Thriller finish in Belgrade – Partizan wins the game, Tatran Presov secures the top spot
In the final match of the regular part of the SEHA – Gazprom League season, Partizan welcomed Tatran Presov on Monday evening in Belgrade. In a thriller finish, Partizan managed to reach a 36:35 win over Tatran, which has, despite the loss, secured the top spot in group B following the group stage.
The hosts opened the match well – they were motivated to deliver a strong performance against Tatran after the road loss in Slovakia last week taking a two-goal lead (5:3) with only five minutes on the clock. Coach Marek Gernat and his guys have however managed to find a way to catch the right rhythm soon, and as a result that Oliver Rabek leveled the match at 6:6 with about 20 minutes left to go in the first. Unfortunately for the home-team fans, the guests not only managed to close the gap but have later on taken the control of the match as well finishing the first half with a two-goal advantage (16:18). Lukas Gogola led their offence going 6/6 in the first, while Nikola Ivanovic added three goals. Stefan Petric on the other side netted five from just as many attempts for Partizan, while Nikola Zecevic finished the first half with three goals.
At the beginning of the second, the hosts were looking much better again closing the gap only five minutes into the second half. From that moment on, neither team was able to open the gap and seal the deal, as we entered the final five minutes of the encounter with a 32:31 Partizan lead. At that point, home-team coach Dario Krzelj called a time-out, after which his team went on a 3:0 scoring run led by Ivan Micic to widen the gap to 35:31. And just when it seemed like this one is all over, Tatran managed to completely close the gap (35:35) with a 4:0 scoring series in just over two minutes. With only 15 seconds left on the clock, Partizan used the final possession as Stefan Petric netted his eleventh goal of the day to give Partizan a 36:35 win in the end.
Stefan Petric led Partizan offensively in this one, along with Nikola Zecevic (five goals, seven assists), and Uros Kojadinovic (five goals, eight assists). Lukas Gogola on the other side finished the match with ten goals for Tatran, while Oliver Rabek added seven. Nikola Ivanovic scored six, to go along with eight assists.
With this, Tatran will despite the loss today finish on top of the group B – as all teams have six points in the end, overall goal difference is what decides the final ranking. Vardar 1961 will move on to the knock-out stage of the competition from the second spot, and Partizan from the third.
Marek Gernat, Tatran Presov coach:
It was a very hard match. We prepared very well winning the first half, but Partizan managed to get back into it. We lost tonight, but we can be happy because we’ve managed to secure the top spot in the group. I have to add that no matter who we end up playing, we’ll give our best to reach the Final 4 tournament.
Sergio Lopez, Tatran Presov player:
Congratulations to Partizan on the victory. It was a tough match. We played well in defence during the first half, but in the second we were tired. In the end, we achieved our goal and kept first place in the group. We don’t know a lot about Eurofarm Pelister, our next opponent. I know that they’ve competed in the EHF European League, and it is very hard to beat them on their court.
Dario Krzelj, Partizan coach:
It could have been a bigger difference, but it didn’t turn out that way. We will have to analyze this game deeply and see what should have been better. I think we underestimated Tatran because they arrived here with a weakened squad, without a couple of players. I would like to thank the fans who came to support us once again.
Uros Kojadinovic, Partizan player:
First of all, I would like to congratulate Tatran Presov players on a great match tonight. They came here to do their best and most of the time we were chasing the result, but we didn’t give up. We turned the match in our favour, even having an advantage that could have secured us the top spot at one point, but unfortunately, something was missing in our play. We have to think about it, we’ve conceded way too many goals. I would like to thank the fans for their great support.