NEWS REPORT: Both finalists hope to face again at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne
Vardar dethrone Veszprem as SEHA League champions
Vardar Skopje had made it again: After 2012 and 2014, the Macedonians champions have become champions of the SEHA - Gazprom League. In Brest (Belarus), Vardar won the duel of the VELUX EHF Champions League quarter-finalists against defending champions Telekom Veszprem in a dominant way 26:21 (11:11).
Match winner for the new trophy holder was goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik, who saved 15 Veszprem shots. The first 43 minutes of the final had mostly been equal, but after the score of 17:17, Sterbik shut up his shop, latest at the score of 24:19 the deal for the Macedonians had been sealed, who now fight for their ticket to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 against Flensburg, while Veszprem duel with Montpellier in their quarter-finals.
“We hope for one more match against Vardar at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne to take revenge,” said Veszprem’s coach Javier Sabate. Vardar wing Ivan Cupic shares those hopes: “I hope we meet again in the final in Cologne. We deserved to win the SEHA League, now we have two more finals in the Champions League against Flensburg – and I dream to make it to Cologne for the first time in Macedonian handball history.”
Earlier on Sunday, thanks to 20 saves of goalkeeper Ivan Pesic against his country-fellows of PPD Zagreb, Final4 host Meshkov Brest took the bronze medal with a well-deserved 23:19 (14:10) victory exactly on the 15th birthday of the club.
The rundown of the semi-finals on Friday was exactly the same as in 2016: First Vardar beat Zagreb – this time in an unexpected clear way 36:28 after a decisive 19:12 half-time lead. Then host Brest – boosted by more than 4,000 vociferous fans – were close to end Veszprem’s final series in a true thriller. With the final whistle the last shot of the Belarusian champions was blocked, thus like one year ago, a penalty shoot-out needed to decide – and Veszprem were more lucky in the end, winning 33:31. Like in both Last16 matches in the VELUX EHF Champions League, Brest closely were beaten.
On the fringes of the final tournament, Bozidar Djurkovic, President of the Serbian Handball Federation and Chairman of the EHF Competition Commission, was elected new Vice-President of the SEHA – Gazprom League. Beginning of June and when the national leagues came to an end, the board will decided, which ten clubs will participate in the then seventh season of the regional league.
David Szlezak, Managing Director of EHF Marketing GmbH, was guest of the final day as official EHF representative in Brest.
Results of the SEHA Final4 tournament:
Semi-finals: Vardar Skopje – PPD Zagreb 36:28 (19:12),
Bronze medal match: Zagreb – Brest 19:23 (10:14)
Final: Vardar – Veszprem 26:21 (11:11)
The Best 7 of the 2017 Final4 SEHA Gazprom League:
Goalkeeper: Mirko Alilovic (Telekom Veszprem)
MVP: Joan Canellas (Vardar)
Overall SEHA Gazprom League 2016/17 top scorer: Blaz Janc (Celje) 120 goals
Photo: Courtesy of SEHA Gazprom League
TEXT: Björn Pazen / si
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