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05.02.2011, 16:50
Away victories in Group 2
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Both group favourites, Larvik and Győr won their opening game with 26:24.
 

Away victories in Group 2

Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) – Audi ETO Győr (HUN) 24:26 (11:14)

There is a golden rule in handball: when you start building a team, first select a high-quality goalkeeper. It’s even better when you have a duo of high class between the posts, as in the case of Audi ETO Győr.

The Hungarian champions boast two top goalkeepers this season, and on Saturday both of them, Katrine Lunde Haraldsen and Katalin Pálinger, proved their class. Supported by a strong wall in defence, they made sure that Győr took home two important points from Russia.

Quality defence and slow attacks were the trademarks of the first 10 minutes from both sides, but then Csaba Konkoly’s team acted more aggressively and precisely as they established a margin of 2-3 goals.

However, the Russians, without their classy back Olga Levina and first-choice goalkeeper Anna Sedoykina, then found the pace of the game, and with Ksenia Makeeva on the line and Aleksandra Stepanova carrying out quick counterattacks, they reduced the deficit.

A Hungarian time out near the end of the first half helped Győr to stabilize their ship again, allowing Görbicz and company to start the second half with a 3-goal lead.

Konkoly’s team proved themselves strong in defence, but with several 2-minute penalties, they allowed Dinamo to close-up, ensuring a thrilling final phase of the match.

With all their experience and clever game play, the Hungarians managed to maintain a 2-goal lead until the final whistle. This means that Victor Ryabykh’s team will be under great pressure next weekend, when they visit the Norwegian champions in Larvik.

HC Leipzig (GER) - Larvik HK (NOR) 24:26 (12:13)

An unexpectedly tough battle took place between underdogs Leipzig and favourites Larvik, where the Norwegians had the lucky hand at the end and celebrated a two-goal away victory.

Prior to the game, not many experts would have thought that the German champions would be able to challenge the strong team built around Gro Hammerseng. But the mentally strong Leipzig players fought hard and kept the match open until the very last minutes.

Despite a coach change recently, Larvik arrived as the big favourite with a whole bunch of players that were crowned European champions in December at EHF EURO 2010.

"We don’t have anything to lose against the Norwegian champion," said Leipzig trainer Heine Jensen before the match.

With that in mind, his players went onto the court with much confidence and great spirit, as they looked to cause a big surprise. Goalkeeper Katja Schülke was excellent in goal and Leipzig presented a very tough defence that was hard to break down by the Larvik attacks.

Match winner and main pillar for the Norwegian victory was youngster Nora Mørk, whose fitness was doubted before the game due to an injury. The right-winger scored 9 times, becoming top goal-scorer of the German - Norwegian duel.

Cecilie Leganger and Heidi Løke also contributed much for the victory and Larvik’s first two points in the Main Round.

Even so, if Jensen’s team can repeat their good performance in the following games, Leipzig will cause considerable headaches to their remaining opponents.


TEXT: Márk Hegedüs
 
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