Nexe too strong for Motor
Nexe and Frisch Auf Göppingen were the victorious sides in the first fixtures of the Last 16, and are on pace now to meet in the quarter-finals. Motor were trailing throughout their match as they struggled to break Nexe's defence. Valur managed to keep up with the Germans for 20 minutes, but the experience of Frisch Auf Göppingen eventually prevailed, especially in the second half as they built up their lead.
LAST 16, FIRST LEG
HC Motor (UKR) vs RK Nexe (CRO) 23:27 (8:13)
Nexe secured an away win against Motor and took the first steps towards the quarter-finals. Both sides' goalkeepers were on a high in the opening minutes of the game, but Nexe eventually had more success, while Motor's first goal came after eight minutes of play. Mid-way through the first half Nexe outscored Motor six to one to stretch the lead to 11:6.
The Ukrainian side struggled, as Nexe's defence managed to stop the competition's top scorer, Ihor Turchenko, allowing him only two goals in the first 30 minutes, and just five in total. The Croatian side's biggest lead in the game was seven, but as the final buzzer was approaching, Motor's 47 per cent of converted shots rose to 62 per cent to close the gap to only three. In the end, Tomislav Severec took a jump shot at the buzzer securing a 27:23 win.
We didn‘t expect this tough match today. We analysed the game of Motor and we respect them a lot and they showed character today. We did as well. Nothing is finished. In just seven days' time we will have a rematch.
Valur (ISL) vs Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER) 29:36 (13:17)
It was all Göppingen's game until the 15th minute as they reached a three-goal lead. However, boosted by the chants from the stands and a series of Björgvin Pall Gustavsson saves, Valur managed to make a turnaround (10:9). From then on, however the game turned in favor of Göppingen as Kevin Gulliksen was unstoppable on offense and Marin Šego stretched out for eight saves, allowing their side to return to a strong lead by half-time. Gulliksen scored a perfect nine goals from nine shots, and together with Marcel Schiller (eight) and Tim Kneule (six) they netted 23 goals, 64 per cent of all Göppingen's total.
Valur's blackout halfway through the second half helped, during which they were goalless for eight straight minutes, which was enough for the guests to make a decisive 5-0 run (22:16). Even though the home side was giving their best to rebound, they could not shift the momentum despite an outstanding performance by Magnús Óli Magnússon. In the second half, the left back scored seven out of his nine goals.