Plock stun Nantes and book first ever quarter-final
After a draw in Poland in the reverse fixture, everything remained open between Nantes and Plock ahead of the second-leg of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League play-offs, especially as neither team really had the upper hand in the first leg.
And neither team really had the upper hand in the Match of the Week on Wednesday night either. Nantes had the best start, leading early by five, but Plock increased their defensive level in the second half to stop an in-form Aymeric Minne and his teammates. Nearing full-time, a last goal by Nantes’ Alexandre Cavalcanti threw the game to a penalty shootout.
While the visitors did not miss any of their five shots in the shootout, Kauldi Odriozola saw his attempt saved by Ignacio Biosca Garcia, before Przemyslaw Krajewski gave Plock their first ever quarter-final ticket in the top flight.
PLAY-OFFS, SECOND LEG
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 29:30 (14:11)(25:25)(4:5)
Aggregate score: 61:62
- led by Player of the Match Aymeric Minne (nine goals total), who scored five in the first 10 minutes of the game, Nantes had the best start to take an early five-goal lead after 16 minutes, 9:4
- rotating his roster heavily in the second part of the first half, Plock coach Xavi Sabate finally found the defensive solution. The visitors only conceded two goals in the last eight minutes of the half to come back within three at the break
- Plock returned to court with much stronger defensive intentions, as the visitors only conceded 11 goals after the break
- Ignacio Biosca Garcia was clearly the leader for Plock, stopping eight shots after the break before blocking Odriozola’s penalty in the shootout to give his team their berth in the next stage
- Plock will face SC Magdeburg in the quarter-finals
Ignacio Biosca Garcia: Plock’s hero
It has been one hell of a season for Ignacio Biosca Garcia. The Spanish goalkeeper started the season with Kadetten Schaffhausen, before signing with Plock in the winter. And it seems like he is a hero already, as the former Barça goalkeeper halted 11 shots on Wednesday night, including a decisive penalty against Odriozola. He may not have delivered the performance of his season but Biosca Garcia was Plock’s hero in the Match of the Week.
Photos: Jean Le Boulanger / HBC Nantes
It’s the first time in the history of this club. We feel pretty amazing. Of course, we came here to fight to go to the next stage. We didn’t start the game well as we wanted of course. We knew the atmosphere here would be fantastic and it was. Nantes is a really great team. We didn’t give up. We fought to the end.
Lots of emotions here. From our side, I cannot describe how happy I am now.