Six EHF Champions Cup memories to get you ready for Sicily
Next week sees the EHF’s final beach handball event of the season take place as the EHF Beach Handball Champions Cup throws off in Sicily on Thursday.
The groups for the men's and women's competition were revealed last week and, with a week to go before the first matches are played, we take a look back at the history of beach handball’s end-of-season spectacular.
The first ever EHF Champions Cup took place in Gran Canaria. In the final of the women’s event Skrim Kongsberg from Norway faced Croatian side Detono Zagreb, who up until the final had not lost even a single set.
However, it took Kongsberg only 10 minutes to make exactly that happen when they took the first set 20:16. But Zagreb bounced back quickly, and spurred on by Lucija Kelava, who scored 19 points overall, they took the second set 26:18.
In the subsequent shoot-out Kongsberg’s Tonje Klevstad saw her attempt saved, but because Zagreb’s Nikolina Vojic and Katja Herakovic also faltered in front of the goal, it was Kongsberg who ultimately celebrated.
In the men’s event Detono Zagreb’s men’s team was determined to take revenge when they met BHC SKKM-EKATERINODAR from Russia in the final.
And first it looked as if things were going their way as they took the first set 22:20. But there were no easy wins this afternoon and hence Ekaterinodar – despite a red card for Viacheslav Kasatkin – took the second set 17:14, and the men’s final also went into shoot-out.
Of the first five attempts for each team, two Croatian and two Russian players did not convert their shots.
The shoot-out was therefore extended, and Zagreb’s Marko Hranilovic was the first whose nerves succumbed to the pressure, while Ekaterinodar’s Roman Kalashnikov scored to secure the tournament victory.
BHC-SKKM Ekaterinodar found themselves on the exact same position they had stood one year - at the top of the podium.
The Russian team from Krasnodar were by far the tournament's dominating force in the men's event, winning all of their eight matches, not even losing a single set. In the final Team Sweden put up a good fight but eventually went down 21:18 and 15:14.
In the women's event defending champions Skrim Kongsberg from Norway had to bury their hopes for a successful title defence when they lost 0:2 against Multichem Szentendrei NKE.
However, they might find some small consolation in the fact that they lost against the eventual winners, as Szentendrei beat BHT Piotrkowianin Juko Piotrków Trybunalski from Poland 2:1 to lift the coveted championship plate.
For the first time in the history of the EHF Beach Handball Champions Cup, two teams from the same nation topped the podium in the men's and the women's event.
First Club BM Playa de Malaga beat 2014 and 2015 winners Ekaterinodar Krasnodar in the men's competition, then Deporte y Empresa Clinicas Rincon beat defending women's champions Multichem Szentendrei to claim the trophy.
Both finals were true advertisement for beach handball with brilliant action and great suspense as only the shoot-out decided both games.
In the men's final Ekaterinodar had taken the first set comfortably 28:17, but Malaga struck back in the second set (22:20) and eventually also won the shoot-out 6:4.
In the women's final Deporte y Emprese Clinicas Rincon won the first set 15:12 and recovered in the shoot-out after they had lost the second set 23:19.
Ekaterinodar Krasnodar and C.BM Playa Algeciras were crowned winners of the EHF Beach Handball Champions Cup on Sunday afternoon after four exciting days of competition in Gran Canaria.
Krasnodar reclaimed their 2014 and 2015 title as they beat 2016 champions Club BM Playa Ciudad de Malaga 2:1 in the final of the men’s competition. With the victory, the Russian team took revenge for their 1:2 loss at the hands of the Spanish side in the 2016 trophy match.
The women’s tournament saw a new champion crowned, as C.BM Playa Algeciras recorded a 2:0 win versus Dutch team Westside to claim the title.
Krasonodar made their way to the final by way of a 2:1 win versus Orosházi FKSE Hír-Sat in their semi-final on Sunday morning, while Ciudad de Malaga beat OS Gordos / Labminho - Clube Naval de Leca with the same result in the penultimate match.
Both women’s semi-finals were also decided with shoot-outs on Sunday morning. First 2015 champions Multichem Szentendrei, who entered the semi-final against C.BM Playa Algeciras undefeated, lost 1:2 to the Spanish side. In the second semi-final on Sunday, Westside beat Brüder Ismaning 2:1.
In the men’s event Detono Zagreb, featuring a number of internationals, including captain Ivan Juric, defeated title holders Ekaterinodar Krasnodar 2:0 (19:18, 24:16) with Tiago Torgal scoring 10 points and Josip Matezovic (9) for the new champions. The first set had ended close, but with Zagreb always in front, while in the second period the Russian side found themselves 8:2 down early on and could not find a way back.
The women’s competition saw Hungarian team Multichem-Szentendrei N.K.E. come from behind to beat GRC LEC-apostaganha.com from Portugal 2:1 (16:21, 22:6. SO 6:2) on a shoot-out after they stormed the second period following their first period loss. But they did not win in the best circumstances after the tournament’s best goalkeeper Agnes Kokai had saved the Portuguese’s first shot, the women’s top scorer Rita Alves then dropped the ball on her shot to hand the title to the Hungarians who saw a player of the match performance from Renata Csiki, who scored 16 points.
Taberna El Panduro A M Team Almeria became the third Spanish winner of the women’s title as Almeria fought back from losing the first period to beat Italian side Blue Team 7:2 in the shootout.
It looked as though Blue Team were on course to celebrate a memorable victory on home sand when Luigi Toscano’s took a tense first period 18:16. However, back came the side from Spain, and Almeria – who came in to the final having won all six matches in Sicily – took another close period 20:17 before then triumphing in the final.
In the men’s competition, a goal in the dying moments of the second period followed by success in the shootout ensured Pinturas Andalucía BM Playa Sevilla won gold.
Three-time Champions Cup champions Ekaterinodar Krasnodar were within touching distance of a fourth title with the score in the second period 11:10 in the Russians’ favour.
However, Rui Rodrigues had other ideas and, with the clocking ticking towards the 10-minute mark, the Sevilla number-8’s 360-shot hit the back of the net to spark wild celebrations in the crowd and take the final to a shootout that went the Spaniards’ way.