Le Montpellier Handball a fait étalage de toute son expérience des moments chauds pour battre l’Usam Nîmes sur le fil, dimanche 15 octobre lors du derby du Languedoc comptant pour la sixième journée de Starligue.
The longer a series goes on, the closer it gets to its end. The invincibility of Montpellier at home in derbies against Nîmes has lasted for twenty years in the championship. And after Sunday’s match, it will even continue for another year. This is the lesson from a game that eventually became intense after halftime, and during which we couldn’t tell which side of the Vidourle the coin would fall on.
It took almost 58 minutes to realize that Usam was not going to defeat their rival from Languedoc. A few moments alone summarize how this match between the teams of the two Nîmois, Patrice Canayer and Yann Balmossière, was decided by details.
With less than three minutes remaining, Jean-Jacques Acquevillo from Gardois missed the top corner by a small margin and hit the post, attempting to equalize. Luc Tobie received a harsh red card for a serious foul on Kyllian Villeminot in the following play. Then, Sebastian Karlsson scored his sixth goal to give MHB a crucial two-goal advantage.
« We struggled against Montpellier’s defense. »
Add to that the incredible goal found by Bryan Monte afterwards, and you get the sixth victory in six matches for Montpellier, the first defeat for Gard. « We were unable to offer different things in attack because we struggled against Montpellier’s defense. I am very happy with the commitment of my players, but in this kind of match, the details do not forgive, » noted Yann Balmossière.
À quelques minutes près, le nouveau patron usamiste a failli réussir le coup parfait. Malgré un début de match plutôt manqué (6-2, 14e), la faute à un Ahmed Hesham impeccable, les Nîmois parvenaient à rester dans les basques du MHB à la mi-temps (10-10). Le tout grâce à un Jesper Konradsson des grands soirs, alternant pénétrations ou caviars pour son pivot Kamtchop Baril (5 buts).
But above all, thanks to Montpellier’s incredible offensive breakdown, unable to score a single goal from the 17th minute to the 31st! « I am angry because we had a catastrophic rotation, which was usually our strong point at the moment. And when I say catastrophic, I am far from exaggerating, » criticized Patrice Canayer, the coach of MHB. It took us a few minutes to regain our level of play. And then, we went on with courage. But I am satisfied to have won and with the players’ commitment. »
Un Valentin Porte impactant
Un temps menés de trois buts à la 34e minute (11-14), ces derniers ont su reprendre le fil d’un derby dont ils semblaient ne pas avoir pris la mesure, contrairement à la paire arbitrale du jour, qui ne l’a jamais retrouvé.
Ahmed Hesham lourdement blessé
First, thanks to a defense that is always expertly led by Karl Konan and a standout performance by Rémi Desbonnet on Sunday with 15 saves (39%) in 60 minutes played. But also thanks to a well-animated offense by Kyllian Villeminot and the impactful presence of Valentin Porte, who fearlessly put his head where others wouldn’t even put a toe.
Hesham lourdement blessé
Before the game, the question was whether the Montpellier players’ pace or the rest of the Nîmes players would tip the scales in their favor. Sunday’s match showed that the former had the experience and ability to better handle these crucial moments towards the end of the game.
However, playing every three days has its downside. Clearly more bothered by a painful ankle, Ahmed Hesham suffered a serious knee injury during a fast game, and Montpellier may have lost one of its recruits for a long time, after Yanis Lenne and Stas Skube. But on Sunday, they did not lose the derby and remain joint leaders of the championship. Not Nîmes.