Paris take a hard-fought win in Zagreb
After a two month hiatus, Paris Saint-Germain returned to the Machineseeker EHF Champions League with a hard-fought 33:30 win against PPD Zagreb. Ahead of the winter break, the group A leaders were stopped by SC Magdeburg after eight straight wins and they needed to get back on track. Despite several missing players, they managed to stop Slavko Goluža's PPD Zagreb who fought throughout all 60 minutes with a strong defensive display.
HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) 30:33 (14:17)
- PSG travelled to Zagreb without Nikola and Luka Karabatic, Elohim Prandi, Kamil Syprzak and Dainis Kristopans
- like their previous matches since the arrival of Goluza, Zagreb started strong and were the first side to gain a slender advantage (8:6), courtesy of Timur Dibirov and his three goals
- Dino Slavic's saves produced a fast transition and kept the Croatian side in the lead until the 23rd minute when a man-up PSG turned the tide and took a three-goal lead by half-time
- it seemed like PSG took were in full control after hitting a 22:17 lead six minutes into the second half, but Zagreb made a comeback with a good defensive display and grabbed an equaliser on Csaba Leimeter's first goal in the game
- Zagreb allowed Paris to break away near the end with crucial mistakes and with two consecutive saves by Andreas Palicka Paris, restored a four-goal lead
- David Balaguer and Ferran Sole were crucial for Paris' win; Sole netted the three last goals to seal the final score
Sole - Balaguer connection
It is safe to say the right side of the court brought a win for Paris Saint-Germain. Ferran Sole and David Balaguer delivered almost 55 per cent of all PSG goals. Spanish right wing, Sole had a 12-goal outing with the versatile player scoring mostly from right back. When not scoring alongside Luc Steins, he was assisting Balaguer on the right wing for one of his six goals in the match. Mathematically speaking - the two players scored 18 of Paris' 33 goals.
We were missing some key players today, but despite of that we were able to take two new points and I'm really happy about that. We fought as hard as possible which was not really easy in this atmosphere here today but we did it.
A well-deserved loss in the end. We weren't able to keep the tempo as high as we wanted to in the first half, and in the second we simply weren't able to close the gap against such a team, with Andreas Palicka between the posts.