A miracle in Paris!
This is amazing! Unbelievable! Impossible! In Paris, after the best match of the season, the team from Kielce played the worst match of the season, but thanks to a willingness to fight, stubbornness and nerves of steel they defended the fourth in the club’s history promotion to Final 4! In the second quarter-final match of the Velux EHF Champions League we lost to Paris Saint-Germain 26:35, snatching away the ticket to Cologne from the hands of Raul Gonzalez’s players in the last minutes! A few minutes before the end of the game, the Parisians were already leading by eleven goals, but somehow the yellow-white-and-blue managed to turn the game around. Michał Jurecki, Bartłomiej Bis and Daniel Dujshebaev did not play in the match at the Pierre de Coubertin hall.
Paris Saint-Germain – PGE VIVE Kielce 35:26 (18:11)
Paris Saint-Germain: Omeyer, Corrales – Gensheimer 5, Stepancic, Keita, Sagosen 2, Toft Hansen 4, Remili 13, Abalo 5, Dourte, L. Karabatić, Morros de Argila, Hansen 4, N. Karabatić 2, Ekdahl du Rietz, Nahi
PGE VIVE Kielce: Ivić, Cupara – A. Dujshebaev 4, Aginagalde 4, Jachlewski, Janc 4, Lijewski, Jurkiewicz, Kulesh 5, Moryto, Mamić, Cindrić 6, Fernandez 1, Karalok 2
Result of the first game: PGE VIVE Kielce – Paris Saint Germain 34:24
Aggregate result: 60:59 to the advantage of PGE VIVE Kielce
Our Saturday's victory in Hala Legionów made the Parisians very upset! During this season, before the match with us, the players of Raul Gonzalez lost only one game in the Champions League, losing with MOL-Pick Szeged 32:33. The defeat in Kielce messed up with their statistics and significantly worsened their chances for promotion to the fourth Final 4 in a row in Cologne, resulting in the need to make up for the ten-goal loss to PGE VIVE.
Since the very beginning, the hosts have demonstrated us their determination. After the first successful throw during this meeting, on the face of its author, Luc Abalo, from whom Vladimir Cupara took away any hope for scoring at least one goal in Kielce, a wild smile of triumph appeared. The Frenchman wanted to demonstrate that this time, at home, he will not allow the Serb to take the dominant position. Vlad remained calm, and a few moments later, he stopped Uwe Gensheimer in his penalty shot, showing that a week later he still remembers how to make spectacular interventions.
This time, Rodrigo Corrales was standing between the posts on the other side and unfortunately he started the match very well, stopping few subsequent actions of the team from Kielce. After eight minutes, we were losing 2:5. The game was nerve-wrecking, it was a struggle. Luka Karabatić was taken off of the field for two minutes, our players had a moment to take a deep breath and Uladzislau Kulesh showed off with a beautiful goal from a distance.
The hosts, however, did not lose their power. The back-court players Mikkel Hansen, Sander Sagosen and Nedim Remili kept shooting at the goal of Vlad Cupara. While the rifles of the team from Kielce were jammed. We could not score a goal since the ninth minute and in the seventeenth minute it was already 3:8. The Parisians had the ball and the situation looked really bad, but then Vladimir Cupara showed off by defending the shot and the follow-up shot, and Blaz Janc, motivated by the emotional reaction of Cupara, finally scored the fourth goal for PGE VIVE.
A few minutes later the Slovene showed off again with a beautiful goal when his colleagues from the court could not break through the defensive wall of his rivals. Blaz, as a back player, threw the ball right above the floor, ridiculing the PSG defense. However, all these were only single actions, our team had huge problems with the positional attack and most of the goals were scored in individual actions. In the absence of Uladzislau Kulesh, who sat on the bench, the second line posed no danger. While the team of Raul Gonzalez easily increased their advantage. 5 minutes before the end of the first half we were losing 7:13 and coach Dujshebaev asked for time. Unfortunately, the coach's reaction was not successful and in the last few seconds before the break, Mikkel Hansen set the result at 18:11, giving the Parisians the advantage of seven goals.
Coach Talant Dujshebaev had to work a miracle in the locker room to reverse the fate of this match. Ten-goal advantage of his players melted to three, and there were still thirty minutes left. It started badly. The Parisians quickly increased their advantage to eight goals, and we were still struggling to score a goal. However, Uladzislau Kulesh finally woke up on the left side and added throws from a distance to the arsenal of throws of our players. In the thirty-ninth minute, however, the hosts took another step in this match – Uwe Gensheimer set the result at 24:15 with a goal from the wing. Nine goals.
Filip Ivić appeared on the court in the goal of the team from Kielce and Thierry Omeyer manned the Parisians’ goal. Filip, however, was quickly replaced by Vlad Cupara, while the Frenchman defended every single throw. The burden of the game in PGE VIVE was taken over by Luka Cindrić. The Croatian was the only player to break through the defense and the hands of the PSG goalkeeper and he was working like a Trojan, leading the team's attack. Our players, after the best match of the season, were clearly playing the worst one, but considering the entire quarter-final competition they had advantage of one or two goals all the time. 15 minutes before the end of the game, we were losing 19:27.
Two minutes was enough for the French to finally even things out – the scoreboard showed the magical result of 29:19. The hosts did not stop. Led by Nedim Remili, ten minutes before the end they had an advantage of eleven goals - 31:20. If anything could make our team defend its promotion to the Final4 Champions League in Paris that day, it was a miracle. The yellow-white-and-blue were playing as if bound by some invisible rope of helplessness, but they did not stop attacking their rivals’ goal.
And it happened! A miracle happened! Four minutes before the end, Mikkel Hansen had to hit the shower early because of his third two minute booking, Alex Dujshebaev scored the twenty-fourth goal, and Vladimir Cupara defended Henrik Toft Hansen's throw in a one-to-one situation! The score was 34:24 and due to the rivals’ foul, Julen Aginagalde set up on the seven-meter line with the ball. Three minutes left. GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! 34:25!!! And another intervention of Vlad Cupara! At that moment, nothing could have robbed us of our ticket to Cologne. All Talant Dujshebaev's players held on to it tightly, demonstrating not only a strong grip, but also nerves of steel during the decisive moments. Sixty minutes have passed! The referee's final whistle! 35:26! We did it! We have the fourth promotion to the Final4 Champions League in the club’s history! We did it! Once again we have proven that in such two-legged ties every goal really counts! And that we should never, ever doubt the PGE VIVE Kielce team!