Eagles praised after European Cup drama

Ruislip Eagles coach Marc Fayemi says his players can feel proud of themselves after almost causing a huge upset against professional side Spartak Varna in the European Challenge Cup.

They did brilliantly in the first leg against the Bulgarian team in Varna, going down 24-22 in front of a crowd of more than a thousand, before the second encounter ended in a 26-20 win for the favourites, who were again given a run for their money.

Fayemi said: “The players deserve a lot of praise. The spirit and engagement were high. They played with heart until the end and can be proud of themselves.

“It was brilliant to perform well at such a high level. The support we received to make this European Cup campaign a success was marvellous.”

Fayemi had to cope with an injury to Michael Vitello and the unexpected unavailability of influential player Hannes Mazur, but his team applied themselves well and were only two goals behind at half-time in the first match.

And with Alexandre Aubard top-scoring with nine goals, Jozsef Csontos and Tobias Stockfleth scoring five each and several spectacular saves from goalkeepers Tibor Szerencse and Stefan Bauer, the Eagles were well in the game until the final whistle.

That gave them confidence for the return match and goals from Fabien Colette and Gil Lewis kept them in the running, although they were six down at half-time.

But they battled hard against Spartak goal machine Branimir Balchev and with Denis Werner and Oli Barton scoring, they reduced the gap and with 10 minutes to go were only two behind.

Alexandre Aubard and Tobias Stockfleth were leading the assaults but were unlucky to be denied by the post in the closing stages.



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