Elverum take first win in more than a year
After five defeats in their first five group matches, Elverum Handball are back on track in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23.
The close but deserved 31:29 victory against RK Celje Pivovarna Laško provided the Norwegian champions with their first points of the EHF Champions League season – and now they are on level with Celje and Pick Szeged in group B.
Elverum Handball (NOR) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Laško (SLO) 31:29 (17:14)
- Elverum's young gun Tobias Grøndahl was back in the outstanding form of the previous season, when he finished as the eighth best scorer of the EHF Champions League, netting eight goals against Celje
- on the other side, current Machineseeker EHF Champions League top scorer Aleks Vlah mostly made an impact in the first half. He finished on seven strikes and now has an overall total of 48 this season
- another key for Elverum’s success was that goalkeeper Emil Imsgard won the duel between the posts against his counterparts from Celje. In the crunch time, he stood like a wall and finished with 13 saves
- Elverum were never behind in the whole match, and their biggest advantage in the first half was four goals. In the 38th minute, they even pulled ahead to lead 22:17
- but Celje struck back and when Stefan Žabic scored his eighth goal to make the score 24:23, the match was open again until Endre Langaas secured the win for Elverum only 12 seconds before the final buzzer
Elverum end one-year downswing
On Thursday 28 October 2021, Elverum had just levelled their longest unbeaten run in the EHF Champions League of four matches with a 30:27 away win at Meshkov Brest. They had made a huge step towards the Last 16, which they eventually reached.
But from this match on, Elverum did not win another Champions League match for 370 days. The 30:30 draw against PSG in the first leg of the Last 16 was their only match without a defeat since they beat Meshkov Brest. The remaining 15 matches in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons ended in defeats, but Elverum ended their longest run without a Champions League victory on Wednesday evening.
In preparation and during the match, we played with confidence and great energy. We had enough control in the end to not make it so close, but that just shows the experience of Celje.
They made it really difficult for us tonight. In the second half we had some mistakes and let Celje into the game. And maybe we didn’t use the chances that we had, but in the end we succeeded.