USAM ©Matthieumetivet Theagency 10
EHF European League

Big thriller, big hero

EHF / Tiago Nogueira

With the home side ahead throughout the first half, fans of USAM Nimes could not have predicted what was to happen in the second half as AEK Athens, led by goalkeeper Petros Boukovinas, built a wall, making crucial saves, allowing line player Ignacio Plaza Jimenez to put on the superhero cape and grab a victory.

The final moments of the game were not for the faint-hearted as Jimenez scored his fifth goal from his fifth shot, his winning strike coming in the last move of a pulsating match.

USAM Nimes (FRA) vs AEK Athens HC (GRE) 26:27 (16:14)

  • Jimenez’s last-second goal confirmed a 100% shooting record in the match (5/5) with his fifth strike deciding the result
  • Home side were ahead until the 54th minute when AEK drew level for the first time (25:25)
  • Visitors’ first lead was the winning strike from Jimenez
  • Goalkeeper Petros Boukovinas was crucial to the AEK victory, making 14 saves (40 shots/35% save ratio)
  • Team top-scorers were Dimitrios Tziras for AEK (8 goals) and Luc Tobie (7) for USAM

It is not how it starts - it is how it ends

With offensive and defensive consistency, USAM Nimes were ahead for nearly all of this clash, but they will know more than anyone this evening that handball is a 60-minute game as in the very last breath of the last second AEK went ahead for the first time to complete a surprise victory against last season's European Cup winners.

In the last minute, USAM Nimes’ Mohammad Sanad tried to play smart and sneak in an in-flight pass but it was cut out by the visitors, giving them a chance to snatch victory, which they grabbed with both hands.

We knew that Nimes were the favourites, (but) we had nothing to lose. We started to believe that we could get a result because we found solutions. It was a great game. We were fighters.
Dimitris Dimitroulias
Head Coach, AEK Athens

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