First week of 6th SEHA Gazprom League season is behind us and has left us with a lot to talk about. Two matches are already down, and match by match the points table is soon to be filled.
At the grand season opening held in Skopje, Vardar hosted the match against the Belarusian champions Meshkov Brest. Handball connoisseurs knew this was not going to be one of those easily predictable matches, and they were right. It seemed like Meshkov Brest stepped up their game this season after building up the squad with the arrivals of Rajko Prodanovic (MOL-Pick Szeged), Vladislav Ostroushko (HCM Baia Mare), Iman Jamali (IFK Kristianstad) and Dzianis Rutenka back after injury. They left with 3 goal advantage at the halftime (15:18). However, coach Raul Gonzalez obviously managed to determine the tactics for the further minutes after Vardar slowly started stepping into bigger goal advantages. Still, Meshkov did not surrender and started equalizing the result in the last minutes of the match. In the last, thrilling minute of the match in Skopje, Cindric scores to leave Vardar with +1 and everyone thinking the match is over. However, the squad makes the mistake which costs them a 7-meter penalty and sharing a point with Brest after the draw of 34:34. Dibirov scored nine, Canellas six for the domestic team, Stojkovic added six for the guests with Jamali and Kristopans also helping Bebeshko’s to stay undefeated at the start of the season.
In the second match of the week, Celje were left defeated in their team debut. It was not easy expecting a win over the reigning SEHA Gazprom champions Veszprem, but the hosts fought til the last breath. In the great atmosphere, the Hungarians celebrated with a win and opened the season up to expectations. Sabate’s team left Celje with the first 2 points with a 34:29 (15:12) win, after having controlled the match for the whole 60 minutes. Sulic and Ilic were top scorers with 6 goals each, while Mikler saved 11 shots, Janc and Zarabec being the key players on the opposite side. Branko Tamse, Celje PL’s coach, congratulated Veszprem on a well-deserved victory saying that his team made too many unforced errors which Veszprem used to take the lead they were not able to catch anymore. However, he is aware Celje had the strongest possible opponent on the other side. Both before and after the match, more than 4.000 fans that attended the match had the opportunity to enjoy the huge 70-year handball celebration in Celje.