Worth Watching: Montpellier vs. Chekhovskie Medvedi

In my own little private Handball world it’s still last Saturday afternoon and I’ve just finished watching the 2nd leg match between Montpellier and Chekhovskie Medvedi. If you haven’t yet seen this match I encourage you to do so. A very injury depleted Montpellier side (Karabatic and Kvatnic are in civvies and Guigou is sitting on the sidelines) needs to turn around a 5 goal, 32-27 loss in Russia. Can Montpellier do it? Worth checking out even if only for the last 30 minutes or so.

Montpellier vs. Chekhovskie Medvedi (2nd Leg): http://www.ehftv.com/ec/cl/men/2009-10/video/001044

An explanation on Handball Time Shifting: http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.539

For those of you that have seen this match, check out my extended post:

So, last night I finally got around to watching the 2nd leg match and I’m patting myself on the back for having avoided finding out the score of the match. This means I’ve done a good job of avoiding the EHF, Facebook and other websites. Accomplishing this used to be a lot harder to do and on the whole, I’ll give the EHF a lot of credit for creating a web streaming platform that is very conducive to time shifting. The ehfTV website contains very few clues as to the outcome of the matches. There are no scores and they almost always post a non-descript photo of the match. The annoying exception was last year’s photo of Ciudad Real hoisting the Champions League trophy.

All’s well. But, then I notice in the lower right hand corner that the minute counter for the video goes all the way up to 104 minutes. Having watched lots of matches on the EHF website I knew that this counter usually is in the neighborhood of 75-85 minutes. Twenty extra minutes can only mean a few things. It could simply mean that the EHF folks have messed up in the production by perhaps running the camera through halftime. Or maybe there were some major injuries and again they decided to keep the camera rolling. Or it could mean that the game went to a penalty shootout. Of course, I’m thinking that’s pretty unlikely, though, since with the away goal tiebreaker the only way that can happen would be for the second match to end with the exact same score (32-27) as the first match.

But, as there were no halftime delays or major injuries it became steadily clearer to me that Montpellier and Chekhovskie were indeed destined for the unlikely mirror result of 32-27. So, for me it simply became a question of how it was going to happen and whether there might be some of the last second shenanigans that often occur in close matches with so much at stake. Fortunately, Sobol’s no angle wing shot goal occurred too close to full time for such a controversy to occur.

With plenty of time on the ticking clock my enjoyment of the penalty shots was also somewhat compromised as I knew that the 5 vs.5 competition was undoubtedly going to end in a draw. At least I had a good deal of suspense in the sudden death portion, but with only 30 seconds on the clock for David Juricek to shoot his penalty shot, I knew my “favorite” club was doomed and I’ve never heard Montpellier’s gym go so eerily quiet.

Montpellier has certainly had their share of success in Champions League classics. In the 2003 finals they overcame an 8 goal deficit first leg deficit against Portland San Antonio. In 2005, they almost blew a 14 goal advantage in the 2nd leg against Flensburg. I was fully expecting them to pull off yet another miracle, but this time it was not to be. I’m guessing some folks in Pamplona and Flensburg are grinning with satisfaction that what goes around has finally come around.

Side note: Mladen Bojinovich’s 9 meter free throw goal with no time remaining in the first leg provides clear evidence of just how much every goal counts in these home and away aggregate playoffs.

Team Handball Blog (4 Oct 05): Top 10 reasons why I love to hate Montpellier handball

Team Handball Blog (14 Mar 05): Moins Treize! Montpelier Pulls Off a Miracle: http://teamhandball.blogspot.com/2005_03_01_archive.html
Video of last second shot from 2005: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiQrocwn8Hw&NR=1