Semi-final action starts in Greece and Cyprus
The first leg of the EHF European Cup Men semi-final will be played in the south of the continent, in the capitals of Greece and Cyprus, on Saturday.
In Athens, local side AEK Athens HC will host RK Gorenje Velenje at 18:00 CEST. In Nicosia, Sabbianco Anorthosis Famagusta will take on Ystads IF at 19:15 CEST. Both return legs will be played next week Saturday.
- none of the four teams won a European club competition in the past, but Velenje reached the EHF Cup final in 2009 and AEK the Challenge Cup final in 2018
- Velenje and Ystad boast a perfect record in the current competition, winning eight and six matches, respectively
- Velenje, who played in the EHF Champions League three seasons ago, beat Ego Handball Siena, Cocks, RK Borac m:tel and HC Robe Zubri on their way to the semi-final
- AEK lost the away leg at CSM Bucuresti in round 3, but made a strong comeback at home before sweeping aside HC Neva Spb in a double-header in the quarter-final
- Anorthosis squeezed through to the last four, beating CS Minaur Maia Mare on the away-goal rule in the previous stage, as the teams were tied at 45:45 on aggregate
Time to go South for Ystad
The semi-final will guide Ystads IF into a new direction – literally. In the three previous rounds, the Swedish side faced teams from the Baltic countries each time. They beat Lithuania’s VHC Sviesa Vilnius in round 2 before eliminating two Estonian sides, HC Tallinn and Polva Serviti.
Already enjoying their best ever European season, Ystad are eager to continue their good run in the competition when they travel South this time, striving for a good result against Anorthosis in Cyprus.