Sélestat Alsace Handball is back in the Starligue! The Alsatian club gained momentum during the Proligue final against Cherbourg, and won the title of second division champion (30-36).
We were afraid, before this weekend, that everything would be played on Saturday and that the final on Sunday, for the title, would be purely formal. But with the defeat of Ivry yesterday, the duel of this Sunday between Cherbourg and Selestat was full of challenges: in addition to the title, it was the rise in the Starligue that the two teams were fighting for. And at the end of a very good final, it is the fourth equal of the regular season which brings down the second and flies away in the elite. In view of the meeting, this success is amply deserved. Christophe Viennet’s group, which has sometimes been described as this weekend’s outsider, has won its bet.
After a bad start, Sélestat is revving up
From the start of the game, we feel that the two teams are going to fight a good fight. Cherbourg started better, and took advantage of Sélestat’s errors in attack. However, Sélestat has two numerical superiorities in the first ten minutes, but it is the JSC, cleaner, who leads the debates (9-6, 12′). Then, when Sélestat makes fewer mistakes, Cherbourg finds itself in more difficulty. The Alsatians rev up, and experience a big highlight in the heart of the first period. Steven George’s interception allowed him to score in the empty net to equalise, before Hugo Pimenta and Simon Jaeger gave SAHB a two-goal lead (11-13, 19′). Lucas Vanègue is working to bring his team up to speed (13-13, 22′).
Behind Ekren, Harbaoui and Pimenta, a great collective victory
The two teams then fight eye to eye. Gauthier Ivah and Mehdi Harbaoui each in turn fend off a penalty, and the two teams return to the locker room on a parity score (16-16, 30′). The final keeps all its promises, the public of Mauves and that of Violets are present, and the atmosphere on the benches is also electric, the two obtaining their yellow card (Cherbourg before the break, Sélestat just after). Sélestat came back better from the locker room, but Cherbourg, in turn with superiority, remains up to par (20-20, 36′). But Sélestat has the upper hand in the physical fight, despite the good resistance of Kristian Orsted. It was Hakon Ekren, the former JSC, who was most visible in the first quarter of the second period, finding good angles from shots or passes to carry his team in attack. Toke Schrøder frees his arm and gives the Alsatians a four-goal lead, then a five-goal lead (23-28, 47′).
Cherbourg tries to come back, and does not deserve. But the Selestadian collective, Harbaoui, Ekren and Pimenta in the lead, holds the shock. It is the young right-back of SAHB who, passing through a mouse hole, scores the 30e goal for his team, his fifth personal (25-30, 51′). Lucas Vanègue is still valuable, the seven-a-side game is even attempted by Frédéric Bougeant, but the SAHB defense holds and Tanguy Thomas can even score from afar in the empty goal to preserve the Alsatian advantage (27-32, 55′). The stop in the wake of Mehdi Harbaoui, once again decisive this weekend (8 precious stops), almost condemns the Manchois, who will not be able to come back at the end of the match. Fourth in the regular season, Sélestat is the hero club of the Dijon weekend and wins the title and the climb, thanks to a smoothly conducted final
Mickael Georgeault, in Dijon