Late comeback brings Celje second victory
RK Celje Pivovarna Laško are still alive. After six straight defeats, the Slovenian side showed an incredible endgame and a great character. From being down 23:26 against Elverum, the hosts scored the last six goals and took their second group phase victory, while the Norwegian club remain on two points.
- in the fully equal first half, the lead changed six times, but the only two-goal advantage in the first 27 minutes was 2:0 for the hosts
- backed by seven goals from Aleks Vlah, Celje managed to get full control in the last minutes of the first half - and took a 15:13 lead to the locker room. Vlah ended the game as top scorer with 11 goals and tops the scorer list with 64 goals now
- the hosts’ advantage lasted until 19:18 in the 38th minute – then Elverum had an extremely strong five minutes. Goalkeeper Šimon Mizera saved some important shots, and his teammates converted those into a 4:0 run for the 22:19 advantage
- Celje managed to strike back, turning a 23:26 deficit into a decisive 28:23 lead thanks to five consecutive goals, as Elverum lacked precision in attack
- Tilen Strmljan was the ‘man of the endgame’, as he scored three of his six goals in the last nine minutes
Celje keep their play-off hopes alive
Celje caused a major surprise in round 2 by beating mighty THW Kiel on home ground - but the luck of the young guns then came to an end. The Slovenian side lost six consecutive matches, including by 19:21 at Elverum, and as Szeged took three victories, the gap to sixth position had grown to four points. Nine minutes before the end of the second leg against Elverum, their seventh defeat was extremely close, but then a great comeback proved Celje’s will and ambition.
We are really happy to get a win. After a bad start to the second half, we showed character and overturned the match in our favour. Sadly our captain Aleks Vlah got injured today, and couldn’t help us at the very end of the match. We've also had other problems with injuries, both pre-match and on the match, so hopefully we manage to get back to a clean injury record real soon.
We both played well in defence, the match was full of intensity. In the first half we didn’t play fast enough, in the second we were much better. We had momentum to take the win, but Celje managed to get that momentum back, and after a tight finish, we sadly didn’t manage to overturn the match in our favour.