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26.03.2007, 13:37
Title Holders Are Out
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Last year's CL winner were beaten by Lada Togliatti by two goals and the Russians go on.
 

Title Holders Are Out  

Viborg will not defend their CL title from last year, the Danish team are out. The Russian champion Lada Togliatti have beaten Viborg in the quarterfinal 65-63 in aggregate. Mikkelsen (in green) scored 13

The first leg in Viborg ended in a 32-32 draw, and the situation was quite simple before the Sunday match in Togliatti: the winner goes to the semi-finals. It was Lada at the end who managed to defeat the experienced Viborg team 33-31 after an intense drama. In fact, both teams had their chances for the semi-final at certain periods of the game.

Perfect Start for Viborg

In contrast to the first leg where Lada managed to take a seven-goal lead within the first 25 minutes, Viborg got an almost perfect start to the second match. The Danes took a three-goal lead soon at 6-3 and 7-4. After a team time-out, though, the home team really got started and scored five goals in succession, to a 9-7 lead.

Then it was Viborg´s turn to score four goals in a row and get ahead 11-9. The Danes managed to keep the two-goal lead until the last minute of the first half, where a superb Lada finish resulted in a 17-16 Russian lead at half time.

The hosts opened the second half by taking their first two-goal lead of the match (18-16), but once again the visitors came back, and at 20-23. Viborg re-established their three-goal lead from the beginning of the match. With 12 minutes left, the Danes were still leading by two goals, 25-23, and they seemed to control the game. However, Lada proved able to come back once again into this entertaining and ever changing handball match.

As Maria Sidorova in the Lada goal continuously improved, the field players managed to turn the match again by scoring six goals in a row and taking a 29-25 lead.

Close race at the end

Postnova (in the middle) scored the decisive goalLada kept this four-goal lead almost for the rest of the match – but only almost. Being up 32-28 with less than three minutes left, the team of coacg Alexey Gumyakov seemed to have secured the win, but the young and quite inexperienced Russian team still got into trouble at the end.

Viborg managed to score three goals in a hurry, reducing the distance to only one goal at 32-31 with 50 seconds left. On the following Lada attack, however, when no other Lada players seemed to dare to take a shot, Ludmilla Postnova took the responsibility. It was already 33-31 with her goal, which was celebrated enthusiastically by the Lada players.

Postnova also became her team’s best scorer with 8 goals, while Viborg’s left winger Henriette Mikkelsen scored no less than 13 goals.


TEXT: Peter Bruun
 
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