Fairytale complete as Nærbø IL lift trophy
Norwegian team Nærbø IL wrote history by claiming the EHF European Cup Men trophy in their debut season on the continental stage.
Nærbo had won the first leg against CS Minaur Baia Mare 29:25 at home, and on Saturday afternoon confirmed their aggregate advantage by claiming a 27:26 victory in Romania.
FINAL, SECOND LEG
CS Minaur Baia Mare (ROU) vs Nærbø IL (NOR) 26:27 (10:13)
First leg result: 25:29. Nærbø won 56:51 on aggregate
- goals were few and far between early in the match, as the teams were tied at 3:3 after 14 minutes
- spurred by Vegard Bakken Øien’s saves and Tord Haugseng’s goals, Nærbø took the initiative to lead by three goals at half-time
- after the restart, Baia Mare improved their shot efficiency and drew level at 23:23 in the 49th minute, yet the visitors weathered the storm and cruised to a victory
- cousins Andreas and Tord Haugseng were Nærbø’s top scorers with six goals each, while Stefan Vujic netted the same number for Baia Mare
- Baia Mare suffered their first home defeat in the competition after six straight wins, while Nærbø ended their three-game losing run away
Dream come true
No European club competition had been won by a Norwegian men’s club since 1996, when Drammen HK lifted the Challenge Cup — the predecessor of the current EHF Cup. And so Nærbø IL ended a 26-year wait on Saturday.
Starting the competition in round 2, they eliminated Raimond Sassari, ASD Accademia P. Conversano 2014 and CSM Foscani 2007, and then had a walkover in the quarter-final as their rivals SKA Minsk were excluded from the competition. In the semi-final, Nærbo notably beat fellow Norwegian side Drammen in a shootout, and then proved too strong for Baia Mare and made the dream come true.
I'm very happy and proud of the players. I think we did an excelllent job today, to go down here to not defend a win at home but to try to win here and also that we did it. I am very proud of the team and of course I'm very happy.
It's very difficult to imagine that we went all the way. I think I need some days to understand what we have done now. Right now I'm just very, very happy.