Krim collect two points
RK Krim Mercator (SLO) - Itxako Reyno de Navarra (ESP) 30:26 (17:12)
No surprise in Slovenia, as Krim celebrated, thanks to a marvellous Andrea Lekić, a clear victory on their home court.
The Serbian international was the key figure of the Main Round opener in the ground-breaking new hall of Ljubljana, the Arena Stožice.
With her goals, she kept the home side on eye-level with the Spaniards, who started the game better and scored easy goals as Krim’s defence didn’t work too well in the early phase of the match.
Marta Bon’s team acted very nervously and without rhythm at the beginning. The two-month break seemed to be too long, and without any real match experience since November, the Slovenians needed about 10 minutes to find the pace for their attacks.
After that they even found their top gear, kept it for the rest of the match to overrun the slow-acting and disorganized Spaniards.
"Earlier this week we played a league match far from Estella and we arrived very tired in Ljubljana, so it wasn’t the best preparation for us," commented a disappointed Itxako coach Ambros Martín after the game.
Not even playmaker Macarena Aguilar could conjure positive changes for the Spanish attacks. With pivot Begoña Fernández being well marked by Andrea Penezić and Andrea Lekić, Itxako had massive problems in getting closer to their opponent.
The Spaniards reduced the deficit to four goals after 45 minutes, and had several more chances when Lekić got injured and had to spend several minutes off the court.
There was, however, another top performer among the Krim players, as Jelena Grubišić stood very well between the posts. This ensured that the loud home supporters didn’t need to bite their nails in the last few minutes.
The home side celebrated a well-deserved victory and look forward to their first away match in the Main Round, next weekend against Budućnost Podgorica.
TEXT: Márk Hegedüs