Montpellier hand Vardar first loss of the season

EHF / Kevin Domas

If the first two games of the season from Montpellier in the Champions League could be described as lacklustre, the French side have really stepped up since. Montpellier beat THW Kiel 37:30 two weeks ago, and HC Vardar 1961 could not do anything to stop the young French team on Wednesday evening in Skopje.

With Kyllian Villeminot, Julien Bos and a stellar Kevin Bonnefoi between the posts as the main actors, Montpellier showed no mercy when it came to handing Vardar their first loss of the season, 31:25.

HC Vardar 1961 (MKD) vs Montpellier HB (FRA) 25:31 (11:15)

  • led by Julien Bos, who scored their first four goals of the game, Montpellier soon had a three-goal lead (8:5) but could not shake off Vardar’s resistance until late in the first half
  • it was only thanks to Kevin Bonnefoi’s saves in the closing minutes of the first half that the French side took their first four-goal advantage of the evening
  • the goalkeeper kept on stopping Vardar’s shots after the break, making a total of 12 saves at a 40 per cent efficiency rate
  • Montpellier cruised away to an eight-goal lead (28:20) in the 52nd minute
  • three players scored seven goals: Vardar's Timur Dibirov and Montpellier's Julien Bos and Kyllian Villeminot
  • Montpellier now have five points and are in fourth place in the group A, while Vardar have the same number of points but have fallen to fifth on goal difference

Kevin Bonnefoi – an entry that changed the game

Marin Sego started the game between the posts for Montpellier. For the 25 minutes that the Croatian national team goalkeeper was on the court, the French side took the lead without really cruising away.

But then came the introduction of Kevin Bonnefoi. Bonnefoi made three saves in a row in five minutes and kept up the pace after the break. He even put the cherry on top of his 12 saves by scoring a goal in the 44th minute, giving Montpellier a six-goal lead that proved decisive.

During the whole game Vardar didn’t play good. I’m sorry for this because the atmosphere in the hall was great. We did not play good today, but (we) will look to be stronger after this game. The season is long, and I hope we’ll play much better in future.
Veselin Vujovic
HC Vardar 1961 head coach
I am proud that we won today. It was a fantastic atmosphere. The fans were great and it is difficult to play in such conditions. Thanks to our defence in the beginning, we made an advantage. I also expect a difficult match in Montpellier.
Arthur Lenne
Montpellier line player

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