Inspired Nantes turn the tables in Kielce
A number of outstanding attacking performances, as well as a number of crucial saves by Emil Nielsen, saw HBC Nantes overturn a first leg loss to claim a place in the EHF Champions League quarter-finals.
Kielce, who had been impressive and perhaps deserved more than their third-place finish in group A, could not grab control of the game and suffered a surprise defeat to a Nantes side only recently finding form after finishing sixth in group B.
PLAY-OFFS, LEG 2
Lomza Vive Kielce (POL) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 31:34 (13:15)
First leg: 25:24. Aggregate result: 58:56 to Nantes
- Nantes proved to be the best team during the first twenty minutes of the game, taking a three goals advantage after 15 minutes
- thanks to Nicolas Tournat and taking advantage of their opponents’ technical mistakes, the Polish side came back into the game, trailing by two at the break
- in the second half, both teams remained neck to neck until a 4:1 run for Nantes in the last five minutes, thanks to a majestic Alexandre Cavalcanti, saw them come out on top
- the top scorer of the game was Nantes’ Valero Rivera, who netted nine times
- in the quarter-finals, Nantes will face the winner of the confrontation between Veszprém and Vardar
A welcome comeback for Aymeric Minne
The Nantes centre back had been absent for six weeks due to an ankle injury and chose one of the toughest situations to return to action, a play-offs game in Kielce.
But the 24-year-old showed no fear and threw himself in the game without a second thought. He helped Nantes create a lead in the first half, before remaining in control of the attack in the second half. His eight goals only tell half of his importance to the team tonight.
"This guy made the biggest difference in both matches, when he has 16 or 17 saves, what can I say?