Spandau stuns Marseille with fantastic first half run

Credit to: Mirko Seifert

Group D: Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v CN Marseille (FRA) 13-10

After a series of promising seasons, including a Euro Cup triumph and two Final Eight appearances, Marseille had a miserable run last time, missing the cut for Belgrade, mostly due to losing all seven away matches. The French somewhat reshaped their team, bringing in more foreign aces, and they took a promising start by beating Vouliagmeni. However, they ran into another embarrassing defeat on the road, this time in Berlin.

Spandau opened the match with a combat mood, quickly gaining a 3-0 lead. Even though two new additions, world champion Hungarians Daniel Angyal and Krisztian Manhercz, pulled two goals back, Tyler Abramson’s last-gasp action goal made it 4-2.

However, the bigger troubles happened to Marseille in the second period. Marek Tkac hit one from action, then the home defence killed a man-down. Tkac scored another action goal, followed by another denied man-up from the visitors. Spandau also missed a 6 on 5 but converted the following one and led 7-2, to the astonishment of many. The hosts’ Hungarian, Laszlo Baksa had one of those few matches when he was simply unbeatable in the goal, playing a tremendous role in denying three more man-ups for Marseille.

The first minute of the third period saw one goal for each team. Then, the French had a better spell, with Andrija Prlainovic netting two extra goals and the defense killing a man-down in between. However, veteran Marko Stamm killed their momentum by sending the ball home from Spandau’s next extra, making it 9-5. Marseille missed two more man-up and conceded another one, but Ugo Crousillat’s hit was enough to cut the gap to four before the last break.

Denis Strelezkij scored another one from action 40 seconds into the fourth period, making it 11-6, and it was hard to see Marseille staging a comeback. They had a try, it was promising as in a span of two minutes they scored three from as many possessions and also killed a man-down. Then had a 6 on 5 which would have cut the gap to a single goal but they missed it, and Marin Tomasevic punished them with another great goal for 12-9. Alessandro Velotto pulled one back, but Spandau earned a man-up, and Tomasovic hammered it in from the wing for 13-10 with 1:40 remaining. Their defence denied one last 6 on 5, holding Marseille 5 on 14, a key figure for Spandau’s stunning win which dealt a huge blow for the French to their quest of making the quarters at least.

Comments from the coaches

Athanasios Kechagias, coach, Spandau

Congrats both teams – they played a great game. Defence – was the key.

Every part in the game was good for us

Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille

We knew it woind nbe easy here

We did not expect loss

We should analyse – try to find solutions whe

Difficult defeat – push hard to search points in

Problems – concentration – bad reactions in offence – good defence

At the end we had some moments but it was too late