Lauge secures fifth trophy for lucky Telekom Veszprem

final match 2022

PPD Zagreb were ahead for 58 minutes, then the defending champions turned the final around. 

What a thriller in Zadar! The final shot decided the final of the SEHA Final 4 2022 in the Kresimir Cosic Hall. After brave PPD Zagreb had been ahead until minute 58 and after an outstanding first half, Telekom Veszprem turned the match around in the last minutes to win 32:30 after being down 13:19 at the break.

The match winner was team captain Rasmus Lauge Schmidt, who scored the last two goals for the old and new SEHA Leauge champions. Telekom Veszprem now caught up to record winners Vardar 1961 with their fifth trophy after 2015, 2016, 2020, and 2021. Telekom Veszprem remained victorious in all their matches in Zadar, where they won their last three titles.

On the other hand, unlucky PPD Zagreb lost their fourth SEHA League final, including three in the last four years – in 2021, they were beaten by Telekom Veszprem after a penalty shoot-out. The best scorers of the final were Ivan Cupic with eight goals for PPD Zagreb and Omar Yahia with seven strikes for Telekom Veszprem.

Final match:
PPD Zagreb vs Telekom Veszprem 30:32 (19:13)

Boosted by ten saves from outstanding goalkeeper Aljaz Panjtar, PPD Zagreb shocked Telekom Veszprem before the break. While the defending champions played far below par and without the speed and precision from their 41: 27 semi-final win over Eurofarm Pelister, PPD Zagreb stood extremely strong in defence and forced their opponents to cause easy mistakes.
PPD Zagreb’s backs Zvonimir Srna, Luka Lovre Klarica, and Edin Klis combined for ten goals before the break and were the driving forces in PPD’s attack in the first half. Besides, the Croatian record champions took extreme profit from their counter-attack goals, while on the other side, Telekom Veszprem’s coach Momir Ilic changed his goalkeeper quite early from Rodrigo Corrales to Vladimir Cupara. And as only French Olympic and World champion Kentin Mahe showed a high scoring efficiency the gap rose from 14:11 to the halftime score of 19:13 in favor of PPD Zagreb. “We did not expect this”, said Ilic in his halftime comment.

And in the locker room, Ilic found the right words – and his players understood – the momentum changed immediately after the break. Thanks to two double-strikes of Manuel Strlek and Petar Nenadic, Telekom Veszprem managed to reduce the gap to 17:20 in a short term. Despite a clear improvement in defence, Telekom Veszprem still missed the best chances. This was the main reason, why PPD Zagreb kept their three- to four-goals advance until the middle of the second half.

Finally, in the 48th minute, Telekom Veszprem had leveled the result for the first time, when team captain Rasmus Lauge netted Zagreb’s empty goal for the 25:25. But PPD Zagreb showed morale, still put a lot of pressure on the defending champions and could count on brilliant saves of goalkeeper Dino Slavic in the final stages – to disallowed Telekom Veszprem the lead until the 59th minute, when Lauge scored for the 31:30 75 seconds before the end.

When Vladimir Cupara saved a shot of Edin Klis, lucky Telekom Veszprem finally entered the winners’ way, and again Lauge scored for the 32:30 with the final buzzer. Telekom Veszprem had secured their fifth trophy  - the third in a row in Zadar - in a true thriller.

All previous winners of the SEHA – Gazprom League:
2011/12 in Zagreb: Vardar Pro
2012/13 in Skopje: Croatia osiguranje Zagreb
2013/14 in Novi Sad: Vardar Pro
2014/15 in Veszprem: MKB MVM Veszprem
2015/16 in Varazdin: MVM Veszprem
2016/17 in Brest: HC Vardar
2017/18 in Skopje: HC Vardar
2018/19 in Brest: HC Vardar
2019/20 in Zadar: Telekom Veszprem
2020/21 in Zadar: Telekom Veszprem
2021/22 in Zadar: Telekom Veszprem

Photo credit: kolektiffimages