Lazar Kukic saves the day for Benfica in Lemgo
After shocking THW Kiel in the Bundesliga last Sunday (21:21), TBV Lemgo were on a mission to prove they were not just the flavour of the week, but that they actually had a role to play in the European League.
And a role did they play tonight, playing head to head with Benfica, one of the favourites for the title in the competition. But thanks to their experience, especially Lazar Kukic’s, the Portuguese side flew home with a narrow win, having been better in the decisive moments of the game.
TBV Lemgo Lippe (GER) vs SL Benfica (POR) 29:30 (16:14)
• the first half was a tough affair, with both teams trading goals without ever breaking away on the scoreboard. Benfica early led by two, but the locals were quick to turn things around. Thanks to a good defence and a late goal by Lukas Hutecek, Lemgo were ahead by two at the break
• the two sides remained neck and neck throughout the second half, with the game being decided in the final instants. Two goals by Lazar Kukic put Benfica ahead, before Jonathan Carlsbogard missed the chance to tie the score
• three players scored seven tonight: Bjarki Mar Elisson for Lemgo, and Ole Rahmel and Demis Grigoras for Benfica
• Benfica are tonight on top of group B, tied with Nantes and GOG. All three teams have two points, but Nantes are leaders thanks to their better goal difference
Experience prevailed for Benfica
When a game is decided only on a handful of possessions, you would rather have experienced players in your team. And Benfica have plenty in their roster. While Ole Rahmel and Demis Grigoars shone on the scoreboard, Lazar Kukic and old-but-still-good Jonas Kallman took things into their own hands in the last minutes. The Serbian playmaker scored two of his four goals in the last two minutes, while the Swedish winger defended perfectly when Fredrik Simak tried to tie things up in the last seconds.
It was a tough match. We knew it would be difficult to play in Lemgo. They have an amazing team. It's a dream for us to win in Lemgo. We are happy today.