Brest topple Metz with first trip to Budapest in sight
After dominating the French league and being the best French team in the DELO EHF Champions League for the past few years, Metz Handball look to be taking a step backwards.
It definitely looks like a big step back, after Emmanuel Mayonnade’s side lost the first leg quarter-final of the DELO EHF Champions League against rivals Brest Bretagne Handball, 34:24.
QUARTER-FINALS FIRST LEG
Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs Metz Handball (FRA) 34:24 (16:11)
- Brest built their win on a 6:0 unanswered surge, that prevented Metz from scoring between the seventh and the 16th minute
- the five-goal gap in the first half was made by Brest’s backs, Ana Gros, Djurdjina Jaukovic and Isabelle Gullden, who combined for ten goals
- despite missing left back Kalidatou Niakate, who got injured after scoring the first goal of the game, Brest were unstoppable in attack, opening a nine-goal gap, 24:15, with 20 minutes to go
- the game was decided by the efficiency in attack, with the unstoppable Brest scoring at a flawless 76 per cent efficiency, while Metz stumbled to a 45 percent shooting efficiency, despite having eight more shots than Brest
- Metz will have a mountain to climb if they are to progress to the DELO EHF FINAL 4, with the second leg taking place on their home court next Saturday, but will have to break a four-game losing streak to Brest
Second time the charm?
This was definitely not a vintage season in the DELO EHF Champions League for Brest Bretagne Handball, but the French powerhouse got exactly the opponent they needed in the quarter-finals to play to their strengths.
After securing two convincing wins against Metz Handball in the French league, 30:19 and 27:22, Brest outdid themselves, with a confident 34:24 win against their French counterparts. With another strong outing from top goal scorer of the competition, right back Ana Gros, who scored ten times, to take her tally to 114 goals this season, Brest are overwhelming favourites to clinch their first-ever DELO EHF FINAL 4 berth. It is the closest the French side has gotten to progress to Budapest, after qualifying for the quarter-finals for the first time last season.
I'm very satisfied, we played a very good game. But I’m not forgetting what Metz can do in the second leg, you have to be very careful. We are only at "half-time" and we want to go to the FINAL4. I also like the spirit that emerges from the team, there is a dynamic and even our bench is part of the game. It gives meaning to what we do and when you see that, you are happy. But let's remain attentive and professional.