Metalurg grabbed the pole position for the title

HC Metalurg 30:21 HC Vardar Skopje (16:11)

08.05.2014, Avtokomanda, Skopje

In the second match of the Macedonian championship play-offs Metalurg demolished Vardar at their home arena, and now has better goal difference and same number of points in the quest for the title.
Just week ago, Vardar defeated Metalurg with minimal one goal difference. Since Macedonian handball league is all about Vardar and Metalurg, which are just too strong for their opponents, this victory gives a great chance for Metalurg to return the title to Avtokomanda after one year.
It was clear and easy win for Metalurg players, who were motivated and eager to show the world who is the Macedonian handball champion. From the beginning, Vardar players were confused and their defense was very easy to penetrate, Mirkulovski again showed that he is one of the best players in “one on one” play.
What surprised many was the decision of Vardar’s head coach to put Inaki Malumbres as a first pick between the posts.
The only bright spot in otherwise weak team of Vardar was Filip Lazarov. Many mistakes in attack confusion and not having alternative for substandard Dujshebaev on right back position made the difference in this match. Vugrinec, Atman, Dimovski, Stanic and Mitrevski just helped Mirkulovski in a impeccable game and a great chance to play directly in next year’s Champions League Group Stage.
Metalurg took the initiative, and the lead with few easy fast breaks and held 3-6 goals distance throughout the first half, which ended with 16-11.
The second half, Vardar tried to get back in the game but Metalurg played paciently and waited for their chance. Even when home defense did not cover the game well, there was Mitrevski to stop any last hope the guests had. In the end, in a very relaxed finished Metalurg defeated Vardar with 9 goals difference, 30-21. Top scorer for Metalurg was Renato Vugrinec with 8 and Dejan Manaskov with six goals. Igor Karacic scored 6 times for Vardar, Lazarov and Dibirov scored 4.
The derby was tense and the sport hall, where the game was played, had just the minimum requirements for Macedonian championship match. Because of the sparks and rivalry there was an incident at the half time when one of Metalurg fans escaped the security and the police and tried to settle old debts on the court with Vardar goalkeeper Strahinja Milic.
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