New Vardar squad resists the heat in Norway
Like in the previous EHF Champions League Men season, Elverum Handball and HC Vardar 1961 drew in a group phase duel — but this time it happened in Norway.
Vardar coach Veselin Vujovic, who has a new squad for his third stint at the club, picked up a point in his first EHF Champions League match back. Elverum proved after the departure of their "super wings" — Alexander Blonz and Luc Abalo — that they can keep up in this competition.
- Vardar made the better start, forging ahead to their only four-goal lead (12:8) in the 25th minute
- Elverum struck back with a 5:1 run within five minutes to ensure that the score was level at the break. They then took a 16:13 lead at the beginning of the second half
- backed by 10 saves from goalkeeper Martin Tomovski, Vardar showed morale. Jeremy Toto, another new face in the squad, scored six goals to finish as their top scorer
- Hungarian international Dominik Mathe (six goals) and Norweigan youngsters Sindre Heldal (six goals) and Tobias Grøndahl (five goals) were vital in attack for Elverum
- the 22:21 score was Vardar’s last lead in the match. New Polish arrival Patrick Walczak received a red card in the 48th minute
- Elverum had the upper hand in the closing stages, but their 27:25 advantage was not enough, as Stojanche Stoilov scored the equaliser 90 seconds before the end with his one and only goal
Will Eduardo Gurbindo join Dinamo Bucuresti?
Vardar travelled to Elverum without their top signing of this summer – Spanish World and EHF EURO champion Eduardo Gurbindo.
According to several Macedonian media outlets, Gurbindo has an offer from C.S. Dinamo Bucuresti, where his former Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual is at the helm, and he is willing to transfer.
In contrast, Vardar surprisingly had two brand new signings in their squad on Wednesday night: French brothers Olivier and Alix Kevynn Nyokas, who had played for Vardar’s local rivals Metalurg before — and they both scored three goals.
I think it was a fun game. It went up and down in speed, so it was a hard game to play.