20210210 MCL Hbcnantes Aalborg Gurbindo
EHF Champions League

Nantes take first home victory of the season

MAL7445 V
EHF / Björn Pazen

After three straight defeats and – even worse – no victory at home so far this season in the EHF Champions League, HBC Nantes struck back in the Match of The Week on Wednesday night. 

The French side beat Aalborg Håndbold 38:29, and the 2018 VELUX EHF FINAL4 finalists' hero was a Danish player. 

MOTW: HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) 38:29 (18:14)

  • HBC Nantes ended an almost two-year wait for a home victory in the EHF Champions League - their last home win was against Rhein-Neckar Löwen (34:32) in the Last 16 in the 2018/2019 season 
  • Nantes played a dominant first 20 minutes, pulling ahead from 6:1 to 12:7 and 14:9, before Aalborg reduced the gap
  • the hosts enjoyed a one-sided second half and had the win secured when they moved to their first double-figure lead (31:21) in minute 45
  • Sebastian Barthold (Aalborg), Valero Rivera and Aymeric Minne (both Nantes) were the top scorers in the match with seven goals each
  • Aalborg’s 28th goal of the match, scored by Andreas Holst Jensen, was their 2000th EHF Champions League goal 

Emil Nielsen wins the Danish duel

Facing his countrymen, with whom he just celebrated winning gold at the 2021 IHF Men's World Championship in Egypt provided special motivation for Nantes goalkeeper Emil Nielsen, particularly in the first half.

Saving 13 of 27 shots in 30 minutes was more than both goalkeepers made in 60 minutes for Nantes against Celje last week. Ultimately, Emil Nielsen made 17 saves and finished with a 37 per cent save efficiency, which saw him named as the Player of the Match.

Post-match quotes

"We’re really sad tonight. We had to get more physical, more speed, more efficient in this game," said Aalborg coach Stefan Madsen.

"We lost a lot of points during the last games. (The) key games are coming, but we know that we can win against any team and are ready to fight like dogs," said HBC Nantes left back Olivier Nyokas.

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