect shape, proved by his 10 goals against Szeged on Thursday.
In the 2020/21 season, the son of legendary Barcelona coach Valero Rivera senior (five Champions League trophies from 1996 to 2000) was the overall top scorer of the EHF Champions League with 95 goals, which paved the way for Nantes’ second participation at the EHF FINAL4 after 2018.
As Nantes again return to the Champions League after a season away, it is clear Rivera remains as crucial as ever to the French side.
We played the best game since the beginning of the season, with high intensity and strategy. I am proud of the players and my team.
It’s hard to win in Nantes when taking 35 goals in Nantes. We missed too many clean shots and lost balls in important moments. We must be at 100 per cent to win in the Champions League but we made too many mistakes tonight.