Vardar have managed to reach premier win of the year celebrating 37:29 against NEXE in the opening round of the second part of SEHA Gazprom League season. Macedonians now need only one more victory to secure the top position after the regular part of the season.
NEXE have once again proved to be a good opponent, tough to play against even at home. They were playing amazing in the end of the first half and in the beginning of the second but inexperience caused them to drop the tempo failing to deliver a better resistance in remaining parts of the match.
This was Vardar’ 16th victory of the season keeping them up front with 41 points despite of the fact that they did not have Luka Cindric, Strahinja Milic and Rogerio Moraes on the court today.
Gonzalez, Vardar coach:
NEXE have, under their new coach, managed to deliver a very good performance. We've opened the match well but they got better as the time went by in the first. Our 6-0 defence did not work and NEXE's players were well aware of how to get past it. Fortunatelly for us, 5-1 defense in the second half was a way better choice, our goalie had some superb saves allowing us to score 3-4 easy goals and open the gap sailing off to a comfortable lead. I can say I'm satisfied with this match as it was our first after the winter break.
Horvat, NEXE coach:
We’ve opened both first and second half very nervously making several technical mistakes which are simply not allowed and in most cases well punished when you play against such a quality rival. We’ve managed to cut their lead in the end of the first but in the second the gap got too wide and they were smart enough to use it and seal the deal. In last 10 minutes we’ve simply lacked strength to cope with them.
Vesligaj, NEXE goalkeeper:
As coach said, we did open the match nervously but managed to get back into it. We however did not manage to achieve the same result in the second half allowing them to punish our mistakes and widen the gap. They've today showed their quality which has brought them a clear win in the end.
Cupic, Vardar player:
It was our first game after more than a month. It wasn’t easy because we’ve trained only twice together. Our coach decided to give all players about 20-30 minutes today. We’ve today tried both 6-0 and 5-1 defense. In the second half we were making too many mistakes but in the second we’ve managed to take advantage of theirs and decide the match.