The Romanian team Potaissa Turda won the Challenge Cup in men’s handball for the first time. In the return leg of the final that Potaissa Turda played against Greek contenders AEK Athens, the Greek side secured a 27-26 win, while in the first leg the Romanian team had won 33-22.
Potaissa Turda had the lead for the most part of the match. At half time, Potaissa had a comfortable seven-goal lead. However, halfway through the second part of the game, Potaissa slowed down, allowing AEK to secure their win thanks to a 9-metre throw granted to them in the last second of regular time. Potaissa Turda’s top scorer was Mihai Asoltanei, who scored five goals, while AEK’s most remarkable scorer was Julios Arghirou, with seven goals on his record sheet.
Potaissa Turda is the fourth Romanian team to have won the Challenge Cup. The other Romanian teams who walked away with the trophy were Steaua Bucharest in 2006, UCM Resita in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and HC Odorheiu Secuiesc in 2015. For Potaissa Turda, it was the second final played in a row. We recall that in 2017 Potaissa conceded defeat in both legs of the tie they played against Sporting Lisbon, 28-37 away and 24-30 on home court, in a match hosted by the western Transylvanian city of Cluj Napoca.
The German team Fuchse Berlin won the EHF Cup in men’s handball, having secured a 28-25 win in the final they played against French opponents Saint-Raphael Var Handball. The tie was hosted by the German city of Magdeburg. Romanian goal keeper Mihai Popescu, who is currently playing for Saint-Raphael, was designated the best keeper of the final tournament.
The head coach of Romania’s men’s national handball team, the Spaniard Xavier Pascual has summoned a 23-strong pool of regulars for the playoff fixture against Macedonia, counting towards the qualifying campaign for 2019 edition of the World Championships. Seven of the handballers play abroad, while the rest of them play in the domestic championship. Five handballers come from CSM Bucharest, three from Steaua Bucharest, while two others come from Challenge Cup winners Potaissa Turda. Two handballers play for Dobrogea Constanta, while CSU Suceava, Dunarea Calarasi, Poli Timisoara and title holders Dinamo Bucharest have each provided one player for the national squad. The first leg of the tie against Macedonia is due in Skopje on June 10, while the return match is scheduled in Cluj Napoca on June 13.
(translated by: Eugen Nasta)