Nantes give Celje no chance on home court
Nantes ended RK Celje Pivovarna Laško's hopes of claiming a second straight home victory after beating THW Kiel two weeks ago.
The French side played with a high intensity to take control of the match and celebrated a 35:24 away win in the Lion's Den. It was their third straight group phase victory in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League.
The hosts remain on two points despite an improvement after the break. It was Celje's fourth defeat in five matches with Nantes. Celje's Alex Vlah extended his leading position in the top scorer chart with nine goals that takes his tally to 33 in four matches.
RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) 24:35 (14:20)
- After two stunning performances against Kiel (38:36) and Barcelona (30:38), Celje were brought down to earth by HBC Nantes
- boosted by seven goals from Aymeric Minne (who finished with eight) and nine different scorers in the first 30 minutes, Nantes easily pulled ahead to a 20:14 halftime lead
- on Celje's side, only the trio of Tilen Strmljan, Ziga Mlakar and Aleks Vlah were on their usual level in the first half, combining for 11 of the hosts 14 goals
- Despite two early strikes right after the break, Celje could not stop Nantes from claiming a third straight victory, the smallest gap after minute 35 was six goals
- Nantes had to replace their line player Theo Monar, who was sanctioned with a two-match exclusion by the EHF Court of Handball after his direct red card in the match against Elverum
HBC Nantes: a glut of goals guaranteed
HBC Nantes underlined their reputation as this season's Machineseeker EHF Champions League great entertainers thanks to the efforts of rising star top scorer Aymeric Minne, who scored 11.
The French side increased their number of strikes constantly from 33 in the opener against Kielce to 35 in their first victory against Szeged to the current season high of 41 goals last week against Elverum. With 144 goals already in their tally, Nantes have the leading attack of the 16 teams.
We played a really good game, with a lot of intensity, fighting spirit and concentration. It’s not easy to come to Celje and win like this. I have a lot of respect for them, they are a good young team. I am really happy for my players, they showed a really good performance and deservedly won on this away game.