The men’s handball team, Potaissa Turda, has won the Challenge Cup after losing against AEK Athens in away match 26-27.
The handball players of Potaissa Turda have won the Challenge Cup final at the end of the match with Greeks from AEK Athens 26-27 (11-18). At halftime the Romanians had a comfortable advantage, but in the second half the host team came back into the game and won by only one goal.
A week ago, Potaissa Turda won at home 33-22 against AEK Athens.
Potaissa showed that it is a better team than AEK and dominated the match on Sunday, leading almost the entire match, the hosts’ victory coming from a 9-meter kick superficially managed by the Transylvanian team in the last second of the match.
This was the second final in a row played by Potaissa Turda, after the one lost last year against Sporting Lisbon. It is the first international trophy won by the Romanian team.
AEK: Radule Radulovic, Athanasios Syngaris – Christos Nikolaidis, Giannis Tsigogianopoulos, Georgios Perros-Perrakis (1 goal), Dionysios Georgiadis, Malik Hoggas (5), Efstathios Zampounis (1), Panagiotis Nikolaidis (3), Ilias Chatsikas, Jonas Lokken (3), Charlampos Dompris (2), Charalambos Vamvakas, Julios Argyrou (7), Eldin Vrazalica (1), Christodoulos Mylonas (4). Coach: Nikolaos Grammatikos.
Potaissa: Ionuţ Irimuş, Ludovic Varo – Georgică Cîntec (4), Ionuţ Rotaru (2), Roland Thalmaier (2), Roman Zacaciurin, Mihai Alexandru Asoltanei (5), Dragoş Iancu (1), Cristian Adomnicăi (3), Radu Alexandru Lazăr, Radu Ionuţ Ştef, Nenad Savic, Marius Alin Szoke (3), Radu Cristian Ghiţă (3), Lucian Marian Ignat, Iulian Stamate (3). Coach: Horaţiu Gal.
Six Challenge Cups won by Romanian teams
By this success of the Potaissa Turda team, Romania ranks first in terms of cups won and the finals played in this competition. The Romanian handball has won six trophies during the past 25 editions, the first one being won by Steaua in 2006. It was followed by a triple of UCM Resita during 2007-2009, the team still holding the record of victories. The penultimate title was won by HC Odorhei three years ago. Germany also has six Challenge Cups won. However, two additional Romanian teams played the final (CSU Suceava and Potaissa Turda in 2017), while German teams played only one. During the past 12 years, the competition has been played without teams from the top seven nations in the EHF rankings, which have an extra seat in the Champions League or in the EHF Cup.
The 2017-2018 season was quite consistent for Romanian handball. SCM Craiova won the Women’s EHF Cup, Potaissa Turda have won the Challenge Cup and CSM Bucharest played in the Women’s Champions League Final Four tournament, winning the bronze medals.