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May 29, 2022

Men’s handball: HCM Constanta in the Champions League last-16

HCM Constanta scored a historic victory on Saturday, when it qualified for the last-16 stage of men’s handball Champions League, after defeating by 34-23 (14-9) the Greek team PAOK Thessaloniki in the ‘Romeo Iamandi’ arena of Buzau, in a match counting for the penultimate (ninth) leg of Group A. HCM had a good start and led 2-0 (min. 3), then guests evened the odds at 2-2 (min. 6) and even took the lead by 3-4 (min. 12). PAOK had a good moment and increased its advantage to 6-4 in the 15th minute. But then the Romanians regained momentum and marked goal after goal, with goalkeeper Mihai Popescu in a great day. The Constanta goalie saved his team on many occasions, as HCM played for some time with one man less, and he even scored a goal (for 7-6, min. 19). This was his third goal in action during the present edition of the Champions League. The team coached by Zoltan Kurtes led by 9-6 (min. 23), after scoring five times in a row, and entered the break with a conclusive advantage, at 14-9. Constanta started the second half-time with a somehow relaxed attitude, allowing PAOK to lower the difference at just three points, 19-16 (38) and 20-17 (40). Faced with the possibility of losing their advantage, the Romanians returned in attack and took a decisive advantage of 10 points, 28-18, in minute 52. A clear, undisputed victory, 34-23.

In the last match of the qualifiers, HCM will play away with Pick Szeged (Hungary), on March 7. Montpellier HB leads the qualifying group with 16 points, followed by Cehovskie Medvedi, 12 p, Pevafarsa Valladolid, 10 p (8 games), HCM Constanta, 9 p, Pick Szeged, 3 p (8 games), PAOK, 2 p.

“This wonderful dream has come true. For now, we cannot feel what we achieved, maybe we’re too tired. We never stepped aside, we mobilized and obtained this wonderful qualification,” said one of HCM’s best players, Laurentiu Toma, for sport.ro

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